- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2009

Anthony Alridge can blaze 40 yards in less than 4.3 seconds. Dominique Dorsey was the Canadian Football League’s top special teams player the past two seasons.

So even though Alridge is just 5-foot-9 and Dorsey is two inches shorter, both earned contracts with the Washington Redskins in February. But earning a spot on the 53-man regular-season roster is a much tougher challenge, especially at running back. Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright have been the quartet five years running.

“It’s tough breaking into that group. … [Those are] guys who have been there for a while and can still play the game,” running backs coach Stump Mitchell said.

Marcus Mason can attest to that. He led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and rushing last preseason but still was cut by the Redskins. And neither Dorsey, 26, nor Alridge, 25, is off to anywhere close to that kind of performance.

Dorsey had one incomplete pass thrown his way, returned a kickoff 21 yards and bobbled a punt for no gain - not helping his chances of supplanting the underwhelming Antwaan Randle El for that job - in last Thursday’s 23-0 loss at Baltimore.

“My main goal is to gather all the information that’s been given to me, play hard and play fast,” Dorsey said. “I think I’ve been doing that. When the Redskins called, I looked at who they had at running back and on returns to see if I would have a fair shot. I think I do.”

Alridge, who didn’t help his chances by losing several fumbles during the first nine days of camp, hasn’t been on the field since spraining a toe in the Aug. 8 intrasquad scrimmage. He won’t return until after Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh.

“It’s definitely been a long time,” said Alridge, who spent last season on injured reserve in Denver. “You be so anxious to get out there and show people what you can do. I never got injured until I came to the NFL, but I’m tough. I can play right now if they’d let me.”

Camp concludes

Although the regular season doesn’t kick off until Sept. 13, the Redskins’ second training camp under coach Jim Zorn ended Thursday afternoon. They’ll practice just once a day going forward, as they do during the regular season.

“We accomplished a lot more than we did or could have last year because everything was such a startup,” said Zorn, noting that there weren’t any major injuries. “This year, the core of everything has been the same. The players kinda knew what to expect.”

As did the 11 rookies who were tied up and had cold water dumped on them after the afternoon practice. Only quarterback Chase Daniel and tight end Robbie Agnone escaped hazing this week.

Cooley, Daniels return

Tight end Chris Cooley (back spasms) and defensive end Phillip Daniels (fluid drained from his left knee) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday.

“My knee was great,” Daniels said. “I felt like I never had surgery after I got the fluid out. It was one of those things we had to do so I could bend it better.”

Only offensive tackles Mike Williams (ankle) and Devin Clark (knee) joined Alridge in not practicing and likely won’t play against the Steelers. Zorn said the starters might play into the second quarter.

Practice highlight

The team portion of the morning practice began with defensive end Andre Carter tipping Jason Campbell’s pass into the hands of linebacker London Fletcher, who returned it for a touchdown.

Rookie receiver Marko Mitchell was the star, toasting fellow rookie Kevin Barnes on a deep route and showing great hands with a snag across the middle against cornerback Carlos Rogers.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide