Training camp for the Washington Redskins began last Wednesday with one exception. While his new teammates were enjoying the last week of vacation, rookie defensive end Jeremy Jarmon started his game of catch-up.
Selected July 16 in the supplemental draft, Jarmon was several months behind his fellow newcomers in learning the system. So even though he remained unsigned, he hunkered down with defensive line coach John Palermo for a crash course in Redskins Defense 101.
"I benefited a lot from sitting down with Coach Palermo and looking at how they did the basic drills so when I got out there, I wouldn't be making mistakes," Jarmon said. "When we started, in my mind, I had already done those things."
Jarmon has slid into the rotation at right defensive end, working with the second- and third-team defenses. During one play Tuesday, he quickly fought through a double team to deflect Colt Brennan's screen pass.
It has been a whirlwind month for Jarmon, who entered the supplemental draft after he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for his senior season following a failed drug test he blamed on an over-the-counter product. He recovered from the sting of having his career at Kentucky end to impress the Redskins during a workout in early July. The team forfeited its 2010 third-round pick to take Jarmon in the supplemental draft.
"I don't know how he's doing it," safety Chris Horton said. "I definitely see him upstairs [at Redskin Park] when everybody else is on break and he has his playbook open. He's doing things well out there, and if he continues to work he'll be good for us."
Said Jarmon: "Every now and then, I have a little mental faux pas and I'll ask one of the guys, but I haven't had to use too many lifelines."
Jarmon has leaned on veteran ends Andre Carter, Phillip Daniels and Renaldo Wynn for help with the scheme and learns by observing the trio.
"It's awesome watching those guys do what they do," Jarmon said. "They're hardworking and they've earned what I'm working for - the respect and a long career."
• Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (left knee) was in full pads after watching Monday, and coach Jim Zorn said he's "fine."
• It was a tough practice for the offensive line. Right tackles Stephon Heyer (left knee) and Mike Williams (abdominal strain) and center Casey Rabach (left calf) were unable to finish practice. Heyer underwent an MRI, the results of which were unknown. Williams' timetable for a return is unknown, and Rabach is expected to practice Wednesday. The Redskins may sign an offensive linemen after they created a roster spot by releasing defensive tackle Vaka Manupuna.
• Sitting out were right guard Randy Thomas (right knee), cornerback Carlos Rogers (left calf), receiver Roydell Williams (broken finger) and defensive linemen Anthony Montgomery (knee) and J.D. Skolnitsky (hamstring).
The Redskins practiced for nearly two hours, and the hitting picked up in the final hour.
"It was a very physical practice and this was the first day we had a chance to work on goal line and short yardage, and it's always a challenge because there are tighter splits and guys are coming off the ball," Zorn said.
Thomas' absence allowed second-year player Chad Rinehart to take the bulk of reps with the first team.
Rinehart, a third-round pick in 2008, didn't play a single offensive snap as a rookie but may play a role if he has a good preseason and Thomas breaks down.
"Absolutely, I have to look at it like it's the regular season," Rinehart said. "The only game film I have from last year is preseason, so I have to prove that last year isn't what I look like this year and that I've gotten a lot better."
Rookie Brian Orakpo has been with the starting defense since he arrived for the second day of training camp. Now that he's into the flow of camp, two things are apparent: He has won his share of one-on-one matchups with left tackle Chris Samuels, and he's not as stiff as expected in coverage.
"It's not bad at all - it's basically 50-50 with lining up at defensive end and linebacker," Orakpo said of the transition to strongside linebacker. "I just have to know what I'm doing out there - the different reads and the different formations the offense is giving you."
Quarterback Jason Campbell is on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated, the first time since 2001 a Redskins player is out front. Campbell was on the cover of a special Auburn season-in-review issue in 2004.
Before this week, the last time was Dec. 3, 2001, when Chris Samuels and Stephen Davis were featured.