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Dockery Making a nice impression (WP)


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Redskins Rookie Could Start at Guard

By Mark Maske

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, June 12, 2003; Page D10

As the Washington Redskins wrapped up their final offseason practices until training camp, one more competition for a starting position simmered. Coaches looked at rookie Derrick Dockery along different spots on the offensive line, and it appears he could make a push for a starting job at guard during training camp next month.

"At some point, there's no question he's going to be a starting guard or a starting tackle," offensive line coach Kim Helton said this week. "He's a good player."

The Redskins made a major effort this offseason to upgrade the interior of their offensive line, acquiring Randy Thomas and Dave Fiore in the opening days of the free agent signing period to serve as starting guards. They did not have an offensive lineman high on their list of priorities entering the draft in April, particularly since they had only three picks and they had needs at other positions.

But when Dockery -- the 19th-rated player on the team's draft board, according to Redskins officials -- still was available in the third round, the club took him. The Redskins were just as delighted to get him as they had been to select wide receiver Taylor Jacobs, the 18th-rated player on their board, in the second round. A poor 40-yard dash time contributed to Dockery's draft-day drop, leaving many NFL scouts wondering if the University of Texas all-American has the quickness to play tackle and deal with top pass-rushing defensive ends.

The Redskins, though, have one of the league's top sets of tackles in Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen. So while Dockery alternated between tackle and guard during a two-week coaching session that concluded with a morning practice yesterday at Redskins Park, the most pressing question when training camp begins will be how quickly he develops at guard.

"He's done a real nice job," Helton said. "I've been pleased with how he's looked at both positions."

If Dockery plays well in camp, some members of the organization probably would favor making him the team's starter at left guard and moving Fiore to center, bumping Larry Moore. Dockery, who is listed at 6 feet 6 and 345 pounds, said he is more comfortable at guard than tackle at this point.

"The coaches are trying to get me used to playing both positions," he said. "They told me to just come in here and compete and those other things will fall into place."

Owner Daniel Snyder's offseason shopping and Coach Steve Spurrier's decision to anoint Patrick Ramsey his starting quarterback have left few battles for starting positions. Spurrier told veteran Bruce Smith that he will have a chance to compete with free agent addition Regan Upshaw for the starting job at right defensive end, but that will be a time-sharing arrangement anyway. Ifeanyi Ohalete, David Terrell and Andre Lott will vie for the starting safety spot alongside newcomer Matt Bowen. Ohalete has been getting most of the practice-field work with the starting defense.

On offense, Spurrier reiterated that Trung Canidate will get the first shot at the starting tailback job but Ladell Betts and Kenny Watson will get opportunities. Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner are set as the top two wideouts, but Darnerien McCants, Cliff Russell and Patrick Johnson should push Jacobs for the remaining playing time. Jacobs has made a smooth transition back into Spurrier's offense after playing for the coach at the University of Florida, and Russell has looked swift as he returns from the knee injury that wiped out his rookie season last year.

"He's got the potential to be a very good receiver," Spurrier said of Russell. "He's a player we have to get on the field. . . . There is going to be competition at running back and wide receiver. . . . It'll work its way out."

Ramsey took most of the snaps at quarterback as the Redskins used their offseason practices to try to develop cohesion in their overhauled offense. Smith, defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson and cornerback Champ Bailey skipped the voluntary practices over the past two weeks, but Spurrier said he was satisfied with the team's 18 offseason practices, which included one minicamp and two coaching sessions. Training camp is scheduled to begin on July 28.

"I think we've made some progress," Spurrier said. "It all comes down to what we do in the [regular season] games. But I do believe we have better players and hopefully we can coach them better. . . .

The attitude of this team has been very good. We've had all but about three guys at these practices. If you compare that to around the league, I'd say our attendance is pretty good."

I though BDW was doing well.

What is up with Champ now? They need to start working on an extension NOW!

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I just want them to settle on the starting line-up early.... Say by the second pre-season game at latest.

Instead of the crap that's happened the last few years. Start a different Ol line-up for 5 or 6 games because they don't have a clue on how to build continuity on the OL.

I don't think Dockery should be the starter unless he's head and shoulders above the rest. At least not early in the season. There will be mistakes made by a rookie. But then again, Samuels and Janson did fine as rookies.

I remember an old addage; For every rookie that starts, expect a loss... probably came from the George Allen days.

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

Dockery would be a terrific guard especially in pass protection. Who the heck is going to get around him? And with him and one of our tackles on one side who is gonna get by on that side?

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Yeeeee-haw!! The skins finally have competition on the OL -- and depth. thank god its about time. Imagine a line like this: Samuels, Thomas, Fiore, Dockery, Jansen. Thats cool. Suddenly guys are getting open, RBs are finding holes, and our second year QB looks like Favre.

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great article... i was kind of bummed that BDW didn't show...

good to hear Champ had a legit excuse, and we all know about Smith's recent legal trouble...

i am looking forward to a Fiore/Dockery, Moore/Dockery, Moore/Fiore battle against "future-HOF'er" D'Wayne Robertson!

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Thank you Mark Maske, you always write a comprehensive, informative piece that tells us things that nobody else does, such as Dockery is progressing nicely.

He sure beats the he** out of Jody Folsely at the Times, AND Paul Woody for the T-D and TSN. they're both bums if you ask me.

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If Dockery plays well in camp, some members of the organization probably would favor making him the team's starter at left guard and moving Fiore to center

If Dockery plays REALLY well in camp, this setup would be really nice. In all the talk about how improved our OL is, there is not much said about Larry Moore. The middle of the OL was well known to be our weak point, and Moore IS the middle. I would definitely like to see Fiore in at C, but not if Dockery isn't ready.

If they do decide to go with this lineup, I would hope it is sooner rather than later so the starters can get as much time in next to each other in the trench as possible.

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I think some people are simply TOO worried about shuffling players on the O-line. That was the TRADEMARK of the '91 version of the Hogs.

At the start of the season, the starting O-line consisted of Jim Lachey at LT, Joe Jacoby at LG, Raleigh McKenzie at center, Mark Schlereth at RG, and Ed Simmons at RT. Simmons went down early, Jacoby shifted to RT, McKenzie shifted to LG, and Jeff Bostic came in at center. That wasn't nearly the end of it, either. Backup guards Russ Grimm and Mark Adickes both logged considerable playing time over the course of the season, including time at TACKLE during that crazy OT game against the Oilers. But they had great comaraderie and never quibble about playing time. Grimm and Adickes were exemplary because they could have started for most of the teams in the league. The line that everyone remembers as being so dominant (and they were!) was in constant flux. But one of the main reasons they were so dominant was their depth and the ability of every player to play multiple positions.

I think you have to look at every player as the entire unit, not just the starters. This group for '03 suddenely looks talented AND deep. Don't complain.

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in 1991 the team allowed a record low 9 sacks, and two of them were from rypien falling down and getting tapped. So they really only gave up 7 SACKS THE WHOLE SEASON. that record is untouchable. And In the Superbowl grimm lined up as a tight end in the heavy jumbo package that had 4 tightends on the filed.

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Don't bash Moore. The weakness of the line's middle last year was not on him but rested with our guard play. That's all changed now. Moore is like Raymer was, competent but not a star. That's all you need if you have quality around him; if you had the garbage we had last year, a Hall of Famer wouldn't have made much of a difference.

Before everyone gets all hot on Fiore moving to center, consider that he's more mobile than Dockery is in all likelihood. With a scheme that often has guards pulling and trapping, that could be a problem. Dockery's big, but can he turn the corner on a sweep in front of a HB like Tre, another big guy, could early in his career?

Also, as it stands with Moore at center, we have two out of five new additions to the line, with no new guys playing next to another new guy. With Dockery in and Fiore at center, three out of five (most) of the line is new and would include a rookie, with all three of them playing next to each other. It seems like a lot to ask such a unit to be cohesive early on, and this is a team that is relying upon a promising second year QB to improve and gain confidence quickly while running a rebuilt offense.

I just think moving Moore out of there right now is too much change all at once.

EDIT- Guru, the difference regarding 1991 is that you had a core of guys who had played many years together, even if they weren't starting that year. Between Lachey, Grimm, Bostic, MacKenzie, Jacoby and all the other names you mentioned, the average number of years with the team between them was probably at least four and was likely more. With us this year, our most experienced holdover linemen - Jansen - only has been here for four seasons. Lines take time to build; let's take our time with this one.

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Originally posted by GURU

I think some people are simply TOO worried about shuffling players on the O-line. That was the TRADEMARK of the '91 version of the Hogs.

At the start of the season, the starting O-line consisted of Jim Lachey at LT, Joe Jacoby at LG, Raleigh McKenzie at center, Mark Schlereth at RG, and Ed Simmons at RT. Simmons went down early, Jacoby shifted to RT, McKenzie shifted to LG, and Jeff Bostic came in at center. That wasn't nearly the end of it, either. Backup guards Russ Grimm and Mark Adickes both logged considerable playing time over the course of the season, including time at TACKLE during that crazy OT game against the Oilers. But they had great comaraderie and never quibble about playing time. Grimm and Adickes were exemplary because they could have started for most of the teams in the league. The line that everyone remembers as being so dominant (and they were!) was in constant flux. But one of the main reasons they were so dominant was their depth and the ability of every player to play multiple positions.

I think you have to look at every player as the entire unit, not just the starters. This group for '03 suddenely looks talented AND deep. Don't complain.

Excellent post. The key really is having multiple players who can play any position on the line. I think we have that this year.

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I'm with Guru. If we can get chemistry with depth and versatility, we're actualy better off over a long season. I'm really excited about the prospects for the O-Line and the whole team.

As far as I'm concerned, if it can gel, it'll carry our new and inexperienced "skill positions" to great success. Also, with less time on the field, the defense can get even better.

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Originally posted by Even Madder

........, and our second year QB looks like Favre.

I will frickin lose my mind if that happens. Favre is one tough SOB and if we can get one that is 75% of Favre, we will be fortunate. Of all the QB molds in the NFL, Ramsey reminds me of Favre. I hope we inherit the playoff runs Favre has had!

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Guru, I agree with you but the thing that seperates this line from the '91 group was that for the most part they had been playing together for some time and had developed a certain level of chemisty that I don't think we can expect from this line yet-especially if Dockery starts and Fiore is moved to center. That would give us three new starters on the line.

That being said, I love the group that has been assembled and they DO have guys who are versatile. Its exactly what Patrick needs.

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