- Calif. tourist community evacuated over suspected explosive device
- Obama to use executive seat to push private companies onto solar
- ‘X-Men’ director Bryan Singer accused of sexually abusing a boy
- Tennessee ammunition site explodes, killing 1
- U.N.: Iran cuts stock closest to nuke-arms grade
- Oklahoma gay-marriage case before U.S. appeals court
- Times wins two awards from Society for Professional Journalists
- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
Thom Loverro: Receiving some help to justify a gamble
Vinny Cerrato’s top three picks all saw playing time in the Washington Redskins’ victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, perhaps providing a sign his gamble in the draft will pay off.
Wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly and tight end Fred Davis got into the game, and though they had just two catches among them - 6-yard receptions by Kelly and Davis - it is the first evidence since training camp that coach Jim Zorn is feeling a little better about his new toys.
“You can see how many guys can actually catch a ball in this particular offense,” Zorn said.
Davis, of course, got off to an ignominious start when he overslept and missed a minicamp workout in May. And both Kelly and Thomas wound up in Zorn’s doghouse during training camp for their lack of conditioning and preparation; both were slowed by injuries. Sunday was the first time this season all three were on the field; Davis and Thomas were inactive for the opening game against New York.
Not a great start for the first three players taken in a draft the Redskins counted on to restock and reshuffle their roster - perhaps for the first time since Dan Snyder bought the team.
The success or failure of those three young receivers is a referendum on Cerrato’s personnel era now that he is perceived as the guy in charge of putting together the roster - though that perception always has to be seen through burgundy-tinted glasses.
Given the weak offensive performances and the pressure quarterback Jason Campbell was getting before Sunday, using the top three picks on receivers while passing up offensive line depth seemed foolhardy.
That still may prove to be the case. But if this veteran offensive line can find a way protect Campbell on most days like it did against the Saints, then Zorn’s West Coast offense could prove to be quite a show - if the three pass-catchers can contribute.
“It has a tremendous impact,” Zorn said. “Then you can start plugging those receivers in. It really creates a problem for a defensive coordinator when he is trying to get a matchup and you have a similar ability guy in the same position. That defense does not know what is coming if you can move guys around and play more of your group.”
There was progress toward contribution Sunday.
“They are trying hard in practice,” Zorn said Monday during his press conference at Redskin Park. “They are not up to speed yet. Fred Davis is probably further along than both the young wide receivers because of the wide receivers being in and out so much. It is so critical to them where they align, how deep they go, getting in and out of routes.
“I thought Devin Thomas got open deep a couple of times,” Zorn said. “We were looking for Santana [Moss], and we should. But the routes down the field, deeper routes, he is running very well. It is the short, control routes that we have to help him improve. Some of that is just repetition, understanding what disciplined route running is. He will continue to get better.”
The Redskins likely will feature Thomas and Davis more. But Kelly is hurt again with a sprained ankle.
“Malcolm Kelly is not quite ready,” Zorn said. “Now he sprained his ankle, and he had to get himself out of there sooner because he didn’t help us after he got injured. He still tried to go, but we needed to get him out sooner.”
The group still needs to prove to Zorn it can handle the responsibilities of being part of this offense.
About the Author
- LOVERRO: Capitals' major challenge is finding someone who can win with Alex Ovechkin
- LOVERRO: Bo Belinsky, Sonny Liston share a cemetery - one found peace, the other didn't
- LOVERRO: Injured hand didn't keep Scott Christopher from a life of baseball and art
- LOVERRO: It's time for the Wizards to be bold and go get John Calipari
- LOVERRO: Gary Williams earned Hall of Fame through sweat equity
Latest Blog Entries
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- FISHER: Shades of Berlin in the South China Sea
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- DEAN: Team Obama: President Putin's pawns
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.