- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

On the rebound

Since the day he was drafted fifth overall by the Redskins, Sean Taylor has made plenty of news. Unfortunately for the Redskins, none of it has had anything to do with his play.

Well, let’s give credit where credit is due: Taylor yesterday made several nice plays in practice, showing coaches and fans a glimpse of what made the rookie safety so highly touted coming out of college.

During one-on-one drills, Taylor broke up back-to-back passes intended for the receiver he was covering. Later during 9-on-9, the linebacker-sized safety perfectly read a reverse to Sean Dillard and drilled the 172-pound wide receiver.

It may have been only a couple of plays, but it was perhaps a sign that Taylor is ready to start making noise on the field instead of off it.

Can’t please everyone

Certain players always seem to draw more fan reaction than others, and wide receiver Laveranues Coles is probably near the top of the list. Whether he’s beating Fred Smoot on a corner route or fighting through traffic to haul in a pass over the middle, Coles always seems to get fans fired up.

Yesterday was no exception. A group of children standing in the front row would greet every sighting of the Pro Bowl receiver with words of encouragement. One lad kept declaring over and over, “Coles, you rule! Coles, you rule!”

That is, until his supposedly favorite player failed to haul in an overthrown pass down the sideline. The immediate response to that play? “Coles, you stink!”

And you thought Red Sox fans were finicky.

H-power

The day’s biggest cheer might have gone to H-back Brian Kozlowski, who continues to craft a solid camp and make a play for the starting lineup.

Kozlowski made a short catch on the left side of the field and absorbed a full-on shot from the shoulder of cornerback Fred Smoot, who fell harmlessly away. Two more defenders had a shot to stuff Kozlowski as well, but he ran through them like a modern-day Mark Bavaro.

Smoot didn’t stay down long. On the next play, the ball was thrown well out of bounds — a momentous enough occurrence to get him mugging for the crowd.

OVERHEARD

“At that point I figured it was the culmination of everything I was going to do in football. Now we get a chance to drag it out of there and melt it down.”

— Coach Joe Gibbs on returning to the Hall of Fame, where his bust resides.

“The ice will be broken soon.”

— CB Fred Smoot on Sean Taylor’s media boycott.

BY THE NUMBERS

7 Projected new Redskins starters on defense.

4 Projected new Redskins starters on offense (if Mark Brunell wins the QB job).

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Full-squad practice scheduled for 9 a.m. Gates at Redskin Park open at 8 a.m. Go to redskins.com or call 703/726-7411 for directions and daily updates.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Mostly sunny. High: 75 degrees. Chance of rain: 10 percent.

Mark Zuckerman and Jody Foldesy

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