Little "E" and Taylor's Big "D"--Camp 08.11.05

Redskins Park, Ashburn, Virginia 8.11.05--Dale Earnhardt Jr., remembered the first time he saw Joe Gibbs. The son of a driving legend spotted Gibbs in the garage. ''It was like seeing Elvis,'' Earnhardt said.

For Earnhardt, there are few people bigger than Gibbs, coach of his favorite team. And that's why Earnhardt attended today's practice, dressed in jeans, a white shirt, Redskins cap and sunglasses.

He became hooked on the Redskins at age 8 and hasn't lost his passion.

''Even during the race season, under caution I'm getting numbers and stats told to me over the radio,'' he said. ''I can't concentrate on what I'm doing if I don't know what the Redskins are doing.''

Earnhardt spoke with a few of the players, admitting that he was a bit nervous to meet them. A few players, such as Patrick Ramsey, spoke to him even though they're not big NASCAR fans. They just wanted to meet a celebrity.

''I'm such a big fan of the Redskins, to tell them how much I support them is a good feeling,'' he said.

So if he's a Redskins fan and Gibbs is his favorite coach, why not race for him, too? Earnhardt said, ''If I ever did get that opportunity, I'd have to seriously consider it.''

To which Gibbs jokingly replied, ''If I had $100 million he could do that. That's what he left out.''

. . . I'll be curious to see how Patrick Ramsey has progressed in terms of eyeing receivers. He still hasn't mastered the art of looking one way and throwing back another. And it will stunt his growth as a quarterback if he can't improve in this area. The safeties are taking advantage of his penchant for looking at one guy: Sean Taylor did just that today, intercepting a deep ball for David Patten. Taylor showed two of his best attributes on this play: speed and athleticism. He stayed with Patten -- helped because Ramsey only looked at him, drawing Taylor's attention. And Taylor reached over Patten to intercept the ball.

. . . Six players already are ruled out for Saturday and none were surprises: linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee), receiver Taylor Jacobs (toe), corner Carlos Rogers (ankle), defensive tackle Brandon Noble (knee), corner Artrell Hawkins (hamstring) and safety Tony Dixon (hamstring).

. . . Corner Shawn Springs (hamstring) will be a game-time decision. However, he hasn't practiced since Tuesday.

. . . One guy I'm anxious to watch Saturday: defensive lineman Nic Clemons. His role has expanded as he's now dropping into coverage at times. He'll line up at tackle in nickel situations and is also playing end. He's flashed over the past week in each practice -- today he did a nice job staying home on a quick pitch to the right, forcing a tackle for no gain. I'm not sure of his football intelligence yet and that might determine his fate. But he's an intriguing player.

. . . And what a nice story it would be if Nic Clemons and younger brother Chris Clemons both made the final roster.

. . . I'm also curious to see what lessons Jason Campbell learned in the week since the scrimmage. He looked slow at times last week as the game sped up and his thought process was stuck in neutral. Just think it'll take him a while to ease into the NFL. He also eyed his wideouts a few times, leading to problems. Saturday should provide a good gauge for Campbell.

. . . But Campbell has shown an ability to use his legs in practice. If he does it too much Saturday, you'll know that he's uncertain with some of his decisions. Still, it could make it fun to watch.

. . . Coach Joe Gibbs said linebacker LaVar Arrington is ahead of schedule, but be warned: we heard the same stuff about Mike Barrow last summer. Arrington is in good running condition, now the Redskins are trying to slowly work him into football condition with bag work, etc. My hunch: Arrington is still a couple weeks away. But that's just a hunch.

. . . Corner Ade Jimoh made two nice plays in practice today. He'll get a real good chance to show if he's improved or not. He'd likely start if Springs can't play.

. . . The Redskins need corners and their all-time best was at practice today. But don't get any thoughts: Darrell Green was there to watch in preparation for Saturday's game. He's the sideline announcer.

. . . Our guy Eddie Mason also attended practice today. Look for a column by Mason on Friday.

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