Camp Carlisle, the good, <BR>the bad, and the ugly

When the rookies returned to their dorm rooms Wednesday night, they were greeted by a surprise: beds doused in ice water. Such is life during training camp. But the fun continued into Thursday night when the rookies were forced to perform skits. We're told that quarterback Patrick Ramsey performed a skit in which he immitated Steve Spurrier.

 A few of the rookies picked on Fred Smoot, an easy target because of his, um, chatty ways. And there also was a skit teasing receivers Jacquez Green and Reidel Anthony for their so-called jive talk. The two are very close, too.

As one person told me: there was nothing memorable, but everyone was laughing out loud. It was better than a skit performed by the coaches earlier in camp when they sang Hail to the Redskins and kind of danced. Give 'em credit for staying loose. But it's good that they did this in private.

Now that the grueling part of training camp is over, let's take a look back.

Carlisle highlights:

. . . Patrick Ramsey getting taped to the goal posts, talking to reporters with water squirting in his face. Then watching Jon Jansen dump a cooler of ice on him. But give Ramsey credit: he went along with the joke and never complained. That's why his teammates would never hold a grudge against him. Not that they did anyway. They know it's a business and that's all Ramsey's lengthy contract situation was about.

. . . The development of Ross Tucker. The one-time free agent guard showed he has a future in this league. The question is, can he start this year? Only one year removed from being an undrafted rookie? He's smart, physical and dedicated. Give him time and you'll like him.

. . .The play of the defense. The corners and linebackers were impressive, as everyone expected. Jeremiah Trotter covered very well, something not every middle linebacker can do. It separates him. And the corners dominated at times, especially Fred Smoot and Champ Bailey. Smoot gets more enjoyable every day. If the Redskins win, he and LaVar Arrington will be mega-stars just because of their personalities.

. . . The atmosphere created by Steve Spurrier. The Ball Coach isn't easy so don't get fooled by his demeanor. He wants to win and he'll work hard to do so. But the players and coaches related extremely well, better than almost every other camp that I've been involved in (this is my ninth). Arrington called it a professional atmosphere and he's right. Spurrier treated the players like men. But he's also disciplined: one longtime employee said he's more disciplined than the last four Redskins coaches, including Joe Gibbs. But like Gibbs there's an aura, one that sucks in those around him. That's why Spurrier will succeed--if the owner gives him time and, eventually, power. When Spurrier starts winning, he'll command more authority, just like Gibbs.

. . . End Ladairis Jackson. He came out of nowhere and showed he can be a help on third downs. But he has a ways to go to help against the run. In some ways he's like Ndukwe Kalu, though a little smaller. Speaking of Kalu, one year he stuffed a 10-pound weight in his shorts to get to the 270 pounds the coaches wanted him at. It worked.

. . . The play of Danny Wuerffel. He didn't always look good in practice, but he's gotten it done in two preseason games. He has me intrigued, but let's not go overboard yet. Teams haven't even game planned for the Redskins. Then again, they haven't done much to prepare for their opponents, either. Hmmmm.

. . . Talking to the assistant coaches again. The media couldn't do that under Marty Schottenheimer. Now we can and it's a treat, especially when you get honest coaches like Ricky Hunley and Kim Helton, upbeat ones like Hue Jackson and Steve Spurrier and solid ones like George Catalvos and Mike Stock. Here's why we like Hunley. One day a reporter asked him why he ended up quitting, expecting a response about how he just didn't have it any more. Instead, Hunley said, ''Because I was a dumb a--.''

. . .Watching Jon Jansen and Bruce Smith run sprints. Jansen was almost always first and Smith usually challenged.


Carlisle lowlights

. . . The struggle of Rod Jones at right guard. He improved at left guard, but was shaky enough that the coaches weren't satisfied. Now he's at left tackle, a spot he should feel more at home. But that hasn't happened yet. Fans should hope that's because he just needs time to shake off the rust.

. . . The disappearance of Justin Skaggs and Zeron Flemister. Skaggs picked it up a little this week but he's too far behind the other wideouts to catch up. He's a good story and perhaps he'll land on the practice squad. Flemister hasn't done much to get noticed, unlike when he was a rookie and even last year. This offense will use the tight end: rookie Robert Royal and Walter Rasby both had several grabs in practice this week.

. . . The inability to once more have a cohesive line when camp opens. It killed Washington early last year and it will hurt the Redskins this year.

. . . Ramsey's lenghty contract dispute. We'd be surprised if he's a factor at all this year. But the more ridiculous part was the trade talk. If he's the quarterback of the future, stick with him. If you wanted a guard, you should have picked one when you had the chance. But don't get so crazy that you're ready to trade someone so fast. That's Dan Snyder's impatience for you. Joe Mendes held out against a trade, knowing if you liked the kid then, you'll still like him when he gets on the field.

. . . The heat. Man was it hot.

. . . Watching Dan Wilkinson run sprints. Actually, he jogged. The others ran. But we like Wilkinson and still think he's solid.



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