Ryan Boschetti lounged in an ice bath after Wednesday morning's practice. After four years of going full bore, the Washington Redskins' reserve defensive lineman has earned the right to chill.
Four Augusts ago, Boschetti was a fresh-faced long shot in training camp as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA. Nineteen games, two starts and 15 career tackles later, Boschetti has had a longer shelf life than all but seven Redskins.
"Every day I come out here I am just really excited about playing football," Boschetti said. "I just feel like we talk about being accountable around here, and I feel like I am a guy the coaches can trust. I feel like I am a guy that they know will come out and work hard every day."
The 311-pound Californian has carved out a niche for himself during his time in Washington, playing in all spots along the defensive line and serving in various capacities on special teams.
Boschetti played his way onto the practice squad in training camp in 2004, ascended to the 53-man roster early in the season and started at defensive tackle in a December game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
He continued to rise the following season, appearing in 13 games as a reserve, starting another late-season contest and notching seven tackles. Boschetti spent most of the 2006 and 2007 seasons on the practice squad but has proved valuable in a preseason rife with injuries along the defensive line.
"It doesn't matter if he's on the practice team giving us a look or if he's on special teams or if he's on the field on defense," defensive line coach John Palermo said. "Basically he plays hard until he runs out of gas."
Boschetti threw a crucial kick-out block that sprang Ladell Betts for a 94-yard return for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005. His biggest contribution on special teams, however, may have come during the opening week of two-a-days this season, when he fielded a punt cleanly after practice and earned the team an extra hour's reprieve from curfew that night. The stunt also gave his family in San Mateo, Calif., a chance to see him hard at work.
"I am like 600 miles away from home, and my mom, my dad, my family, don't always get to see Redskins TV," Boschetti said. "For them to be able to go on the Internet and see that I am out here working, that was nice for them to be able to see that."
From catching punts to throwing blocks, from 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls in preseason to late-December NFC East showdowns, Boschetti is all about his job.
"I love the game, I have a passion for football, I learn something new every day - I have for the last five years," Boschetti said. "I don't want it to end - I just love playing."
Blache hard to please
Rookie safety Chris Horton and cornerback Matterral Richardson may have gained acclaim with their highlight-reel play Sunday, but defensive coordinator Greg Blache didn't applaud his defense's overall performance late in the 30-16 win.
"Their backups just played a little bit worse than our backups," Blache said. "It's not like we did something real spectacular."
Blache said Horton's hits and Richardson's interception return for a touchdown masked a rash of rookie mistakes. He cited penalties and mental errors and said he was "really disappointed" when he reviewed the film following the game. He did, however, temper his tongue-lashing somewhat when the lights went down in the film room.
"I mean, there are some young minds in there that you don't want to ruin and scar for life," Blache, who gave his tirade a "PG-13" rating, said. "So I was not as candid as I could have been."
Horton is taking antibiotics to remedy the stomach virus that caused him to miss practice Wednesday, and he is expected to play against the Buffalo Bills. ...
Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin sat out morning practice with back spasms but did participate in part of the afternoon practice. His status remains in doubt for Saturday's game. ...
Shawn Springs was held out off afternoon practice to rest his strained Achilles. ...
Coach Jim Zorn said veteran defenders London Fletcher, Andre Carter and Jason Taylor will see about five snaps against the Bills.
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