- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2003

Two interceptions only a few plays apart yesterday punctuated just how well Washington Redskins safety David Terrell is playing in training camp.

Generally expected to be a backup to newcomer Matt Bowen and returning starter Ifeanyi Ohalete, Terrell has assumed front-runner status in one of camp’s few competitions to start, positioning himself to retain the starting job he held the past two seasons.

Terrell’s performance has shifted Bowen to strong safety, though the difference between strong and free safety in George Edwards’ defense is slight. Generally, Bowen does a bit more run support, and Terrell more often plays the deep part of the field.

Redskins coaches have felt for some time that Bowen could man either spot, considering his great straight-line speed and hard-hitting ability (the latter on display, of course, Wednesday when he popped running back Trung Canidate).

However, it’s a bit of an upset that Terrell is running first-string ahead of Ohalete, who had been expected to be the starting strong safety. Some NFL and team personnel people last year felt Terrell might have maxed out his skills, but in this camp club officials have seen a big improvement.

“This year I’m recognizing things a lot quicker,” Terrell said. “I’m going to be better with my tackling. Just coverage in general. Just experience alone. Playing the past two or three years in this defense — and last year it was the same defense — it gives us a chance to grow within the system.”

Bowen also has been impressed.

“I can’t say enough good things about him, and I’m not trying to kiss [up] or anything,” Bowen said. “I’ve thought so far he’s played great. You could tell today that he’s a ballhawk. And I think we complement each other very well. We play two different styles. David’s more free-range; he’s great in the deep middle of the field.”

In fitting with Edwards’ desire for versatility, Terrell said he is trying to adapt some of Bowen’s physical play.

“You see a guy make a good hit, that entices me to try to do the same thing,” Terrell said. “That’s one part of my game that I’ve been working on, to be a more physical tackler, and not just be known as a coverage safety.”

For Terrell to retain the spot, he must continue his play in preseason games.

“He’s done a good job,” Edwards said. “He had a great offseason, worked hard, and so have all of them. They’ve all worked hard. Right now we’re using different combinations and working different combinations in. We’re in a competitive and evaluation stage right now, and we’ll see how things go.”

LaVar still out

Linebacker LaVar Arrington missed both practices following Thursday’s mild concussion. He and team officials reiterated that there was nothing to worry about, but Arrington’s concussions get a bit more scrutiny because he had three in 2000 and 2001.

Arrington wasn’t on hand at the afternoon practice, having been taken back to National Conference Center for evaluations, but after the morning practice he said he could have participated.

“I’m fine to go,” said Arrington, who will be re-evaluated today. “I actually wanted to go this morning. They told me to scale down. I said, ‘There’s no word like that in my vocabulary. I have a chip on my shoulder that will last until I retire.’ So they said, ‘Well, since you put it that way, we’ll just watch you observe practice today.’”

Cornerback Fred Smoot continued to be limited by heat illness. He did some work in the morning practice but was back on the sideline in the afternoon. Fullback Rock Cartwright was held out for heat illness, and fullback Bryan Johnson got overheated during practice.

Washington’s issues with the heat have received far less attention than those in Jacksonville, where two players went down on the field. Here this week, linebacker Kevin Mitchell went down on the field and Smoot, according to Mitchell, went down in the shower.

Several players said their camp battles with the heat haven’t changed from before Korey Stringer’s death in 2001 to now. Mitchell opined that the media probably didn’t pay enough attention to heat issues before Stringer’s death and now probably treats it as too much of a hot-button issue.

Sixteen players in total missed the afternoon workout. One new multi-day injury is wide receiver Darnerien McCants’ strained hamstring. He injured it stretching and said he won’t test it again until Monday. Also, running back Kenny Watson suffered a mild knee sprain.

Extra points

Tight end Wesley Walls completed his visit to Green Bay, and the Packers apparently were very interested. Walls, who could win the Redskins’ starting job, will choose among Washington, Tampa Bay and Green Bay today or tomorrow, NFL sources said. …

Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, cut Tuesday by the Redskins, visited Detroit, but no deal was imminent. Agent Brig Owens said Wilkinson had another visit scheduled in coming days and one or two possibilities next week. …

Defensive lineman Jace Saylor, re-signed to fill Wilkinson’s roster spot, was on hand for both practices. … Much of the afternoon practice was moved off the primary field, which is getting a bit worn. There isn’t much difference for players but the deep fields do not accommodate spectators well.

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