Injured Rogers Impresses Coaches

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 19, 2005

Rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers, the ninth pick of the 2005 draft, was unable to participate in yesterday's minicamp session because of a sprained ankle, but he has already made a positive impression on the coaching staff.

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said the coaches and trainers had to demand that Rogers not continue to practice with his injury, which he suffered working out on his own last month and aggravated on Friday. Rogers said he expects to practice today.

"He showed the vets a lot the last two days by practicing under physical duress," Williams said. "Today, we made him not practice. Now, I like the fact that I chose that he not practice. . . . Sometimes you've got guys that, 'Poor little old me, I have an owie today. I don't think I want to go.' It really doesn't go over very well with me and us in this profession."

Rogers said he continues to feel more comfortable in the defense and is eager to apprentice under Shawn Springs and Walt Harris, the projected starting corners. "I'm learning more every day," he said.

Ex-Cowboy Dixon Signed

The Redskins signed free agent safety Tony Dixon after a workout yesterday. Dixon, who turned 26 yesterday, has played 56 games -- all with Dallas -- and started seven contests last season. He can also contribute on special teams.

Washington was looking to bolster depth in the secondary even before starting safety Sean Taylor faced felony assault charges in Miami, and Williams said they could add another defensive back, likely a veteran cornerback, before training camp opens July 31. Free agent cornerback R.W. McQuarters, one of the team's targets, recently signed with Detroit.

The Redskins still expect Taylor, selected fifth overall in 2004, to be here for training camp, and Williams acknowledged that his decision to boycott the Redskins' entire offseason program will not help his cause. However, he still supports Taylor.

"I'm still a Sean Taylor fan," Williams said. "There's a lot of things you all still don't know behind the scenes that I do, and I'll just leave it at that."

Williams said that Springs has been working at the safety spot as well, and he could play there occasionally this season.

Extra Points

Wide receiver Santana Moss was excused from yesterday's work to tend to a family issue but is expected back for today's final practice. . . .

Williams said that while he is confident that his defense can again shine this season, he could not guarantee they would again lead the NFC. "I can't predict that," Williams said, noting the team faces more gifted quarterbacks on the 2005 schedule. . . .

Running back Rock Cartwright missed practice because of a bruised knee, but the injury is minor. . . .

Much of Washington's offseason was devoted to adding speed -- particularly among the receivers -- and Williams said it is already paying off. "We have more speed on the field right now at any time than we had for the entire season last year," Williams said. . . .

Several players noted the absence of talkative and funny cornerback Fred Smoot, who signed with Minnesota in the offseason. Springs, still close with Smoot, laughed when recalling the showy medallion Smoot purchased after inking his bonus with the Vikings. "The state of Mississippi, in gold," Springs said. "I told him he looks like Austin Powers."

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