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Redskins Notebook

For Coles and Bailey, Spirited One-on-One Is a Plus

By Mark Maske

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 7, 2003; Page D03

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles and cornerback Champ Bailey have gone head to head frequently during the Washington Redskins' training camp, producing some eye-catching plays while trading the bragging rights back and forth.

They were at it again during yesterday's practice. Bailey made a superb play early on, wrestling the ball away from Coles on the ground after the two made a catch almost simultaneously. Coles got his revenge later with a juggling grab along the sideline that left Bailey slapping his hands together in frustration.

"Champ is a great cornerback, and he's only going to make me better," said Coles, who played at a near-Pro Bowl level last season for the New York Jets before becoming a free agent.

The Redskins signed Coles to a seven-year, $35 million contract in an effort to upgrade their offense, but it might also help sharpen Bailey, the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback who has not practiced against such an accomplished receiver during his four years as a Redskin.

"He gets me one play," Bailey said. "I get him the next. It goes back and forth. We're just making each other better. I'm just glad we've got someone like that around here. He's got the total package. He's fast. He's strong. He's got great hands. He's talented. He makes it exciting every play. You cannot take a play off with that guy."

The practice will come in handy, because new defensive coordinator George Edwards plans to allow Bailey to match up with the opponent's top wide receiver regularly this season. Last season, then-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis mostly had Bailey stick to a prescribed side of the field and go against whichever receiver lined up across from him.

Spurrier: 'Quarterbacks Looked Lost'

Coach Steve Spurrier was unhappy with the play of quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey, Rob Johnson and Danny Wuerffel during yesterday's practice.

"I thought it was one of the worst [practices of camp] for our offensive guys," Spurrier said. "The defense got the best of us in the pass drills and there was nobody rushing. Our quarterbacks looked lost several times. We've got to do a better job coaching our quarterbacks. They're running around, getting hung up. We don't have a chance if we do that in the games."

All three quarterbacks are slated to play in Saturday's exhibition opener at Carolina.

Defensive Tackle Search Continues

The New Orleans Saints don't intend to trade defensive tackle Grady Jackson, according to NFL sources. That would eliminate one of the Redskins' possible replacements for Dan Wilkinson, who was released last week after refusing to take a pay cut. The Redskins remain hopeful that the Chicago Bears will let go of one of their tackles, Keith Traylor or Ted Washington, before the regular season.

Redskins officials have said they would part with a draft pick in a trade if the right defensive tackle is available. If they opt to try to trade a player, tailbacks Kenny Watson or Ladell Betts could be expendable if Spurrier sticks to his pledge of having only three tailbacks (including current starter Trung Canidate and kick returner Chad Morton) on his season-opening roster.

The Redskins have not ruled out re-signing Wilkinson, although that appears to be a long shot even as he receives contract offers from other teams worth less than $1 million for this season. The Redskins could sign free agent James Cannida, who worked out for club officials last weekend. First, they plan to evaluate the play of the tackles on their roster in the Carolina game.

"I think we need to go play a preseason game before we can figure out if we're pretty good or average or below average," Spurrier said. "Let's go play Saturday night, and then we'll talk about it."

Barker, Bartholomew Both Will Punt

Bryan Barker and Brent Bartholomew will share the punting duties Saturday, Spurrier said. . . . Watson has resumed practicing but his status for the Panthers game remained unclear because of a sprained knee. Betts remains sidelined by a sprained elbow . . . Veteran guard Tre Johnson said it still is unclear when he will return from a sore Achilles' tendon and a pulled hamstring, but he remains intent upon playing this season and beyond. "I know I can play a few more years," Johnson said.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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Originally posted by scskinsfan (from Spurrier)

...We've got to do a better job coaching our quarterbacks. They're running around, getting hung up. We don't have a chance if we do that in the games."

It's only TC and not a lot needs to be read into it, but I get disturbed reading that BCS says he needs to coach the quarterbacks better. Last season him saying that was always tied to a truly poor performance.

I don't know what to expect of the QB play in this coming preseason game, but I'm sure I will misjudge the results with the same clarity as I did last year.

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the Colts had some problems on defense again in 2002, even though Dungy is improving what was before his arrival the worst defense in the AFC.

in that regard I am curious as to why Dungy would release a DT with 'promise' as they are still a bit thin on the line.

I would be against making a trade for a DT unless you are talking about a #4 pick or later.

Traylor, 34, and some of the other names out there would seem to be waiver pickups later in the summer as they are probably in their last years.

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Think of it this way.

When you're playing D in camp....you're reacting to the ball. When you're playing O, you're working on timing and speed. Its harder to get down. Our D should be better at this point. They were better all last year. Look at our LB's and CB's. If the O was running all over then, I'd be worried.

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I am almost giddy with the acquisition of Coles from a fan perspective. After years of disappointment with Michael Westbrook to have a receiver of this caliber is exciting. Add to that a quarterback who may be the first star we have had in more than a decade and we may just have what it takes to start winning the division again. Great defenses have given us average seasons. With a top level line, blinding speed at all skill positions and a QB with a rocket arm we have the pieces. AND we have a coach who can make this all work. If this ever comes together, we are going to be a fearsome team.

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