|Page 2 of 2 <|
Redskins training camp looks completely fresh with Mike Shanahan in charge
The team begins each morning with position drills but spends a considerable amount of time lining up 11-on-11, often keeping down and distance and putting the offense and defense in scenarios that might pop up in actual games.
"They get a first down, they keep it," said linebacker London Fletcher. "The defense gets an opportunity to stop them. Everybody's on the sideline. It creates a football-type of atmosphere, a game-type of atmosphere out there where you have to make decisions."
The intensity level remains fairly high. Even after a play is dead, running backs and receivers keep charging an extra 15 yards, and while defenders won't wrap up backs and take them to the ground, they also don't pass up too many opportunities to hit.
By now, offensive players know particularly that if a play gravitates toward safety LaRon Landry, a regular season hit could be coming.
"Most guys just bump up against you when you have the ball. LaRon likes to go into the full tackling mode," Cooley said. "He's in scrimmage mode at all times. We talked about it in the locker room and he said, 'Why are you giving me a hard time?' I said, 'You are the only one that tackles. So if you're going to tackle me, I am going to give you a hard time about it. You're going to have to deal with that.' "
Shanahan isn't about to ask his defensive players to hold back. He wants them hitting above the waist but still replicating game-action as closely as possible.
"I don't mind those hard hits," he said. "I mean, we're going to get those in the game. I love those hard hits."
While former head coach Jim Zorn spent almost the entirety of practice working with the quarterbacks, Shanahan prefers to patrol the field more like a CEO, removed from each group of players but watching all of them. Kyle Shanahan is the one who helps with the quarterbacks.
While the team can go through dozens of plays in the morning, they'll run some of the exact same plays in the afternoon. But in the morning, the offense goes against the Redskins' new 3-4 defense; in the afternoon, each group will mimic other fronts that they're bound to see from other teams. So the defense might run its formation against the Wildcat offense during its "jog-through," and the offense might try its two-tight end set against a more traditional 4-3 base defense.
"It is just a way to get everything done in camp," Shanahan said.
Though the head coach canceled Sunday afternoon's "jog-through," the team is expected to hit the field twice every day the rest of this week.
The coach says he's pleased with the effort he's seen thus far but felt the team hit a familiar roadblock on Sunday.
"Any time you put the pads on, normally that third or fourth day is a little bit tougher, just like it was today," Shanahan said following Sunday morning's practice. "Guys get a little tired -- they're not quite as quick as they were. If you're not quite as quick, you make mistakes. Sometimes mentally you get a little fatigued. There was some good effort out there, but too many mistakes."