RICHMOND — NFL players are accustomed to coaches barking in their ears. But the Washington Redskins got an earful of commentary — as well as cheers — throughout Saturday’s two-hour practice that served as the main attraction of fan appreciation day at training camp.
Redskins officials didn’t release attendance figures, but with temperatures in the mid-80s and an overcast sky, it was by far the biggest crowd of what has been a sparsely attended camp, with an estimated 8,000-10,000 filling the hills overlooking one sideline and end zone and the tents reserved for corporate guests and family members.
Amid the din, one voice in particular rang out. It belonged to 11-year-old Nasir Baker of Charlotte, a passionate Redskins fan attending his first training camp with his cousin Jerimiah White, 9, their friend Ahnage Vines, 11, and his uncle Felton White of Rocky Mount, N.C., who drove the boys to Richmond from North Carolina on Saturday morning and planned to drive them home after practice.
Starters and backups, skill-position players and linemen, no one was spared Nasir’s withering eye.
When cornerback Bashaud Breeland lined up to defend wide receiver Terrelle Pryor on one play, Nasir shouted: “Breeland, we need you to step up, baby! Hey, two-six. No mistakes!”
After running back Rob Kelley plowed through a wall of defenders for a nice gain: “Show them legs! That’s what I’m talking about.”
And on he went: “Josh Norman, you need to man up!”
To quarterback Kirk Cousins, as he scanned the defense before letting the ball fly: “He’s wide open! Wide open! I know you’re famous, but you gotta listen!”
The pass completed, Nasir yelled: “After practice I’m gonna give you a lollipop! That’s what the doctor does for me when I’m good!”
In a break in the action, Nasir, who plays cornerback, safety and running back for his rec-league team, explained how he came to care more about the Redskins than he did the Carolina Panthers. “My grandfather loved the Redskins, and he raised my dad to love the Redskins,” Nasir said.
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