New coach Mike Shanahan 'very satisfied' with Redskins' first steps toward building 2010 roster

Former Chiefs and Bengals running back Larry Johnson will visit the Redskins today.
Former Chiefs and Bengals running back Larry Johnson will visit the Redskins today. (Charlie Riedel/associated Press)
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Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 12, 2010

Though it's been a relatively quiet first week of free agency for the Washington Redskins, Coach Mike Shanahan said Thursday night he is "very satisfied" with the team's modest first steps toward building the 2010 roster and is looking forward to meeting his players next week when the offseason conditioning program commences at Redskins Park.

"We have a gameplan and it takes time," Shanahan said. "We've got a plan; it's not going to happen overnight. We just have to watch the plan take place. But we're going to try to get better every day."

In 11 years under owner Daniel Snyder, the team has forged a well-earned reputation for chasing the biggest fish on the free agency market. But in the first season under Shanahan and General Manager Bruce Allen, the team has instead focused on second- and third-tier free agents. It's all part of a plan that Allen and Shanahan presented to Snyder before free agency began.

"It's really not about the past now. It's about the future," Snyder said Thursday night. "When you look at the pedigree of Bruce and Mike and everything they're doing and their experience, we're in good hands."

Snyder and Shanahan met briefly with reporters prior to the annual dinner of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, the team's nonprofit, philanthropic arm.

Shanahan addressed a handful of topics, from the team's offseason conditioning program to free agency. He said that he expects running back Clinton Portis to be present Monday when players report to Redskins Park for the offseason conditioning program, which is technically optional, though highly encouraged.

"Oh, I guarantee you Clinton will be there," Shanahan said. "I know Clinton too well. He'll be there and kick off the offseason on the right note. I want my leaders to be there, and hopefully we'll have 100 percent participation and if not, I'll be disappointed."

Shanahan said he similarly expects defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and cornerback Carlos Rogers to show up. Rogers had expressed frustration after he was tendered as a restricted free agent.

They're expected to join a group noticeably different from the one that finished last season, more for the players who've left the team than the ones who've joined it. While the Redskins have parted ways with several longtime veterans, including Antwaan Randle El, Rock Cartwright, Cornelius Griffin and Randy Thomas, they've added few bona fide starters.

The team has signed three players since free agency began last Friday: offensive linemen Artis Hicks, nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu and tight end Sean Ryan, who signed with the team Thursday morning.

"You don't come in the first three or four days of free agency and say, 'Hey, we're done,' " Shanahan said.

The Redskins continue to meet with free agents. Running back Larry Johnson, who split 2009 between Kansas City and Cincinnati, arrived in town Thursday and is expected to meet with coaches on Friday. The team has been seeking a veteran tailback who could complement Portis.

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