By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Two of the Washington Redskins' starting defensive backs skipped the start of the final session of offseason practices yesterday, with veteran cornerback Shawn Springs and second-year safety LaRon Landry the only absences. Coach Jim Zorn said neither player gave the team an explanation for his decision, and he hoped to contact each man shortly.
Springs is working out in Arizona as he did last year, when he was not present for any non-mandatory work (players are not contractually obligated to participate in OTA practices, though their presence is encouraged). Springs has told some people that he does not plan to report to Redskins Park until the start of training camp in July.
Landry, however, is still learning after a strong rookie season, and he has rarely been around Redskins Park this offseason, raising concern among some on the staff. Former assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams spent time mentoring Landry behind the scenes, sources said, just as Williams did with safety Sean Taylor.
Zorn was not pleased but did not want to make too much of the players' absence.
"I'm going to try to get a feel for why they didn't want to come," he said. "It's not something that I'm going to make a huge spectacle of. We'll just see what happens."
Defensive coordinator Greg Blache declined to speak about the players. "I coach the guys that are here," Blache said. "You guys [in the media] can worry about the guys who are not here."Team Signs Schweigert
The Redskins, who had just three veteran safeties under contract entering the NFL draft, added depth by signing free agent Stuart Schweigert yesterday.
Schweigert, a former third-round pick who spent the past four seasons in Oakland, participated in practice and said he hopes to push for a starting spot. Schweigert, 26, lost his starting job in Oakland in the latter part of last season for reasons that were never explained to him, he said.
Schweigert said he chose the Redskins over other teams because of the opportunity to play, and because they were a playoff team. Leaving Oakland, a franchise in rebuilding mode, and coming here was a "blessing," he said. "I feel like a 1,000-pound bear has been lifted off my chest."Campbell Says Hamstring Is Fine
Quarterback Jason Campbell said he is adjusting to getting lower under center and that the hamstring problem from the last round of OTAs in early May no longer bothers him.
"It's something that's behind me," he said.
Campbell participated fully in the session, but many players did not, including cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee surgery), wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (knee surgery), linebacker Rocky McIntosh (knee surgery), rookie quarterback Colt Brennan (hip surgery), safety Vernon Fox (knee surgeries), rookie safety Kareem Moore (knee surgery), defensive end Erasmus James (knee surgery) and tight end Tyler Ecker (groin).
Rogers may have to begin the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, though Zorn said no decision would be made until well into training camp. The other players from that list are all expected back for training camp, Zorn said.End Zone
Starting wide receiver Santana Moss, who celebrated his birthday with an array of charity parties over the weekend, was "quarantined" and sent home with the flu, Zorn said. . . . Zorn said that he did not foresee a situation where tailback Clinton Portis would be allowed to freely remove himself from games as he did under former coach Joe Gibbs, though Zorn has not discussed the topic with Portis.