- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2001

Defensive end Bruce Smith and coach Marty Schottenheimer spent some quality time together after yesterday's practice, sitting on the field talking one-on-one for about 20 minutes.

Neither would reveal what was said, but the fact that the discussion took place might be a positive sign that there is no or less hostility between them.

Schottenheimer, the first-year coach, has remarked during training camp that Smith, a 17-year veteran and future Hall of Fame selection, "likes to grumble" at times. But Schottenheimer is quick to add that Smith is a hard worker.

Of the talk, Schottenheimer would only say, "He came up to me to ask about the schedule, and I took the opportunity to sit down and chat with him about a number of things."

Smith is out for two to six weeks following the most recent round of tests on his bruised shoulder, according to the estimate he gave Tuesday. He was injured last week when guard Mookie Moore rammed his helmet into Smith's shoulder on a play in practice.

Asked about Smith's estimate, Schottenheimer replied a bit sarcastically, "Two to six weeks? That's a pretty good range. It'll probably be two to six weeks. It's probably a lot closer to two weeks."

Smith has said he wants to return for the final preseason game Aug. 30 at New England but added that he won't be worried if he has to play in the Sept. 9 opener with no preseason appearances.

Our house

Redskins players want to announce FedEx Field as their home turf after going just 4-4 there last season, with losses to Dallas, Tennessee, Philadelphia and the New York Giants. Cowboys players, for example, could be seen in highlight tapes proclaiming, "This is our house," during their 27-21 victory.

"We need to reestablish an attitude, an identity at home," defensive end Marco Coleman said on the eve of tonight's preseason home opener. "That was something that was missing last year. Dallas came and said something about it 'being our home.' Tennessee came. New York came. Several teams came in here and stomped all over our carpet."

Whoooosh!

How fast is Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, the top overall selection in April's draft? It is said that he runs the 40-yard dash in an unprecedented 4.2 seconds. Redskins linebacker Kevin Mitchell acknowledged that Vick is faster than every Washington player, though Mitchell thought cornerback Darrell Green might give him a race.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer compared Vick to former Denver Broncos star John Elway and said, "Any quarterback who can move like that brings a totally different dimension to the game, because he's the one guy in the running game you don't account for. And if in fact you need to put a guy on him, it limits what you can do in coverage and what you can do in the rush."

Dog days

The third week of camp traditionally is the toughest. This year, despite the three-day work week, the grind of twice-daily practices since July 30 left many players with little bounce in their legs. But knowing that camp ends next Thursday should create some rejuvenation.

It was a sloppy and lethargic week, and backup quarterback Todd Husak joining starter Jeff George on the injured list didn't help. Third-stringer Sage Rosenfels and fourth-stringer Mike Watkins clearly struggled, leaving receivers short of their workout goals.

Quick hits

• Next practice: Sunday, 3:45 p.m.

• Injuries: Quarterback Jeff George (shoulder), defensive end Bruce Smith (shoulder) and guard Ben Coleman (knee) are out tonight against the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Todd Husak (rib) is probable.


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