By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 3, 2005 1:00 PM
Coach Joe Gibbs's decision to put the shotgun formation back in the Washington Redskins' playbook took many by surprise, former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann chief among them. Theismann, an ESPN broadcaster, was at Redskins Park this morning and recalled when Gibbs discarded the shotgun. Theismann said he was sacked repeatedly during one stretch and played an entire game in the shotgun in a loss to Chicago and its famed "46" defense.
During the following preseason, the Redskins faced a third-and-long situation, went into the shotgun and the snap sailed over Theismann's head. "I walk to sidelines and go, 'Coach, don't worry about it,' " Theismann said. "He said, 'I'm not worried about it. We're not running the shotgun any more No shotgun. Done. Over with. Out of here.' So it took 20 years for Joe Gibbs to say, 'You know what? the shotgun might be a part of our offense again.'
Theismann believes the shotgun is one of many offensive adjustments Gibbs is making in his second season back after a lengthy retirement, and believes Washington will improve upon its 30th ranking last season.
"The question this year will be has Joe adapted to calling plays at a comfort level where he feels like he can get it done?" Theismann said. "With the Washington Redskins, the question is, yeah [quarterback] Patrick Ramsey is the new starter, but how will Joe Gibbs adapt? And he wouldn't want the pressure any place else. It's perfectly placed and he's the man who can handle it and I think he's learned a lot."Noble 'Starting to Feel Normal Again'
Defensive lineman Brandon Noble would much rather be in perfect football shape and able to participate in all of the drills with the Redskins, but compared to the obstacles he faced last August, this medical setback is nothing. A year ago, Noble was making an improbable return ahead of schedule after enduring season-ending knee surgery; now he is trying to improve his conditioning after a knee infection kept him out of offseason training.
Noble spent the spring taking antibiotics and trying to rid himself of the infection. He missed all of the Organized Team Activity practices as well as mini-camp and was unable to work out fully. Now his knee is fine, but his body is still recovering from a six-week cycle of medicine that left Noble without an appetite and feeling weak.
"I had a bad reaction to my medication," Noble said, "and they took me off it and gave me some pills that did the same thing. I lost a lot of weight and I've been putting that back on and trying to get back into shape. I didn't want to eat, because the antibiotic kills everything in your body and the enzymes in your stomach. I've been off it for a month now and I'm starting to feel normal again. They said it would take anywhere from four to six weeks to get my body back to normal."Taylor Back with First Team in Drills
Safety Sean Taylor, who began training camp working with the second- and third-team defenses, was back with the first team in many drills today. With defensive lineman Cornelius Griffin kept out with a shoulder strain, Ryan Boschetti and Cedric Killings have taken his spot. . . . First-round draft pick Carlos Rogers signed his contract and joined the team for meetings, but was not on the field to watch the morning practice as he receives treatment. . . . The Redskins have emphasized the importance of the deep pass this season, but through the first three days of camp, few have been completed. . . . The biggest applause of the morning came when Theismann threw his arm around injured linebacker LaVar Arrington as practice concluded and walked with him to the fence to sign autographs.