Youth Must Demonstrate That It's Ready to Serve

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 5, 2006

For most Washington Redskins, today's scrimmage with the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field is a mere formality. But for the younger players on the roster, including a host of recent draft picks, it will be much more imperative to make a good impression.

With Washington adding so much veteran talent in the offseason, roster spots will be difficult to come by, even for some players the team has invested higher draft picks on. Washington selected just six players in 2005, one of whom, linebacker Jarred Newberry, was cut during last year's training camp.

First-round selections Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell are projected to have bright futures by the team, but fourth-round pick Manuel White, who missed all of last season with an injury, faces stiff competition at fullback, as does seventh-round pick Nehemiah Broughton. The backfield is already crowded with veterans Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright and Mike Sellers.

Fifth-round pick Robert McCune has not had a strong camp so far, linebackers coach Dale Lindsey said. Lindsey said he wants to see much more from McCune, who is trying to win a spot backing up Lemar Marshall at inside linebacker, the focal point of the Redskins' defense.

"He's not where we want him," Lindsey said. "Robert turned out to be a good special teams players last year, and if you're a backup linebacker here we expect you to be good in that area. But we expect him to rise this year when he's playing middle linebacker. And right now, I don't see him where we want him, and I'm not taking the blame for that."

The Redskins had only one pick in the first four rounds of April's draft -- taking linebacker Rocky McIntosh in the second round -- and their five second-day picks are assured of nothing. Safety Reed Doughty has drawn praise for his offseason work, and McIntosh, a possible starter, has looked like a "typical rookie" thus far, Lindsey said.

"His mind has overloaded his feet because of all the stuff he's being asked to learn," Lindsey said.

Rogers, Patten Are Healing

Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers missed a second day of practice with back spasms and is highly unlikely to participate in today's scrimmage, Coach Joe Gibbs said. The injury is not serious, Gibbs said, and a weekend of rest should bode well for the second-year player. . . . Wide receiver David Patten was on the sideline for yesterday's practice, but did not participate after being released from the hospital Thursday. Patten was suffering from viral meningitis and Gibbs said he expects Patten to join drills next week. . . .

Receivers coach Stan Hixon said his son, Drew, is making great strides in his recovery from life-threatening head injuries. Drew Hixon, a former intern for the Redskins, was placed in a medically induced coma in 2004 after being hit in a college school football game. Now, he is working at a Washington area bank and living on his own. "He's doing great," Stan Hixon said. "He has an apartment about five miles from our house. It's his first full job and he's enjoying it so far. He's happy." . . .

Portis threw his jersey and T-shirt into the stands following practice, making one fan's day. . . . Offensive lineman Chris Pino returned to practice after recovering from a stomach virus.

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