Ben Chappell got the call from the Redskins on Monday night, and after flying to D.C. the next morning, the former Indiana quarterback entered Redskins Park not knowing what to expect from his first NFL training camp.
For undrafted free agents, especially quarterbacks, camp is often a time spent watching others take repetitions. Rookies usually are buried down a depth chart behind one, two or even three other passers.
As he walked into the meeting room, however, Chappell saw he was joined by only one other person: John Beck, the only other quarterback on the Redskins’ roster.
“When I walked in the room and it was just me and John I was like, ‘All right, let’s do this,’ ” Chappell said. “I was excited.”
The thin roster, made such by the lockout and late free agent period, meant that Chappell, 24, would split the reps with Beck – at least on Friday. Reports indicated that Rex Grossman would re-sign with Washington, and recent signing Kellen Clemens is expected to join the team soon, as well, though he cannot take reps until Thursday.
For his first practice, though, Chappell, who went to the same high school as Grossman, rotated with Beck during team and position drills.
“I’m sure he’s excited to be here,” Beck said. “He’s spent a lot of times the past couple of days just learning the offense, getting the plays down. I think he’s picked it up fairly quick. Seems like a smart guy. He actually threw the ball pretty well a couple times today, so I’m sure he’s very excited to get his chance to come out and show the coaches what he can do.”
The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Chappell finished his career at Indiana as the program’s career leader in completion percentage (61.1) and completions (651) and ranked second in passing yardage (7,251) and passing touchdowns (45).
It didn’t take long to recognize how different the pro levels would be. Chappell said he noticed before he even stepped foot on the field. “As soon as I saw that playbook I knew it was going to be different,” he said.
There was little time to adjust, however. And after his first practice, Chappell said he was eager to improve quickly and show coaches he is “ready to be an NFL quarterback.”
“Just getting the opportunity to get reps is unique and I want to take the fullest advantage that I can,” Chappell said. “Just come out here and get better every day because not every guy gets this chance.”