By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 29, 2007
First-round pick LaRon Landry missed a second day of training camp while negotiating his contract, with the Washington Redskins still hopeful he could be on the field by today. Landry, the sixth overall pick, hopes to start at safety right away, but a drawn-out impasse will not help his cause.
Coach Joe Gibbs has said that both sides are close to a deal, and sources close to Landry say the same. They made significant progress on Thursday but continued to hash out several aspects of the contract. Landry has already missed three practices. A contract agreement could be reached before the team takes the field today.
"I'm expecting it to happen any minute," Gibbs said following practice last evening.
It is hardly uncommon for top 10 picks to miss the first few days of camp, and under Gibbs the Redskins have not had a draft pick miss more than a handful of practices. Until other top choices sign -- specifically No. 5 pick Levi Brown, with Arizona -- Landry might be reluctant to finalize his contract.
"I understand the importance of being in camp," said veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, "but I've also been on the flip side being in his position of it being a top 10 pick where, you know, 'I want my money, too.' I see both sides and really understand how important it is."Thomas Rests Knee
Guard Randy Thomas continues to rest his sore knee and could get several more days of rest. Thomas underwent surgery after injuring his knee at minicamp in June, and though he was expected to practice from the offset, the club is being very cautious.
Thomas, one of the linchpins of the offense with his dynamic play whether pulling or drive blocking, will not practice this week, said Joe Bugel, assistant head coach-offense, and there is no rush to get him back. "We are going to give him enough rest to where he feels really good," Bugel said. "He is a strong part of this offensive line. I love him dearly and we are not going to do anything stupid right now."
With Thomas out, journeyman Will Whitticker is taking his spot at starting right guard. Whitticker worked in Thomas's place during minicamp and has drawn raves from Bugel, who believes he can be an impact starter if he continues to shed pounds and increase fitness.Sellers's Role
Fullback Mike Sellers is primed to have a bigger role this season as a short-yardage back as well as in the passing game, associate head coach Al Saunders said. Saunders said it would be "unconscionable" not to involve Sellers, a powerful blocker, more in the offense. . . .
There is surely pressure on all involved with the Redskins to perform well this year after a 5-11 finish, but Bugel said that should not imply a sense of panic. "This is not a panic year," Bugel said. "We are used to winning here. We have a great tradition. There is no panic here. We are angry about it. We did not like what happened to us last year. People rubbed our noses in it and they're laughing about it now. I think that made everybody shut up and let's go play." . . .
The players sang a brief "Happy Birthday" to tackle Chris Samuels before practice; he turned 30 yesterday. . . . Linebacker Marcus Washington, whom the coaches often plan to use as an end, playing with his hand down, continues to work with the defensive lineman during technique drills at the start of practice. . . . Former Redskins great Joe Theismann has been on the field hanging around the quarterbacks during practice.