Minicamp Report: Day One

The weather stunk: it was cold and misty. Players walked around in dirty pants, muddied by water-logged fields. So it certainly felt, and looked, like good football weather. Alas, it was only a mini-camp. But it was a big one: the first under new coach Steve Spurrier. It was the first time to see his ex-Gators and to assess where the team is at key positions, starting at quarterback. Here's our first training camp report. Take it for what it's worth. After all, I'm just a ball writer.

The most impressive quarterback on the first day was obvious. And it wasn't the guy who has run Steve Spurrier's system before. It was holdover Sage Rosenfels. He looked much sharper than Danny Wuerffel and Dameyune Craig.

Rosenfels consistently hit receivers in stride and was much smoother than anyone else. But he did throw too many passes in which receivers had to jump. At least they caught his passes, however.

''Sage threw the ball around a lot better than we anticipated,'' Spurrier said.

We can't say the same about Wuerffel, who on this 45-degree misty day wore gloves. Imagine Joe Theismann doing such a thing. In the morning workout, Wuerffel often threw way too low to his receivers. Craig lacked much zip on his passes, but he's coming off foot surgery and couldn't step into his throws.

The quarterbacks threw all kinds of passes--especially downfield. Just what everyone expected.

. . . Worst start by a new receiver: Reidel Anthony. OK, it was slick. But Anthony stumbled out of his cuts and dropped a few throws. He suffered a hip flexor injury in the afternoon.

. . . Rod Gardner wasn't much better. He was plagued by more cases of the drops. On one play, Rosenfels audibled to Gardner, who proceded to run the wrong route (hey, it's a new offense). He went straight, but needed to run a quick hitch and corner Fred Smoot almost intercepted the pass. Spurrier and Jacquez Green then talked to Gardner for a few minutes.

. . . Spurrier was the only coach to wear shorts. ''Let's see how long that lasts,'' said linebacker Jessie Armstead. Turns out it lasted all day.

. . . Uh-oh! Danny Wuerffel wore No. 7, the first time a Redskin has worn that number since Joe Theismann in 1985. Spurrier does not believe in retiring numbers and issued his OK on the switch (Wuerffel had worn 17 in the morning). Other players wore different numbers in practice than they would wear in games, including LaVar Arrington (11), Kevin Lockett (3), Jacquez Green (10) and Reidel Anthony (15).

. . . Fifty five players attended practice today. But one notable player didn't: corner Darrell Green, who, from what we hear, is at Disney World. The trip was apparently arranged before this camp was scheduled.

. . . Ross Tucker and Alex Sulfsted worked at the respective guard spots with the first string. Washington likely will find other players for those spots, but we know this: the previous coaching staff liked both players and projected them as starters down the road. Just not this soon.

. . . Spotted on the sidelines: Sam Huff and Bernard Shaw.

. . . The easiest job on the field? Tight ends coach. That job belongs to Lawson Holland, who only must tutor Walter Rasby and Zeron Flemister.

. . . NFL Films was interested in Steve Spurrier's first day. They posted nine camera crews around the fields at Redskin Park.

. . . Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, coming off his best season in Washington, does not look like he's started his offseason program yet. Let's just say Big Daddy looked more like a Grand Daddy today. But don't fret. Wilkinson often looks this, um, bulky, in March. It only matters how he looks in July.

. . . Donovan Arp lined up alongside Wilkinson at defensive tackle. Del Cowsette would have been there, but he underwent bone graf surgery on his wrist Monday. He'll be ready for training camp.

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.


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