Zorn Looks Ahead to Training Camp

The Washington Post's Jason Reid discusses the role of running back Ladell Betts in Jim Zorn's west coast offense. Video by Jason Reid/The Washington Post
By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 13, 2008

Coach Jim Zorn expects to have most of the Washington Redskins' roster cleared for full contact when training camp opens July 20, with a few exceptions. Zorn, who conducted the team's final offseason practice yesterday before the summer break, said that cornerback Carlos Rogers, defensive end Erasmus James, rookie safety Kareem Moore and tight end Tyler Ecker are not expected to be ready for the start of camp.

Rogers is coming off reconstructive knee surgery after tearing ligaments last season and could start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. All of the injured players were spectators during the last two weeks of organized team activities, with most limited to jogging and light individual drills. Wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (knee), linebacker Rocky McIntosh (knee), safety Vernon Fox (knee) and rookie quarterback Colt Brennan (hip) are making strides and all should be fully participating at the start of camp, Zorn said.

McIntosh is also recovering from knee surgery but is scheduled to be medically cleared June 19, Zorn said. James is rehabbing from a second anterior cruciate ligament tear and Zorn said yesterday that it would be ambitious to try to have him practicing when camp opens. "We need to hold him back a little bit," Zorn said.

Randle El, who participated in minicamp in May, had surgery May 6 to remove floating cartilage in his right knee. He had hoped to recover in time to take part in the final eight workouts that ended yesterday, but his knee did not cooperate.

"It's coming along," he said. "I've been doing some jogging and a little sprinting, so it has been feeling better than what it had been [the first few weeks after the procedure], and that's a good sign.

"Would I rather be out there right now? No question about it, but we said we were going to be smart about it. We're going to take our time to make sure it's right for the season. That's the most important thing."

Brennan underwent hip surgery this offseason but he should be fully recovered in two to three weeks. Moore is also coming off of knee surgery and likely will miss the first few weeks of camp, Zorn said. Ecker underwent groin surgery Wednesday and likely will miss eight weeks.

Second-year cornerback Byron Westbrook is the only new addition to the injured list during this OTA session. Westbrook suffered a minor hamstring strain Wednesday but should recover before the start of camp.

Zorn Looks Forward

Zorn said he was pleased with what his team accomplished this offseason and is eagerly awaiting the start of his first season as an NFL head coach. He'll back away from the game for the next few weeks -- "I want to relax a bit with my family because I know what's coming," he said -- but will have his mind on the game as Redskins Park goes quiet for the next four weeks.

Zorn, who is instituting the West Coast offense, said the running game has been fully installed, as well as "a really good portion of the passing game." Zorn praised the effort of his players, saying there has been "no complaining" and "no moaning," and urged them to act professionally while away from the team these next few weeks, asking them to "be careful."

"They're grown men," Zorn said, "but some of them have more maturity than others."

Both Sides Now

Lorenzo Alexander spent last season toggling between the offensive and defensive lines, but spent the OTA sessions exclusively with the defense. However, that does not mean he won't be back on offense soon. The coaches told Alexander, who emerged as a valuable depth player in 2007, that they wanted him to focus on defense during OTAs as they continue to evaluate their young offensive linemen and make determinations about the roster. Come training camp, he could be taking part in drills on offense, too. Alexander is also a special teams standout who some coaches believe has the ability to be a starting lineman.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company