- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

While rookie wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly recover from injuries, Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn expects them to be better prepared for training camp in 2009.

Both Thomas and Kelly, the team’s first and third picks in April’s NFL Draft, failed the conditioning test at the onset of training camp. The test consists of a dozen 25-yard sprints in 53 seconds or less (the time varies for different position groups), a 60-second break and then a repeat of the 12 sprints.

“I think they were young and in their own mind with how they prepared this was, ‘I’m ready. This is how I’m going to do it, and this is how I’m going to get ready,’” Zorn said. “They’ll have to re-evaluate their offseason program as young rookies because when they come back [next year], they’ll still just be young guys who didn’t do well in the beginning.”

Thomas, who is out with a pulled hamstring, returned to practice in limited fashion Tuesday. He hopes to practice at full speed by week’s end and make his preseason debut Aug. 16 against the New York Jets.

Kelly also originally injured a hamstring but complained of soreness in both knees while trying to return. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to remove loose particles Monday and is expected to miss two weeks, although when asked about the timeline, Zorn said, “I think that is ambitious.”

While Kelly was still in Florida recovering from the surgery, Thomas talked to the media after special teams practice.

He said not stretching enough after his hamstring started to tighten caused the injury.

“I don’t think [saying Kelly and I were not prepared] is a fair thing to say,” Thomas said. “We came in prepared enough to do what we could do. We had a lot of other distractions going on as far as becoming a rookie. But as far as being in shape, we were in shape - it was just a tough deal that we both got hurt.

“[The test] was just a tough deal to do. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for it. It was thrown at us pretty fast. … No excuses though - we should have passed it, and we continue to try and get in shape each and every day.”

Punters ‘most even’

Rookie Durant Brooks handled all of the Redskins’ punting and holding duties against the Colts. Zorn said the plan was to allow Brooks all of the responsibilities for one game and then have incumbent Derrick Frost do the same Saturday against Buffalo.

“The punter situation is where the most even competition is,” Zorn said. “I fully expect for there to be a difficult decision at the end of this because they are both competing very well.”

Brooks, a sixth-round pick from Georgia Tech and winner of the Ray Guy award, averaged 46.0 yards on his four punts and put two inside the 20-yard line. He also had a clean hold on four extra points and a field goal.

His first punt ended up as a touchback, and the Colts’ T.J. Rushing returned one for a touchdown, although a holding penalty negated it.

“As you could tell, I was little too excited, and I hit the first one in the end zone,” Brooks said. “[The Colts] just set up an awesome return [on the touchdown]. It was around a 4.7-4.8 [second] hang [time]. Obviously, it could be higher, but it was pretty good hang. It was only 43 yards, so I think our team should have been down there, but that guy was fast, and they set up an awesome wall.”

O-line update

Offensive tackles Todd Wade and Stephon Heyer both could miss two weeks with injuries sustained Sunday against Indianapolis. Wade has a high right ankle sprain, and Heyer has a “minor medial collateral stretch,” Zorn said.

“I don’t think it’s too bad, [but ankle sprains are] always a tricky injury,” Wade said. “It’s unfortunate. It is what it is. It’s something I can’t worry about. I learned my lesson before in trying to force the issue.”

Wade struggled with a shoulder injury during camp last season. Third-round pick Chad Rinehart, who played left tackle at Northern Iowa but has shifted between guard and tackle during camp, is expected to see more action in place of Heyer with the second unit.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide