Some notes, quotes and observations from Wednesday at Redskins Park:
Coach Mike Shanahan spoke for 11 minutes about TE Fred Davis’ and LT Trent Williams’ suspension. Read the highlights: here.
He was realistic about Davis’ chances of re-signing with the team. The Redskins like his athleticism – who wouldn’t? – but they’ll take into account the fact that one more positive test would result in a yearlong suspension.
“…Any contract that anybody would sign somebody to, knowing that with one failed test that they could be gone just like that, they’re going to protect themselves in the contract and it will be based on performance and based on going down the straight and narrow,” he said.
Players seemed to appreciate that Davis and Williams apologized to the team during the morning meeting.
“Just real quick they both got up and just expressed their remorse and just [were] apologetic for what they did,” QB Rex Grossman said. “It was extremely genuine. You could tell that they’re both not exactly in the best mood right now. As a team, it was nice to hear.”
“They want us to kind of understand, but at the same time, it’s difficult,” co-captain DeAngelo Hall said. “It’s difficult not having those guys out there for the wrong reason. It’s not like something happened … with an injury or something, something that you couldn’t control. This was something that they could control.”
SS LaRon Landry (groin) and P Sav Rocca (left ankle) missed Wednesday’s practice, which was held indoors because of inclement weather.
Newly-promoted NT Chris Baker also missed practice after injuring a quad muscle during stretching. NT Chris Neild missed practice for personal reasons.
CB DeAngelo Hall (back), DE Stephen Bowen (knee), WR Terrence Austin (hamstring), RT Jammal Brown (hip), ILB London Fletcher (ankle), S DeJon Gomes (right knee) and LG Maurice Hurt (knee) were limited.
FB Darrel Young (concussion) fully participated, as did QB Rex Grossman (left shoulder).
In addition to promoting Baker, the Redskins re-signed TE Dominique Byrd. He was on the team for the Buffalo and San Francisco losses earlier this season before being waived on Nov. 8. Coach Mike Shanahan likes his athleticism.
The Redskins also signed OT Cole Pemberton to the practice squad.
Speaking of tackles, Shanahan said Sean Locklear and Willie Smith are competing to replace Trent Williams at left tackle. Tyler Polumbus is practicing at left guard and right tackle.
New England coach Bill Belichick is one of coach Mike Shanahan’s longtime friends. As you’d expect, each head coach expressed great admiration for the other with Sunday’s matchup looming.
“I’ve always had tremendous respect for Mike and what he’s done on the offensive side of the ball as a coordinator and his accomplishments as a head coach,” Belichick said during a conference call with Washington media. “I always felt like his teams were amongst the hardest to prepare for and to handle their game plans. He does a great job of that as I can see with the Redskins now. This is a hard team to get ready for [with] the schemes they have on offense and defense and in the kicking game.”
Shanahan’s turn: “We know what type of people that we try to get on our football team, what’s your makeup going to be, and so I’ve watched him through the years. I know that he’s watched me. It’s been fun to talk about over a couple beers or dinner, something like that.
“He knows football. He knows offense, defense, special teams. He lives it. He breathes it. It’s what makes him tick. I think anybody who is as passionate about something as he is and is as intelligent, they’re going to be good. He enjoys what he is doing.”
I must say, Belichick’s knowledge of the Redskins was quite impressive. He casually dropped references to such household names as WR David Anderson and OLB Rob Jackson during the teleconference. That’s way more attention to detail than we usually hear from opposing coaches.
Belichick’s politically correct answer on the Patriots’ failed Albert Haynesworth experiment: “Speaking for myself and the organization, I think everybody really tried to work hard to make that work. I think Albert tried hard. I didn’t really have any criticisms of him or what he tried to do. I just think in the end, it just didn’t work out. And so we felt like at that point in time, a few weeks ago, it was just best to move on. I thought he tried hard to do what we asked him to do, but in the end, it just wasn’t a good fit for both of us.”
Shanahan said he didn’t talk about Haynesworth with Belichick until after the trade. Maybe that’s why the trade went through.
“I would have probably done the same thing,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got a chance to get a good price on a guy with that type of ability. You bring him in, see if you can get him changed in the way you run a defense. You run your organization and you’re hoping that he fits in. You got him at a perfect price, and you know that if he didn’t play good for you, the chances are he’s out of the league. So I thought it was a smart move for him. It just didn’t work out.”
Former Redskins DE Andre Carter is excelling in New England’s 4-3 scheme after failing to fit in the Redskins’ 3-4. Now that he’s back in a defense that requires him to go forward from a down stance and not drop in coverage, he leads the Patriots with 9.0 sacks. We spoke to the former Redskins Media Good Guy Award winner via teleconference.
“I’m just my own worst critic,” Carter said. “Every game I analyze and look at what I can do to get better, what techniques and fundamentals can I do to improve my game. That’s just how I look at it. I take it one game at a time and just play hard. If things flow with you, great. If not, you just go back to the drawing board.”
Second-year FB Darrel Young was bummed that a concussion kept him out of last Sunday’s game against the Jets, but he was glad to see veteran Mike Sellers get some significant playing time on offense.
“Every time he got in,” Young said, “I stood up.”
Young took over for Sellers as the starting fullback this season. Sellers internalized his disappointment and has devoted himself to mentoring Young. When Young caught a pass and bulldozed a defender near the Redskins’ bench two games ago against Seattle, Sellers ran to the spot on the sideline where the play ended and celebrated Young’s hit with him.
“I don’t look at it like I took his job,” Young said. “I look at it like he groomed me.
Sellers didn’t handle the ball against New York, but he was pleased with how he blocked.
“I do what I can when I can,” he said. “I’m in no control of how much field time I get, so when I get in there I do the best I can and hopefully they see it.”