- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The annual training camp shuffle appears to be over.

Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs yesterday endorsed camp at Redskin Park and indicated that, after a successful summer at home this year, it is likely to return next year.

“Just in general, I kind of liked it here,” Gibbs said. “I was curious [about] how I would like it. The only two places I’ve been are Carlisle [Pa.] and here. And for the short amount of time that you’re in camp, to go all the way to Carlisle or go to another facility or site would be a bunch of moving and a bunch of moving again.”

There had been speculation about a return to Dickinson College in Carlisle when Gibbs was hired in January. But he wanted to see how camp would function at home, where Washington held it in 2000 and 2003.

Camp’s location has been in flux since 2000, when the Redskins ended a five-year run in Frostburg, Md. Washington trained at Carlisle for more than three decades, from 1963 to 1994, but lately the locale has been an annual point of curiosity.

Perhaps no more. Despite massive crowds during camp’s limited open period this summer from July30 to Aug.11, Gibbs liked that the grounds were secure and the team’s equipment already was on site.

Thanks to Gibbs’ popularity, there appear to be some crowd control issues that need to be addressed for 2005. Nearly 20,000 spectators attended Fan Appreciation Day, and club officials are considering holding that event at FedEx Field in the future.

Setback for Barrow

Linebacker Mike Barrow, who hasn’t practiced in nearly three weeks because of a strained knee tendon, suffered a setback in his rehabilitation Monday and is proceeding with extra caution.

The twinge in his knee occurred while he was hitting the blocking sled in Monday’s afternoon practice.

“It irritated real bad,” Barrow said. “We found out what I can’t do at this stage.”

The projected starter at middle linebacker donned pads yesterday and continued to do some agility work, but he’s not sure whether he’s going to be ready for the Sept.3 preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons, let alone Friday’s exhibition at St. Louis.

“The process is to see how far I can go,” Barrow said. “Every day is a new challenge. Yesterday I tried to do this one particular thing and ended up irritating it, so we had to back up. Now the game plan is just to ease into everything.”

Although Barrow is an 11-year veteran who prides himself on conditioning and has experience in this defense, Gibbs acknowledged that at some point Barrow’s status for the Sept.12 opener might be affected by his continued absence.

“The thing you’re always concerned about is … game conditioning,” Gibbs said. “That’s why you hate for guys to miss in camp because there’s a certain amount of conditioning [they need]. If not, then you worry about that. How long can they go in an opening game?”

Taylor’s test

Sean Taylor’s masterful preseason earned him a bit of recognition when SI.com named him one of the league’s 10 standouts in exhibition play so far.

Now comes the rookie’s biggest challenge. At St. Louis, he will face the “Greatest Show on Turf,” the Rams’ sizzling combination of skill players: wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce and running back Marshall Faulk.

Gregg Williams, the Redskins’ assistant head coach for defense, is eager to see how Taylor and his teammates in the secondary handle Friday night.

“This team is built for speed on turf, and we’re playing them there, where they love to play and run,” Williams said. “Our guys are faster than they were last year, but it will be a good test to see are we behind them and chasing them down or are we going to be a step ahead of them? This is a great evaluation point.”

Linebacker Marcus Washington also earned a spot among SI.com’s top 10 preseason players.

Extra points

Gibbs’ efforts at schematic secrecy took a hit Monday when tackle Brandon Winey signed with the New York Giants, Washington’s Week 2 opponent. The Redskins have been purposely clandestine this preseason, running vanilla schemes in games and kicking reporters out of practice. But some in the organization believe the Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Redskins’ opening foe, were eyeing Winey for a peek at the playbook. …

Linebacker LaVar Arrington missed another practice but said there is “no question” he would have played last weekend if it were a regular-season game. Among others sitting out yesterday were defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (groin) and cornerback Walt Harris (calf). …

Gibbs wouldn’t reveal how many carries he plans for running back Clinton Portis this season but did say, “His tongue’s going to be hanging out. Let’s put it that way.”

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