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Wynn & Coleman's profesionalism plus Smoot on picking off Ramsey (Wash Times)

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Wynn, Coleman put focus on jobs

By Jody Foldesy


As far as Renaldo Wynn is concerned, he's a Washington Redskins defensive tackle these days and nothing else.

Wynn's position is expected to change as training camp draws near and the status of end Marco Coleman is resolved. The most likely scenario has Wynn, a versatile free agent signed in the offseason, taking the spot at left end currently held by Coleman, who probably will be cut for salary cap reasons.

But in a nice show of professionalism during the weekend's minicamp, Wynn and Coleman could be seen discussing techniques and tactics while lining up next to each other on first string. Less mature players might have been icy toward each other, but Wynn enjoys working with Coleman and isn't thinking about pushing him aside.

"I'm focusing on playing D-tackle, enjoying the season," Wynn said yesterday. "Hopefully we will be able to keep Marco. He's a great player. The more [talented players we have], the better.

"[Competition] comes with the territory. It's a business. We all know that. You could be here one day and gone tomorrow. You can't worry about tomorrow. You've got to live for today and [focus on] what you can control."

Coleman is just one season removed from a trip to the Pro Bowl, but he is 32 and coming off a year in which he battled a dislocated elbow. Wynn has not reached the Pro Bowl, but he is only 27 and a talented run-stopper who boosted his pass rush in recent seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Redskins could save $3.5million by releasing Coleman after June1, a move that might be necessary to sign their 10 draft picks. He might be able to stay by accepting a reduced salary, but a typical restructuring, in which the player takes most of his base salary as signing bonus for accounting purposes, won't be enough.

Fortunately for the Redskins, Coleman and Wynn aren't concerning themselves with cap accounting or post-June1 scenarios. They're leaving that to the media and instead trying to learn each other's strengths and weaknesses.

"You've got to know the guy next to you," Wynn said. "It's just like the O-line. They've got to know each other's tendencies. I've got to know what's Marco's best move. Is it coming from the outside in or inside out? We just want to be on the same page."

Rookies impress

Several Redskins draft picks performed well in minicamp while working in relative obscurity compared to first-round quarterback Patrick Ramsey.

On offense, second-round running back Ladell Betts and third-round wide receiver Cliff Russell made some nice plays, while third-round cornerback Rashad Bauman and fifth-round safety Andre Lott performed well as second-stringers on defense.

"I'm very impressed with Ladell Betts and Cliff Russell," coach Steve Spurrier said. "I think Cliff is one of the fastest guys on our team right now, and he's got good hands. Once he gets accustomed to what we're doing, he's got a chance to be a really big-time player. I think [betts and Russell have] got a chance [to contribute as rookies]. Wide receivers and running backs usually can play early."

Said defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis: "The guys we drafted in the secondary, they played for big schools, big conferences, played national competition all the time. Rashad [from Oregon], Andre [from Tennessee], they did a nice job in the secondary."

Likely scenarios have Betts as Stephen Davis' backup this year, Russell as an occasionally used reserve receiver, Bauman as the fourth cornerback and Lott as a reserve if he does not win a starting job right away.

Extra points

Cornerback Fred Smoot thinks he did Ramsey a favor Saturday when he picked off the rookie passer's third throw in team drills.

"I'm not going to take it easy on a rookie," Smoot said. "If me and [cornerback] Champ [bailey] don't pick him off, then he's going to get in a game and get picked off then. We're going to school him up until the season comes."

Most players enjoyed having yesterday's practice canceled by the rain, though they seemed to have an even better time joking about the missed work.

"We really needed this practice," linebacker LaVar Arrington deadpanned. "I don't know how we're going to recover from this. People cried. I saw a couple of tears. I saw a few [guys] giving each other hugs."

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The biggest advantage our offense will have this season is that it will practice against that defense and we'll know how it will do passing on a daily basis when it has to go up against Smoot and Bailey and company. Wynn approximates the loss of Lang along the defensive line. It would be nice to get a competent starter at the defensive tackle spot though so that we can really increase our depth and ability along the line.

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