Redskins Minicamp: Day 1

John Keim reports on his observations from the Redskins' first day of mini camp under Jim Zorn.

Jim Zorn does not strike you as an NFL head coach. He lacks a presence in the room; he lacks one on the field, quietly working his way around the field and taking in the action. He'll jump in when the quarterbacks are doing something, but mostly his presence isn't felt.

However, do not mistake that for what he may or may not become. And make no mistake, he's not afraid to bark at a veteran, even one as accomplished as Shawn Springs.

During the afternoon practice, Zorn turned heads when he yelled at Springs. The veteran intercepted a Jason Campbell pass and during the return lateralled the ball to Fred Smoot, who then fumbled it away.

As players laughed, Zorn stormed up near the play and shouted: "Don't mess around like that! You get the ball, you run it!'' After practice, he emphasized that he won't put up with that.

To which we say: Good for him. He needed to establish that he wasn't some naïve rookie coach. He's here to win. He has loooong ways to go, but that was a welcomed scene. You don't need to be too intense or uptight during minicamp, but you do want to set ground rules for what you expect.

Safety Kareem Moore is out for a while after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery this week. Can't wait to see him in action; he's known for his vicious hits. His college defensive coordinator, Steven Ellis, said in one game vs. Rice, Moore laid out a tight end. That intimidated Rice's leading receiver, who didn't catch another pass in the game. His coach suggested the wideout shied away from Moore.

The passing game looked terrible in the afternoon as the Redskins put in some new plays. The defense picked off a number of passes, especially over the middle. In addition to Springs, linebacker Matt Sinclair also intercepted a pass. There were more.

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache is the anti-Gregg Williams. He lacks the ego and doesn't need to prove he's the smartest man in the room. And that extends to his defensive philosophy. He made it clear that he won't use as many packages because he doesn't want players thinking too much. There seemed to be an intimation that some of that was done in the past for the benefit of others.

Rookie draft pick Chad Rinehart, who has a little gut we might add, worked at left guard. Stephon Heyer worked at both tackles with the second unit. Jon Jansen was back with the starting unit at right tackle. He looks in good shape.

In addition to Moore, Rocky McIntosh (knee), Carlos Rogers (knee) and Tyler Ecker (groin) did not practice. None of them will practice this weekend.

Rookie tight end Fred Davis showed good speed catching passes over the middle and breaking to the outside. He does not move like a tight end. Then again, neither does Chris Cooley. But Davis' athleticism was obvious.

Zorn spent a lot of time reminding the quarterbacks to stay low, showing them the difference when they pivot with their knees bent vs. when they're standing straight up.

Zorn also wants his coaches 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage during the full-team and nine-on-nine drills. He even "gently'' reminded a couple who were 10 yards away, one of whom was Joe Bugel.

Blache loves Zorn and I don't think it's an act. He genuinely seems to like working for him. Why? Because Zorn is sincere and doesn't try to act like someone he's not. Blache seems happier than he has in the past few years.


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