Three and Out
It was a treat listening to the Redskins' Assistant Head Coach—Defense talk nearly nonstop for 30 minutes about the Redskins defense following one of last week's minicamp sessions. When he was hired as the head coach of the Bills a few years back, the word was that he got the job because he blew them away at his interview and it's easy to see why. Not that every coach who rises to an NFL coordinator job isn't sharp and intense, but Williams takes that to another level. He's also honest, almost to a brutal fault. When asked about LaVar Arrington's injury, Williams said, "There are a lot of guys out on the street corner with NFL ability. If ability was all it took to play in this league, those guys wouldn't be on the street corner any more. It's more about accountability and availability. This is a production league." In short, LaVar, you'd better get well soon. (Look for a series on Williams' observations on the defense here on WarpathInsiders.com over the coming days.)
Taylor Jacobs—If he's not careful, he might not end up being the Redskins' surprise player in 2005 as everyone will have heard about him. Actually, it wouldn't be his fault if it were to happen as it's not Jacobs but his teammates and coaches who are effusive in their praise of him. David Patten wondered why Jacobs isn't a starter, Kevin Dyson couldn't say enough good things about him and when Joe Gibbs lists the players who have performed exceptionally during OTA's and minicamp, it doesn't take him long to get to Jacobs' name. Following an injury-plagued rookie season, the 2003 second-round draft pick out of Florida didn't have a breakout season last year by any stretch, with 16 catches for an 11.1-yard average, but the Redskins' passing game was such a mess in 2004 that nobody involved with it prospered. It certainly appears that he will get his shot this season. The bet here is that he will make the most out of it.
Rock Cartwright—This is another name that Gibbs consistently mentions when he talks about guys who are working hard this offseason. There's nothing like have the team draft two players who could play your position to spur you on to boost your effort during the summer. It's not like Cartwright is any stranger to hard work, mind you. He was the team's short-yardage specialist in 2003 despite the fact that he has less-than-average size (5-7, 224) for a fullback. Cartwright scored four touchdowns and moved the chains for a first down 36 times. Last year when Gibbs came on and made it be known that if don't start, you'll have to play special teams, Cartwright fought and went from a player with limited special teams abilities to having pretty good ones. He's far from a lock to make the final roster this year, but if he does go he won't be going quietly.