Under sunny skies and with high intensity, the Redskins' continued their preparation for the 2006 season with their minicamp this weekend.
There is a lot going on during the two-hour session. What we're going to present here are a few slices of what can be compared to a circus with, at various times, anywhere from one or to eight or nine rings over a a standard football field. There will be photographs for some of it as pictures are allowed for a total of about 30 minutes of the two-hour session.
The one event taking place as a team is calisthenics, which take place when they first come out on the field.
As you can see from these snapshots, these are not the high-energy type of exercises; they are more stretching and loosening up. Don't worry, there are plenty of aerobic elements to the workout coming up later.
After that, the special teams get it going. Cameras are not allowed for this part of the practice. They line up and work on punting and kickoffs, coverage and returning. Coach Danny Smith's voice can be heard above all else, admonishing and encouraging the players.
While this is going on, the players who don't work on special teams stay busy. Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd, Clinton Portis and others caught passes fired at them from short range from a JUGS machine. They practice both standing facing the machine directly, catching balls fired between their numbers, and standing sideways to the source of the passes, focusing on grabs that need to be made with just their hands. While there is a lot of laughing and joking going on during this particular drill--defensive line coach Greg Blache snuck up behind Portis at one point, saying something as a ball whizzed through the back's hands--the players are trying to get something out of it. For example, it was obvious that Lloyd was watching the ball into his hands on every catch; apparently he's determined to beat the rap that he drops too many passes.
From there, it's on to individual position drills and the cameras are allowed back on. First the offense and the defense gather as units. On Saturday the defense did a spirited drill where three defenders ran in place in the middle of the field for several seconds before Gregg Williams commanded them to break left or right. The three players would then break in to a mad dash to that sideline, the prize being a pylon. The fun part was that there were only two pylons for the three players to try to grab.
After the true circus commences with offensive linemen, receivers/quarterbacks, running backs, defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, and specialists all occupying separate areas of the field. The defensive front seven occupy the near end of the field with linemen under the goal posts and linebackers off to the side.
The D-line does mostly basic stuff. First they practice a little high-stepping over the dummies on the ground:
This gets them warmed up for the activity involving every former lineman's old friend:
Old Number 65 played the role of an offensive lineman on Friday as the linemen worked on shedding blockers. First they fire into it and establish their hands right in the pits of 65's stubby little arms as Anthony Montgomery is doing here.
Then they straighten up, lifting the dummy blocker into the air, simulating getting the opposing linemen off of his feet.
When the dummies need to be moved back into position and when the drills are over and they need to be removed from the field, the rookies are the ones who are assigned these chores.
On Saturday during the same time 65 turned into a wrong-numbered ball carrier. The linemen fired in to the dummy and wrapped it up as DE Karon Riley does here:
In Part Two, a look at what the linebackers are up to.