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To those going to training camp.....somethings to watch for.....


Utah

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If I may be so bold, I am gearing up for my training camp this year and we coaches have been discussing the things we want to work on. I thought I would relay somethings for our camp goers to watch.

First things first. The speed and power are going to be pretty much awe inspiring if you haven't been around football at this level. Take that for granted. But there are things to watch that will give you some insight to the players and how they are progressing in camp. I'll try and give a few blurbs on each position to help out some.

QB - The tough part about this is we don't know what Coach Spurrier is teaching as reads for his QBs on any given play. You can figure it out, but its not easy. What to watch for is how smooth and consistent his drops are and does he deliever the ball the same way from begining to end throughout practice. Watch his arm strength from morning and afternoon practices. Should stay pretty solid at this level. Don't freak though if he seems to falter. This will happen in the first half of camp. No worries. INTs will happen. Watch to see how the DBs are getting them. Are they open field or are they great plays by the DB. Big difference. This lets you know if maybe Ramsey is giving away where he wants to go or he has shown how he makes his read.

HB - FB - This one you want to watch footwork and ball handling. Do they accept the ball the same way on every play. Do they tuck properly on every play. Do they hit each hole at full speed or do they change up throughout the line. With our offense, there is little time for dancing behind the LOS, so these guys need to see the holes fast and hit them. If they studder too much or try to much fancy crap, they are pushing their luck with Coach Spurrier. On blocks, watch their head movement. Can't block if your head is down or if you allow the defensive player to get into your body. You want RBs who run down hill, not side to side.

WR - Here is some speed to watch. The thing you watch for here is how these guys are getting off the line. Speed is everything for our O so its important that there is little time wasted trying to get into their patterns. We have excellent corners to help our guys practice this. Try and watch for tendencies in our guys when they make breaks or appear to be the main receiver. Alot of times, their bodies will give those things away or at least their efforts will. This will come to play in 11 on 11 drils or 7 on 7. Watch for consistency in catching the ball later in the day or during long drills. When guys get tired, look for the ones who still do all the basics in receiving a ball when their tired.

TE - Blocking is the big thing here. Since most TEs are stuck getting the quick DEs or the OLBs, their footwork and base are the most important. Try and watch how quick a feet our guys have being able to seal off or push their assingment away from the play. Watch the same things as WR for catching the ball. The biggest thing for TEs is they must be physical.

OL - The best way to watch these guys is to see it done right and then watch the others practice. Watch Samuels and Jansen and even big Tre on proper footwork, intitial punch at the point of contact and most importantly, where their hands are on the defensive player. Remember that on the line, the player who controls the inside usually wins the battles. Yes, sometimes even our big boys look like thier on rollerskates, but its important to see how often that happens. Also. look to see if Coach has any real pulling plays or large movements for the lineman. See how they keep their center of gravity on these plays. Tre was always good at this. This is where the big boys play. And they are HUGE. Alot of fun to watch.

Defense is a reactionary thing. Players have to see whats going on in order to react properly. Armstead is very sound at this. You will notice that he seems aware of where most everybody is around him and he hunts the ball well. Defense is fast and hard. You want to watch how guys react to plays. Do they allow the play to come to them or do they attack. Trust me, you'll know when a player is wimping out or if he is aggressive as hell.

DL - Watch for hand work here. A good defensive linemen will always win the hand battle and get control of the OL and move them off so they can get to the ball. Now, sometimes a Dlinemens job is to occupy 2 blockers (Noble) so be aware of this "dance" when it happens. Look for explosion off the ball and whether or not they intitiate contact with the oline. Look also for power. Better yet, watch where there eyes are if you can, DTs especially. There heads and reactions to plays will usually tell you where they are looking.

LB - This will be a joy to watch. We have 3 damn good LBs and they are solid and very sound in thier technique. Watch their drops in pass coverage. They should be able to react to a pass without having to do alot of movement and close in for the kill. Watch for arm tackles. LBs should always be getting power shots on players. Look for where their head is on tackles. Should be hunting the ball and knocking it out if possible. Watch how they work with the DL. They should be getting caught up trying to get around the big butts in front of them, but making contact at the LOS and forcing the ball to the open tackler. Watch how they handle blocks, do they shed them or are they fighting to get rid of the blockers.

SS - FS - This is tough to watch because you won't know the responsiblities of the players. Mostly, you will hear if they do something wrong. DB coaches are not quiet people. I should know. Hear, look most importantly at footwork. While their jobs may require them to do seperate things, they need to spend little time once a play is committed in getting to the ball. Very smooth movement is a must. They need to be smart and it will show if they are not. Also, watch how they tackle. We don't need any Ronnie Lotts these days. The WRs and TEs are just too big for that these days. They must be sound tacklers.

CB - Footwork, footwork, footwork. Its all about the speed and being able to react to the WRs movements. The big thing to watch here is when they are in zone, watch to see if they are covering grass or if they are squeezing their zone down when noone is threating them. You'll get used to that after watching it a few times. Also look for the ball hawks. Guys who just seem to know how to go and get the ball. Fun players to watch.

K - Watch them kick. Pretty tough. I will say this, watch the punters and how they drop the ball. That should stay consistent and allow for the ball to turnover in the air. Otherwise, not much to see their.

Well, I hope that helps alittle. There are a ton of things to watch but that takes alot of experience to see and the coaches will be barking up a storm so you'll be able to hear when someone is not doing something right. The coaches will always 'slow mo' what they want their players to do so pay attention to the coaches and then watch how the players react. Players who can be coached are the special ones.

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Nice work, Utah. Thanks. :)

Whenever I've gone to camp, I've found myself thinking how much more edifying the process would for fans of the team if they knew exactly what was being ASKED of the different units during a given drill.

You can watch an offense simply carve up a D in a 7 on 7 for instance, and find yourself either impressed with the crispness of the QB and WR's, or, conversely, ready to smack your forhead over the seeming incompetence of the DB's. And you realize you simply have no idea what the secondary coaches have instructed their guys to do. Are they simply looking to see who makes the right reads and gets into position? Are they looking for reaction time once a ball is in the air? Closing speed?

Any serious football fan can look at a player and get a feel for their atheltic ability ... and be properly impressed with a guys' hands if he happens to see a couple of great catches .... or have his eyebrows raised at the explosiveness of a LB or RB getting off the line ... etc. But it's a rare fan indeed who can not only keep his head on a swivel and see all the action, plus look at the kinds of detail Utah talks about, PLUS know the context in which all of it is going on from drill to drill.

I know I'm not one.

But when I do go to camp and post a "report," I'll sure as hell try to cover every aspect I see, and put it in at least an average (but earnest) fan's perspective. I'd ask the same of everyone else who gets the chance to go, and feels up to writing about it.

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I don't know if I have seen another Redskins team quite like this one. There are veteran players around, but almost all of them are YOUNGER vets, under 30 and players that despite their skills still have room and time to improve.

On offense there are no starters over 30. Period. Of the backups only Tre Johnson is over 30.

We could end up with second year players at running back (Betts), tight end (Royal) and rookies at wide receiver as the #3 (Jacobs) and guard (Dockery).

Spurrier has as much talent on offense now as the Redskins have had in a dozen years. It is up to the staff to get these guys ready for the season. No one expects Ramsey and Co. to be effortless achievers, but with a full offseason to familiarize themselves there should be far fewer mistakes than in 2002.

On defense, a slightly more veteran bunch. Still the leading lights are very young. Bailey, Arrington and Smoot are under 25. Only Armstead (33) and Smith (40) have real moss on them. Others such as Upshaw and Wynn are solid players approaching the peak years of their careers at 28.

My concerns overall are greater consistency from Smoot and Bailey than last year and the emergence of a pair of capable starting safeties.

Safety, tight end and punter are spots where you could say we are crossing our fingers and hoping for the best...........or perhaps in the case of safety or punter a late camp veteran cut from another team :)

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