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Zorn: Horton to start

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2009

Much will be made between now and the Washington Redskins' season opener about the competition between Chris Horton and Reed Doughty at strong safety.

But the job isn't open. Horton is the starter, and Doughty will play a role on defense.

"It's not the kind of battle that right tackle will be," coach Jim Zorn said after the Redskins wrapped up organized team activities Thursday.

Doughty, who started Week 1 last year before his season was cut short by a neck injury, used minicamp and OTAs to gauge his physical readiness.

"This was a time for me to get better and shake the rust off," he said. "That's Chris' spot right now, and I'm going to compete, but he's playing well. I really want to be a force on special teams and make an impact when I'm in there on defense."

Said Zorn: "Reed is looking very sharp. They say in the weight room he's stronger and more flexible. I fully expect him to be in full gear and go hard this summer."

The only starting positions realistically open in training camp are right tackle and kicker.

Stephon Heyer enters summer vacation as the right tackle ahead of Jeremy Bridges and Mike Williams.

"I definitely think [the position has] improved because Stephon had great OTAs," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "The biggest part for the O-line is communicating guy-to-guy, and that comes with continuity. Stephon had a chance to build that."

At kicker, incumbent Shaun Suisham will be challenged by Dave Raymer. Zorn said a plan hasn't been finalized but that the Redskins could designate one kicker for each game instead of flip-flopping during the same game.

Two picks signed

The team signed fifth-round pick Cody Glenn and seventh-round pick Eddie Williams, the Redskins' first 2009 picks to come to terms. According to a league source, both deals are four-year contracts.

Glenn, a linebacker from Nebraska, made 51 tackles last year. He played only one season at linebacker for the Cornhuskers.

Williams, whom the Redskins plan to use as a fullback/H-back, caught 100 passes during his Idaho career as a tight end. He missed all the offseason activities with a knee injury.

OTAs a success

After five minicamp practices and 11 OTAs, Zorn proclaimed the program a success. The Redskins are off the field until July 30.

"We've actually put in a lot of things, and we threw a lot of things at our players we couldn't last year," he said. "When they come back for training camp, they'll already have a good feel for the terminology and vocabulary and some of the little things we're trying to get them to do."

"I'm optimistic. They're a great group of guys, and they want to do well."

Before the team left the field, Zorn addressed them for several minutes.

"One of the things I did was help them with ideas, especially reuniting with their family, maybe thanking their parents for how far they've come," he said. "The other thing I talked about is being careful. The decision-making between now and the start of training camp is tough because they're spread out."

Kelly confident

Receiver Malcolm Kelly experienced no problems with his knee the past two weeks and will enter training camp with confidence.

"It felt good," he said. "It didn't swell, and it's not even aching. I knew when I left my feet for the first time I was somewhat close to where I needed to be."

Zorn said the practice schedule should allow Kelly to be available full time.

"Early in training camp will be the most difficult, and if he gets sore I'll give him a break," Zorn said. "There's going to be some recovery time, and we'll have a difficult practice and then a lesser practice in the afternoon. I'm going to look at that really closely."

Injury updates

Williams missed his second straight day of work with a pulled quadriceps muscle. Zorn said he expects Williams to be 100 percent for training camp.

Zorn met with receiver James Thrash before practice. Thrash missed all the offseason work with a neck injury.

"He's got a situation that's not improving," Zorn said. "We have a little time, but certain decisions will have to be made."