Redskins open camp

The Redskins opened Steve Spurrier's first camp with lots of heat, lots of rain and lots of hope. Some players called Spurrier's first practice refreshing; he called it typical.

Whatever it was, the players liked it. They didn't practice in full pads, wearing shorts, shoulder pads and helmets. The morning practice featured heat, with the unofficial temperature on the field climbing to 117 degrees. The afternoon practice was cancelled because of a rainstorm.

''It's smart on Steve's part to save us now and then later on we'll be able to play hard during the season,'' Redskins tackle Chris Samuels said. ''I don't like to come out and bang each other in practice all day.''

Two players didn't practice: end Bruce Smith (knee) and defensive tackle Santana Dotson (strained calf). It's uncertain when either will practice. And first-round pick Patrick Ramsey remained unsigned, the last of the draft picks still out of camp. Center/guard David Brandt retired.

Though the Redskins didn't hit much, some couldn't wait for the pounding to begin. As long as it's kept to a minimum.

''It's about time we find out who the real tough guys are,'' Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington said. ''We need wise guys on our team. It's time to find out who they are.''

As expected, Sage Rosenfels took the first snaps with the starters. His first pass was to fullback Bryan Johnson in the right flat. Danny Wuerffel tossed the first interception, grabbed by Champ Bailey. But Wuerffel followed with a toss to receiver Justin Skaggs, who made a diving catch.

But the big story was the new atmosphere. At least two players, Smith and corner Darrell Green, were among the happiest campers.

''This year there's a new life and a new spirit,'' Smith said. ''You can see it in Coach Spurrier and you can see it in the whole organization. This is going to be an impressive year. Last year took a lot of the fun out of football. It's sad that it took place.''

One thing that won't change is the atmosphere Spurrier likes. The coaches don't yell much, especially Spurrier. He's had an outburst or two on the sidelines during his career. But he won't do that in practices.

''I don't yell hardly at all in practice,'' said Spurrier, who spent most of his time with the quarterbacks and receivers. ''And the only time I yell in games is when I made a mental mistake. We don't yell at dropped balls. The coaches will yell if players loaf or make mental mistakes.''


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