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First practice is done

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Here’s a quick update on the first practice of training camp.

* Unlike 2008, when defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee went down with season-ending injuries on the first day, all 79 players on hand made it through the opening session unscathed. That included Daniels and Buzbee.

* With top draft choice Brian Orakpo the only absent player, still unsigned, Alfred Fincher was a surprising member of the starting defense. H.B. Blades, who started five games last season at strong side linebacker, has been switched to the middle behind London Fletcher.

* While Mother Nature cranked up the heat and humidity just in time for camp after an unusually comfortable July, coach Jim Zorn is giving his players a break by easing them into drills. The Redskins won’t don full pads until Saturday morning, the first practice of August.

* Unlike 2008 when second-rounders Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly each flunked the pre-camp conditioning test, no one failed this year. However, Zorn said he passed some near-misses whom he wouldn’t name.

* Diva running back Clinton Portis and Zorn agreed that while there were some rocky moments in their first year together in 2008, they’re on the proverbial same page in 2009. Portis praised the coach for pulling back on the throttle by allowing the veterans to stay in their homes during camp.

* DeAngelo Hall looked like the Pro Bowl cornerback he is, strutting to the end zone with an interception of Jason Campbell.

* But Hall didn’t look nearly as good being beaten on a long touchdown catch by Kelly.

* The line of the morning came from special teams coach Danny Smith. Watching a flock of geese fly overhead, Smith noted the two stragglers and cracked, “They’re not making the 53.”

* When Rob Jackson and Renaldo Wynn are blowing into the backfield with ease, you know the defense is ahead of the offense, particularly when the second units were going head to head.

* One fan held a sign “DC Wants Vick” sign, which quarterback Jason Campbell playfully noted in his post-practice press conference.

- David Elfin

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About the Author
David Elfin

David Elfin

David Elfin has been following Washington-area sports teams since the late 1960s. David began his journalism career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., history) and Syracuse University (M.S., telecommunications). He wrote for the Bulletin (Philadelphia), the Post-Standard (Syracuse) and The Washington Post before coming to The Washington Times in 1986. He has covered colleges, the Orioles ...

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