- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2002

Streetball plays

Carlisle, Pa. Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey ran more than 60 yards on a reverse despite never seeing the play until the huddle. Coach Steve Spurrier told Bailey to line up outside and wait for running back Stephen Davis to hand him the ball.

Hey, Spurrier said, keep the offense simple, stupid.

"I said, 'Line up there as a wide receiver. We're going to flip it to Stephen, and he'll flip it to you,'" Spurrier said. "The guys ran it like they've been running it all summer."

Bailey has lobbied to play offense for the past three years. Spurrier will give him three or four plays, plus a tryout at punt returner where his elusive first step could make him dangerous.

"[Spurrier] will give me something to start off with and love me so much he'll run me back," Bailey said. "He makes it clear what I have to do. He doesn't make it difficult. It's not as difficult as people think. If you start getting really into it, you can make it difficult, but what I have to do isn't difficult."

Sounds simple.

Easy moving

The signing of middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was celebrated in Washington, but around the NFL there were skeptics who felt the Redskins overpaid for a player whose position wasn't crucial and whose severe knee injury in college made him damaged goods.

So far the skeptics appear wrong. Trotter continues to play with the extra effort he demonstrated in minicamps, and in yesterday's first go in pads he looked better than ever. Repeatedly, he got himself in position on passing plays, highlighting the session at one point with an interception.

Trotter swore his knee wasn't a concern when interviewed during the offseason, and he seems to have told the truth. Watching him live at full speed gives an impression of how big an impact he might make.

Now the question is whether the Redskins have enough up front to protect Trotter and let him run to the ball. Signing Daryl Gardener would be a big step in that direction, but don't count out young players Donovan Arp and Del Cowsette. Either might blossom into a solid tackle.

Rasby shines

Tight end Walter Rasby no longer appears vulnerable to a youth movement and emerging veteran Zeron Flemister. The nine-year veteran has been one of the offensive standouts with jarring blocks to spring running back Stephen Davis.

The Redskins will throw regularly to Flemister under the new offense, while adding fullback Bryan Johnson. That seemed to squeeze Rasby's role, but the suspect interior line makes the blocking end even more valuable. After two days of blasting defensive players, Rasby's job now seems secure.

Extra points

• Not saying that Carlisle is behind the times, but the local radio morning team and callers were discussing whether to see "Titanic," the 1997 blockbuster. Someone said he knew the ending. Ruined it for everyone else.

• Not that local radio is for everyone. A local disc jockey ran along the field screaming war whoops into his mike.

• The crowd swelled to more than 500 for the morning session, with another 300 during the afternoon workout.

At a glance

Today's practice: 9:30 a.m.

Weather: 80 degrees, sunny

Health watch: DE Bruce Smith (knees) and DT Santana Dotson (calf) missed both practices, and LB Jessie Armstead (toe) skipped the afternoon workout. CB Kato Serwanga (knee) underwent surgery.

Rick Snider and Jody Foldesy

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