- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 28, 2002

Unlike the past five Redskins coaches who spelled out plays on large white boards for players to ponder between snaps, Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier is deciding the plays as they come up.

"Spurrier is making up plays as we go along," guard Ross Tucker said yesterday. The Redskins end a three-day minicamp today at Redskin Park. "That's why you see everybody leaning into the huddle because nobody knows until it comes out of his mouth what play we're going to run next."

Said quarterback Danny Wuerffel: "Most coaches have a script already for training camp, but he's calling things off the top of his head. He has a sheet to make sure he covers what he wants to cover, and he's just competing on every play."

Spurrier dismissed the unconventional style, saying he was simply covering the playbook.

"We were just firing away a little bit," Spurrier said. "We hit about all of them during minicamp."


Quarterback watch

Quarterback Sage Rosenfels has impressed Spurrier during minicamp enough to compete for the starting job with Wuerffel come training camp. Spurrier also wouldn't dismiss trading for Chicago quarterback Shane Matthews.

"[Rosenfels] just needs to play a lot, make a few mistakes, learn from them and don't repeat them," Spurrier said. "Sage [could] very easily be our starter the first exhibition game. We'll see how it works out."

Spurrier said Wuerffel hasn't greatly changed since winning the 1996 Heisman Trophy at Florida.

"Except he was patting the ball and holding it in one hand [during practice], so he got into a lot of bad habits since he's been in the NFL," Spurrier said. "I had to get on him about that."


Bailey double-duty?

Cornerback Champ Bailey has wanted to return punts since arriving as a rookie in 1999. While past coaches have resisted expanding the Pro Bowl player's role, Spurrier will consider receiver Jacquez Green and Bailey as punt returners and receiver Reidel Anthony as a kick returner.

"If [Spurrier] wants me to do it, I will," Bailey said. "I know I can do it. I can be good at a lot of things. We'll see what happens."

However, Spurrier won't let Bailey also work at receiver. The fourth-year player has long wanted to play both ways, but only interim coach Terry Robiskie let Bailey catch three passes in 2000.

"It's just difficult to learn both sides," Spurrier said. "If you bring a defensive player over to the offense, your wide receivers look at you and say 'Coach, aren't I good enough to play? Why do you have to get somebody else?'"

Meanwhile, offensive tackle Jon Jansen is working at backup deep snapper. He performed the duties for two seasons in college.

"It's something [to do] to stay around when the knees can't take the pounding anymore," he said.


Baby, it's cold

Spurrier quickly changed from shorts to heavy sweats while players stretched in the morning practice. While Spurrier didn't complain about the cold, wet conditions Monday, the biting wind yesterday forced him into "a pregame adjustment."

"The cold north wind came in today. It was definitely a windbreaker, long pants kind of day," Spurrier said.


Extra points

The Redskins gained $560,000 in salary cap space by renegotiating Bailey's contract, according to NFL sources. … Linebacker LaVar Arrington was excused for personal reasons. … Defensive tackle Del Cowsette attended practice after undergoing wrist surgery on Monday. …

Linebacker Antonio Pierce left practice with allergies while running back Stephen Davis missed the morning session with a sore knee. … Spurrier expects to only add one or two more receivers by training camp.

Staff writer Dan Daly contributed to this report.


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