The P.M. Camp Report: Day 10

As they walked off the practice field a good 45 minutes early today, chased again by a thunderstorm, a player's union rep told Joe Gibbs they should get a bubble. Like the one in New York.

Gibbs offered a quick response. ''We're never getting a bubble,'' he said. Gibbs likes practicing in adverse weather conditions, which this area will get the next few days as remnants of the hurricanes move north. He likes working in the heat and he loves staying outside in the snow and cold. So no bubble. Ever.

''It's an outdoor game,'' he said. ''You have adverse weather conditions and there's no other way to get used to it than to be out in it. You need to be in the heat, the rain, the snow and sleet. The whole deal. Being in a dome is not what we want to do.''

Then he segued into a story, as Gibbs often does. He was an assistant coach at USC in the early 1970s when they faced Notre Dame, and quarterback Joe Theismann. The game was played in a driving rainstorm.

But Theismann, Gibbs said, threw for more than 500 yards. Meanwhile, the USC quarterback complained that he couldn't throw the ball. When Gibbs later coached Theismann in Washington, he asked how he was able to have such a good day. At Notre Dame, Theismann told him, they'd practice throwing with wet footballs. So he was prepared. There's nothing Gibbs likes to be more than prepared. That's why he'll never ask owner Dan Snyder to build him a bubble.

. . . Chad Morton did not practice today because of a nagging ankle injury.

. . . I'd like to see a backfield of Morton and Clinton Portis on third down every so often. It might not be the best for pass-blocking, but the presence of both would force a linebacker into coverage, taking him out of a possible rush situation. Last season, defenses started covering Morton with safeties. In this situation, one would be paired against a linebacker. Just an idea.

. . . It seems players have liked the tempo and structure of the practices. One player even called them easy, which goes against what former Gibbs players told us how they would be perceived. But this player also said that they have many more meetings than they did a year ago, placing an emphasis on knowing exactly what they're doing.

. . . Not sure if Cornelius Griffin will make the hoped-for impact, though he's flashed at times in practice and against Denver. But those who knew him in New York say he was one of their better workers in the weight room and a good kid, a down-home type.

. . . But Griffin did not practice this afternoon because of a groin injury. Joe Salave'a replaced him in the starting lineup.

. . . Linebacker Mike Barrow did not practice again because of a bad knee and won't play against Carolina. The Redskins say they're being extra cautious with him.

. . . Receiver Laveranues Coles returned to practice this afternoon. The Redskins don't want to overwork Coles, making sure his toe remains fine.

. . . Brandon Noble also practiced this afternoon.

. . . Safety Andre Lott again worked with the first unit. Got a bit of a scare when rookie Sean Taylor grabbed his left arm after a play, but he returned immediately and it never became an issue.

. . . Punter Kevin Stemke doesn't have a great shot at unseating Tom Tupa. But Stemke has been consistent in practices and should kick well enough to get a shot by someone else. The punting situation is much better than a year ago.

. . . Tim Hasselbeck obviously isn't in the quarterback race at this point. And let's not get carried away by one preseason fourth-quarter outing -- and despite what some say he hasn't clearly outplayed the other two in every practice. That's ridiculous. To be honest, no quarterback has stood out in every practice.

But I do remember how good Trent Green used to look in the fourth quarter of games. For two summers he outplayed Heath Shuler and Gus Frerotte before getting his opportunity.

After he started, Charley Casserly told me, ''You look at him throw in practice and you wonder how he'd ever complete a pass.'' In other words, he didn't have an NFL arm. Look at him now.

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