- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Beyond Thunderdome

Mark Wilson’s magnificent mane has been halved.

The Redskins’ fifth-round draft pick was the butt of a rookie prank Sunday night in which veterans shaved off half his long, brown hair.

The front half.

Exiting Redskin Park after the morning workout, Wilson looked like he could join Toecutter and Mudguts in “Mad Max.” Through not-quite-clenched teeth, he played down the incident.

“It’s just rookie hazing,” the 6-foot-6, 295-pound offensive lineman said. “No big deal.”

Wilson didn’t sport the look for long. By the afternoon, he had shaved the rest of his head to even out the length, though his ponytail remains.

Good block?

Sean Taylor looked like a full-size pickup steaming around the right edge on a delayed blitz. John Simon — at 5-foot-11 and a shade more than 200 pounds, not exactly the immovable object — stood in his way.

But the third-year running back actually did a good job holding his position against Taylor, a rookie safety with a linebacker’s frame (6-2, 232). Simon’s solid chip-block created just enough time for the pass to be released.

As the first-stringers subbed back in, tackle Jon Jansen, remembering how the Cowboys defense and others brought the house on seemingly every play last season, gave Simon a shoutout for his subtly effective effort.

“Protection’s a team effort,” Jansen later said. “To have a running back come up and really take on [Taylor] — I mean, he’s a big safety, coming in fast. We all know from last year, it makes the offensive line look better, it makes the team look better, and plus we get the chance to make a big completion.”

D’oh!

The biggest crowd groan of the day came courtesy of wide receiver Darnerien McCants, who managed to botch one of the easiest plays you’ll ever see in practice.

During a simple quarterbacks-and-receivers passing drill, McCants went deep, looked up for the ball, turned around, stuck out his hands to catch it … and then proceeded to drop it as he tripped and fell.

The play was un-McCants-like — he’s usually one of the Redskins’ most reliable receivers. In this instance, though, the veteran receiver might as well have been wearing steel oven mitts on his hands.

To his credit, McCants redeemed himself in the afternoon, making a nifty catch on an underthrown pass from Patrick Ramsey.

OVERHEARD

“You can’t do this on the street. You’d get arrested for acting like this. There’s nothing like beating up on your best friends all day.”

— Defensive end Regan Upshaw on the physical nature of practices

“We so quick!”

— Linebacker LaVar Arrington, to no one in particular, after surging into the backfield in 11-on-11 drills.

BY THE NUMBERS

345 Pounds, the weight of offensive lineman Derrick Dockery, heaviest on the roster

172 Pounds, the weight of wide receiver Sean Dillard, lightest on the roster

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Practice will be held this evening at an area high school and will be closed to the public. Open public practice returns to Redskin Park tomorrow at 2 p.m. Go to www.redskins.com or call 703/726-7411 for directions and daily updates.

Jody Foldesy and Mark Zuckerman

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