Receivers coach Stan Hixon’s heart skipped a beat. Coach Jim Zorn had that “oh no, here we go again” feeling. A hush came over fans who had been cheering moments earlier. All of that occurred late in Thursday morning’s practice as receiver Devin Thomas, the Washington Redskins‘ top choice in the 2008 draft, lay crumpled after trying to catch a deep throw from quarterback Jason Campbell.
Thomas seemed in agony as he grabbed his leg and although he was driven to the training room after being helped to his feet, the diagnosis wasn’t quite so dire: a pulled right hamstring, out for at least two weeks. Compared with losing defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee for the season on the first day of practice, it wasn’t a big blow.
“Fortunately, it’s just a pulled muscle,” Zorn said. “There’s no structural damage. … We’ll see after two weeks how this thing looks. He may be ready in two weeks. It may be a few days later. We don’t know how he [heals] yet. This is his first pull. We’ll see how fast he can work himself back into full speed.”
Thomas said he doesn’t have experience with ailing hamstrings because the only injury that has kept him out for an extended period was a broken ankle.
“It just felt really like a cramp, a pretty bad spasm,” Thomas said. “It’s disappointing because I felt like I was getting comfortable. It’s just a little pull. I’ll get treatment, and I’ll be fine in a few days. They want [me] to take it easy right now … and make sure I’m feeling all right before I really get running again.”
Thomas was joined on the sidelines for the afternoon session by last year’s top pick, safety LaRon Landry, who in the morning aggravated the left hamstring he said he strained Wednesday, and reserve defensive end Chris Wilson, who strained his left calf during the morning. Zorn said neither is expected to miss much time.
Landry’s absence, combined with that of rookie Kareem Moore (knee), left only Reed Doughty, Stuart Schweigert, Vernon Fox and rookie Chris Horton at safety. Cornerback Shawn Springs is seeing some time at safety until Landry returns.
With Wilson out and Erasmus James yet to practice as he recovers from major knee surgery, the only healthy ends are starters Jason Taylor and Andre Carter, veteran backup Demetric Evans, journeyman Kevin Huntley and rookies Rob Jackson and J.T. Mapu.
Changing of the ends
As Daniels headed into Redskin Park on Thursday for the last time in a while, he encountered successor Jason Taylor. The two veteran defensive ends exchanged pleasantries and a hug before Taylor wished Daniels good luck with Friday’s surgery to repair a torn left ACL.
Daniels said James Andrews will perform the operation not at his usual Birmingham, Ala., home but in Pensacola, Fla., where he works on Fridays.
Smith got the call
Then Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn was in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl in January when he first learned the Redskins were interested in him becoming offensive coordinator. Zorn was having lunch with Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith when the latter’s cell phone rang with a call from Redskin Park. It seems that the powers-that-be wanted to know if Smith could locate his former Detroit Lions colleague. So Smith passed the phone to Zorn and in less than a month, his old pal was his new boss.
Zorn said fans will have to “watch quickly” during Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage as the Redskins will follow a 7-on-7 drill with a special teams session before the first-team offense faces the second-team defense and vice-versa with play starting on the offense’s 35-yard line. It will be full-contact although the quarterbacks can’t be tackled. Zorn figures each unit will get 20 to 30 plays.