Running backs coach Earnest Byner loves his group, partly because that's his nature and partly because the group has some talent. Byner said they might keep four running backs, maybe even five, depending on who figures into special teams.
And know this: Byner loves Ladell Betts and thinks he is as ''gifted as any player we have.''
But it also appears the coaches love Rock Cartwright. Coach Joe Gibbs told him today not to pay attention to anything that's been written. In other words, by those saying he won't make the team.
''Rock has been real impressive to me,'' Gibbs said. ''He lost weight, got serious about wanting to play running back. He looks good on teams and he looks like one of those guys we can count on.''
Cartwright is the sentimental pick, having lost his mother in May. He's trying to use that as motivation in this competition.
''It was heartwrenching when he called me to tell me,'' Byner said. ''My heart went out to him. . . If he can use that energy from that, I say go for it.''
John Simon and Sultan McCullough appear to be on the outside, though both have made their mark on Byner, too. Byner likes McCullough's burst and explosion and he likes Simon's route-running ability and the fact that he ''has an undying desire to prove that he can play the game.'' Byner loves guys like that because that's how he survived in the NFL.
Simon could get more work in the second or third quarter against Miami as the coaches want to see how well he can run the ball. He's also a solid special teams player.
. . . Another day, another group of players sidelined with various aches and pains. Here's today's list: LaVar Arrington, Rashad Bauman, Mike Barrow, Chris Clemons, John Standeford, Chris Samuels, Darnerien McCants, Fred Baxter and Cliff Russell.
Arrington (knee) and Samuels (mild concussion) missed for the second straight day. Standeford had an inner ear infection and remained at the conference center.
. . . Kicker John Hall returned after spending the past two days in Port Charlotte, Fla., helping his family recover from Hurricane Charley. Understandably, Hall was in no mood to talk about it. Just wish his family well.
. . . Often times as the players' stretch, a position coach can be seen chatting with one of his guys. Today, Joe Bugel talked with Derrick Dockery, showing him proper hand placement.
. . . Because special teams can offer a glimpse into who might be winning battles, here's a look at today's first unit on kickoff coverage: Ade Jimoh, Dameane Douglas, Rock Cartwright, Greg White, Mike Sellers, Kevin Mitchell, Antonio Pierce, Todd Franz, Ryan Clark and James Thrash.
Clearly, some of these players won't make the roster. But they must have made an impression to be on this unit after two games.
. . . Receiver Rod Gardner must have been teasing his wideout partner Laveranues Coles as they walked off the field. Coles was heard asking no one in particular, ''Do I look like a turtle? Rod said I look like a turtle.''
. . . Joe Gibbs liked what he saw of Taylor Jacobs before his injury. Now he's anxious to see how he is after being healthy for a spell.
Training Camp Report: Day 14
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