Washington Redskins are expecting more than 100 players at this weekend's minicamp
Friday, May 7, 2010
Since taking over as the Redskins' head coach, Mike Shanahan has said repeatedly that he wants competition at every position. Staying true to his word, Washington's second minicamp of the offseason will feature an overflowing locker room of players vying for roster spots.
In all, the locker room will be outfitted for 110 players at the minicamp, which begins Friday at Redskins Park, and though the three days of practice sessions are technically voluntary, coaches expect nearly every stall to be filled.
"It's probably the most I've seen since I've been here," center Casey Rabach said of the crammed locker room. "It's going to be full and busy."
The minicamp is mandatory for rookies and marks their first time on the field wearing the helmet of their new team. The Redskins' six draft picks -- including highly touted left tackle Trent Williams -- were expected to report to Redskins Park late Thursday and will spend the next three days learning the schemes, meeting with position coaches and running through drills.
Unlike the first minicamp last month, "this is the full team. Rookies and all," Rabach said. "These are the guys that are going to kind of make up our team. There will be an addition here or there, but this is the first preview we see of who our team will be this fall."
This minicamp will also mark the first time coaches can see a handful of newly acquired veterans in-person, including defensive tackle Adam Carriker and wide receivers Joey Galloway and Bobby Wade.
Most veterans are expected to be in attendance, the notable exception being defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who also passed on the team's first voluntary minicamp April 16-18.
If that minicamp served as an introduction -- to the coaching staff, new teammates and the overhauled schemes and philosophies -- this weekend's will be about roster spots.
There may be 100-plus players in attendance but the team can only carry 80 on its roster. Currently, only 75 players are under contract for this season. Cornerback Carlos Rogers and linebacker Rocky McIntosh are restricted free agents and have yet to sign their tender offers. And the newly drafted rookies likely won't sign contracts until summer. That group includes Oklahoma's Williams, Louisiana State linebacker Perry Riley, Louisiana Tech tight end-fullback Dennis Moore, UCLA wide receiver Terrence Austin, New Mexico guard Erik Cook and West Virginia tackle Selvish Capers.
The remaining players -- undrafted rookies, more than two dozen in all -- will be participating in the minicamp as tryouts. The team hasn't released the names of this group, but it's expected to include Arizona State linebacker Mike Nixon, UTEP cornerback Melvin Stephenson II, Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark, Troy running back Maurice Greer, Eastern Arizona defensive tackle Marques Slocum, Murray State wide receiver Derrick Townsel, Massachusetts running back Tony Nelson, Stanford safety Bo McNally, Wisconsin linebacker Jaevery McFadden and Colorado State safety Klint Kubiak.
For the players on hand for tryouts, the six draft picks and the four undrafted free agents who've signed with the Redskins -- UCLA tight end Logan Paulsen, LSU running back Keiland Williams, Liberty defensive end Trey Jacobs and Ohio State safety Anderson Russell -- Friday's initial practice session could be a rude awakening.
"In this league, it's more intense," veteran defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "When you're a college player, you can pretty much just go on the field and dominate anybody. But you get [to] the pros, everybody's good. There's nobody you can go out and dominate. You might beat them every now and then, but you don't dominate.
"What the rookies got to do is just look at the guys in front of them, look at the veterans and let them lead the way," Daniels continued. "Try to mimic everything that they do. It's a learning process for them."
Daniels will be among a handful of players who attend the minicamp but can't fully participate. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week to clean out his left knee, but he hopes to be able to participate fully in some of the team's offseason training activities, the first of which is scheduled for May 17.
"I'm feeling good," said Daniels, who had major knee surgery in July 2008 after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. "It's just something I had to do, had to clean it out. But nothing major. I'm already doing conditioning, I'm moving around. I'm not on crutches or anything."
This weekend marks the second of three minicamps. The Redskins are permitted to hold two extra minicamps because Shanahan is a new head coach. In addition to this weekend's practices, the Redskins will conduct OTAs on May 17-19, 24-26, June 1-3, 7-8 and 10-11, followed by a final minicamp in June.
The minicamps and OTAs are not open to the general public.