Tuesday, July 22, 2008
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF
Days until the Redskins visit the Giants on Sept. 4.TODAY'S SCHEDULE
When: 8:30 a.m. practice open to the public; 3 p.m. closed practice.
Where: Redskins Park, Ashburn.
Admission, Parking: Free.
Updates: 703-726-7411.FRESH FACEDURANT BROOKS
The feeling still gets to him -- the realization that the pressure is high and fans' curious eyes analyze almost his every move.
Rookie punter Durant Brooks tries to ignore the static. He pictures himself fielding snaps confidently and comfortably as the ball lifts into the steamy Georgia sky. The technique he learned at Tattnall Square Academy in Macon, Ga., and later refined at Georgia Military College and Georgia Tech has given him NFL opportunity.
"I try not to think too much about it," Brooks said of his professional transition. "I might get too excited, seeing these fans here. I think of it being at camp at home. There's no difference. There shouldn't be. I shouldn't put too much pressure on myself. As long as I stay within my limits and compete, I'll be fine."
He may well be, but until then, the sixth-round pick (168th overall) continues to cope with his learning curve. When he first arrived at Redskins Park, he said he didn't know anyone, and everything was unfamiliar and awkward.
Then there was the issue of speed. Right away, he said he knew the technique that allowed him to average 45.1 yards a punt on his way to winning the Ray Guy Award last year wouldn't suffice.
"You really have to work on it," Brooks said. "It comes with being consistent and knowing your job and knowing what you have to do and being consistent with the ball."
He has work to do. To become a starter, he will have to outperform incumbent Derrick Frost. Last year, Frost, a five-year veteran, averaged 41 yards on 75 punts, the 18th-best average in the league.
"I'm not really focusing in on what he's doing at all," Frost said of Brooks. "I'm just trying to get better. They're just looking to get more out of me, so it doesn't matter who they want to bring in. They just want to get more production out of me."ZORN WATCH
Coach Jim Zorn has introduced a number of drills during training camp, but the dodgeball drill has yet to make an appearance. It will test a quarterback's pocket agility, and Jason Campbell promises fans will be entertained.
Zorn's drills "are fun, and everyone hasn't seen the funnest one yet, and that's the dodgeball drill," Campbell said. "You've got to move, and you've got these big balls at you. You just have to stay low."
Coaches will throw large exercise balls as quarterbacks step from behind center and begin to scan their progressions. The drill will teach quarterbacks to form a solid base.
For most of yesterday's afternoon session, quarterbacks didn't throw. They practiced the shuffle drill, where they tested their hip agility.
However, change could come soon.
"He means business, but at the same time, he's a lot of fun to be around," Campbell said of Zorn. "He's a guy who knows how to play the position. . . . He keeps everything at a medium, so he's definitely good to be around."QUOTABLE
"We'll have a dance-off. He'll probably beat me, because that salsa stuff, I can't do that. I play the piano, and he can dance. May the best man win."
DE Andre Carter on the the prospect of changing his No. 99 jersey after Jason Taylor signed with the Redskins. Taylor wore No. 99 with Miami and was part of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."INJURY REPORT
Safety Kareem Moore sat out the afternoon session to rest a knee on which he had arthroscopic surgery in the offseason.NEXT UP
Hall of Fame Game: Redskins vs. Indianapolis Colts
When: 8 p.m., Aug. 3,
Where: Canton, Ohio