- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2003

Hot Rod

Wide receiver Rod Gardner sparkled in the afternoon practice, catching everything thrown his way in a goal-line drill.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget Gardner because so much attention is devoted to Washington’s new speed receivers: Laveranues Coles, Taylor Jacobs, Cliff Russell (who was injured as a rookie all last year) and Patrick Johnson. But Gardner brings an important dimension to the offense: the ability to fight off defenders and stretch his 6-foot-2 frame for balls.

He displayed those skills perfectly on a pass from Danny Wuerffel to the corner of the end zone. On several other tosses, he and Rob Johnson seemed to be developing chemistry.

Being a physical receiver might be emphasized more in other systems, but if yesterday’s drill is any indication, Gardner can make his edge work.

Sleepy time

The epitome of training camp might be the period of 20-25 minutes before the afternoon practice. That’s when players trickle out and begin warming up.

With days so long and the downtime between workouts, players need to get their blood flowing again. Some guys jog, others stretch, and a number work to get an edge.

Yesterday receiver Taylor Jacobs caught balls for Rob Johnson as Johnson played catch with Gibran Hamdan. Young lineman Pita Elisara practiced long-snapping to punter Brent Bartholomew. Centers Larry Moore and Wilbert Brown worked on shotgun snaps to each other (Brown needed the reps — he rocketed one over Johnson’s head the other day). And defensive end Renaldo Wynn was going through his responsibilities as a DT on various plays.

Who knows? Maybe those extra minutes will pay off this season.

Wacky weather

As if the last week wasn’t meteorologically unusual enough, yesterday’s conditions at camp were the strangest to date.

Despite the insistence of every local weatherman in town that we were in for massive thunderstorms all day, not one drop fell at Redskin Park during either practice session. In fact, the conditions at yesterday’s 4 p.m. workout were the worst yet — blazing sun, no breeze and a level of humidity usually reserved for, say, Ecuador.

The weather certainly seemed to take a toll on the players. Several seemed particularly winded by the end of practice, and the only things soaked at the end of this supposedly rainy day were the players’ undershirts.

Jody Foldesy and Mark Zuckerman

OVERHEARD

“I don’t know if anyone saw ‘Seabiscuit,’ but he doesn’t run without competition. That’s how players are. If there’s no competition, it’s not good, and people aren’t going to get better.”

— Rob Johnson on competing with Danny Wuerffel for the backup quarterback job.

“I’m certainly not War Admiral. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.”

— Danny Wuerffel, responding to Rob Johnson’s analogy.

BY THE NUMBERS

1

Redskins victories engineered by quarterback Danny Wuerffel last season.

1

Number of practices running back Ladell Betts has participated in through the first eight days of camp.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Full-squad practices scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 5:45 p.m. Gates at Redskin Park open at 8 a.m. Go to www.redskins.com or call 703/726-7411 for directions and daily updates.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Scattered thunderstorms. High: 83 degrees. Chance of rain: 40 percent.

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