The pass-blocking drill is conducted every afternoon, the one and only serious piece of head-knocking in the Redskin training camp all day. For offensive and defensive linemen, attendance is mandatory.
Redskin General Manager Bobby Beathard usually shows up to watch, too, as grunting pass rushers struggle one on one against snorting offensive linemen, trying to protect the quarter-back. Mostly these days, Beathard pays paritcular attention to the progress of offensive linemen Donnie Hickman and Jeff Williams.
Those are the two young men who came east from Los Angeles along with three draft choices in the still-controversial Eddie Brown deal. Neither has demonstrated in this drill, or anywhere else, that the trade will pay immediate dividends. In fact, neither man has demonstrated yet that he can make the football team.
While no one will say so publicly, Hickman hardly distinguished himself Saturday night against Minnesota, particularly in the final quarter when the Vikings romped and stomped all over quarterback Joe Thiesmann.
And Williams hardly has been around long enough for him to remember the names of his coaches, let alone the mountain of information he says he has been "bombarded" with since he finally showed up in camp Sunday, two weeks after the trade.
"Really, the only reason I didn't come any sooner was that I had these two homes out there that I was fixing up, and I was caught in the middle," Williams said yesterday. "I tried to sell them, but people knew I had to sell, so the price just dropped. They had me over a barrel. I just had to get it straightened out before I could leave.
"Yeah, I guess quitting did enter my mind when the trade happened. I was totally unprepared for it. It came at kind of a surprising time for me. I had just settled in California, and boom, they tell you you've been traded. So I thought about it (not playing), but I didn't think about it very long."
At the moment, Hickman and Williams are working with the second team, Hickman at left guard and Williams at left tackle, and the talk of training camp is that both players are probably at least a year if not longer, from playing regularly.
When Beathard made the trade, he said that was probably the case, and that the deal shouln't be judged for several years.
But there are still some players who wonder privately about the wisdom of the trade, and also question management's decision to trade Tim Stokes, a starting left tackle the last two years, to Green Bay for a fourth-round draft choice, even before Williams had reported.
"I know Stokes was better than either one of these guys," one player said the other day. "It's hard to understand."
"There's really nothing I can do about it," Williams said. "I just have to go out and show people I can play. Sure, there's pressure in being in a new situation, but it takes awhile to get used to a new system. I'm still making a lot of mistakes. But I think I can play.
"You just have to prove it, even more so after a trade like that."
Redskin receivers were having a tough day yesterday, too. Rookie Larry Franklin suffered a dislocated finger on his right hand and veteran tight end Jean Fugett jammed his hand when a teammate ran into him during a routine drill . . . Offensive guard Dan Nugent suffered a sprained ankle in the afternoon drill and limped off the field. The sprain was diagnosed as mild, however, and Nugent is expected to return to work today . . . Pardee said he would probably wait until game time before deciding whether to use Billy Kilmer against the Packers Friday night . . . Pardee said he had made no contact with running back Calvin Hill . . . He probably will try to reach the running back today.