Gorgeous day today, cool and clear, and practice was lively and high-tempo.
- Most importantly, especially to the folks who frantically emailed me: CHRIS COOLEY IS FINE. He had what called “a little soreness in my quad” at today’s morning practice, and thought that the best option was to rest it today. “It’s the first practice I’ve missed as a Redskin,” he said, visibly bummed out. Cooley was firm and confident that he won’t miss the game, and in fact won’t miss practice tomorrow.
- Devin Thomas looked both strong and enthusiastic today, making a number of impressive catches. “Over the weekend, I had my first NFL catch for the regular season, which was cool,” said Thomas, “but watching all my other rookies making a lot of plays out there, I’m getting geeked up and excited to hopefully make some myself.” Coach Zorn offered some sort of correction and encouragement after one long reception, and Thomas seemed to take whatever was said to heart. “I feel like he’s gaining confidence in my, and the quarterbacks are too. Now I’ve just gotta keep showing them that I’m making the right plays, running the right routes, and doing my assignments so they can trust that I’m going to be there. Because that’s what it’s all about: you’ve gotta have trust in your quarterback/receiver connection.”
- And the other rookie WR also returned to practice. Malcolm Kelly was participating fully, and he too impressed Coach Zorn. “Today was a great day for him,” Zorn said, adding that Kelly “did a nice job paying attention all this time he’s been down, because he did the right thing” in his plays today.
- And to complete the positive news on the second round draft picks, Zorn called today “the best day” for Fred Davis since training camp began.
- The liveliness of practice was literally audible. “THAT’S what football’s supposed to sound like,” shouted Fred Smoot after a particularly noisy collision between Chris Horton and Todd Yoder. “We played faster today,” Zorn said. “Guys were upbeat and worked hard.”
- The whole first team defense looks aggressive and fast, especially Andre Carter and Cornelius Griffin. The one-on-one pass rush/blocking drills looked good on both sides of the ball (although not, generally, on the same play). Chad Rinehart was singled out for some impressive work during his reps, which was good to see after a slightly rough finish to the preseason.
- Byron Westbrook seemed to enjoy emulating Reggie Bush for the scout team plays, and did so with solid effectiveness. “He’s a guy who likes to run around, wants to bounce it to the outside,” Wesbrook said. “I’m not saying Rock [Cartwright] can’t do that, but I’m probably a little bit quicker than Rock. I also see the film much more than Rock does, because he’s an offensive guy, so I can see the different things they want to do with [Bush].”