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Morton, Armstead tussle in practice

By Mark Zuckerman


Jessie Armstead called it "laying down the law." Chad Morton referred to it as "just having a little fun."

Whatever the terminology, there was no disputing yesterday's practice session at Redskin Park, which included a brief fight between Armstead and Morton, was easily the most intense of training camp.

Instructed by coaches before they took the field to turn things up a notch following Saturday night's lackluster showing in Carolina, the Redskins came out hitting, and hard.

The frustration reached its boiling point during 7-on-7 passing drills, when Armstead hit Morton on a dump pass over the middle. Morton, the 5-foot-8 scatback, bounced up to his feet, looked at the 6-1 Armstead for a moment and then shoved him in the chest.

That set off a full-scale skirmish, with players from both sides of the ball converging into a mass pileup. LaVar Arrington and Rod Gardner briefly got into a side scuffle with each other, but order was restored.

"We were just competing out there, just having a little fun," Morton said. "You have to mix it up every once in a while just to break the monotony."

Armstead wasn't quite as jovial afterward, insisting some of Washington's offensive players needed to take some hits in practice.

"We need to run to the ball and wrap up and not give offensive guys false impressions," the 11-year veteran linebacker said. "Do they feel like guys in games are going to barely hit them? No, guys will knock you out when it's game time.

"You don't want to beat down your teammates, because we need each other to play on Sunday. But this is training camp. Training camp is where you kind of lay down the law on both sides and get some toughness into your team."

The fight brought both cheers and jeers from the fans in attendance. No one was happy, however, a few moments later when linebacker Jeremiah Trotter drove running back Sultan McCullough shoulder first into the ground.

"That was something that shouldn't have happened and hopefully will not again," coach Steve Spurrier said of the whole sequence of events. "But it's history now. We don't encourage that at all."

Given the way his teammates have played through the first two weeks of camp, Armstead felt it was time to make a statement.

"We've got to be a tougher team," he said. "We've got a lot of people around here. It's time to shut up or put up. We've got [what is] considered the best offensive line in the league, as far as talent-wise, money-wise. We've got guys who are well-paid on the defensive side of the ball. We have no excuses. We have the things that we need to have in place. Now it's up to the players to create toughness, to make plays."

RB picture still muddled

Camp entered its third week, but the Redskins appear to be no closer to sorting out their running back situation.

Trung Canidate started Saturday's game but ran the ball just three times for 4 yards. Backup Kenny Watson picked up only 3 yards on his three carries.

Ladell Betts, the other back competing for the starting job, dressed in full pads for the first time yesterday since spraining his elbow the second day of camp. But Betts still is not taking hits and is not expected to until at least mid-week.

Watson, meanwhile, sat out yesterday's session because his sprained knee was acting up again. He is expected back today.

Extra points

Starting center Larry Moore sprained his left knee during practice and was carted off the field. Moore is scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning and will not practice. ...

Starting left guard Dave Fiore was held out of yesterday's practice with a bruised shoulder but is expected to return today. ...

Kicker John Hall, who missed Saturday's game with a strained groin, did some light kicking and will practice today. ...

Washington released defensive lineman Jace Sayler to make room for newly signed tackle James Cannida.

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