Most people at minicamp look forward to watching rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III complete the kind of showy touchdown passes that attracted the Redskins to him in the first place.
But it’s Raheem Morris’ job to make sure that doesn’t occur too often.
As Washington’s new defensive backs coach, Morris is charged, in part, with making sure the secondary shuts down its opponent’s passing game. Still, Morris said his experience at a variety of coaching levels has helped him understand the value of looking at “the big picture.”
“It’s helped me a lot just going through the whole transition of seeing everything,” Morris said. “Not just being selfish about the secondary, but being able to see our guys on offense have some success in situations that they should and in situations that they overachieve.”
Before coming to the Redskins in January, Morris spent three years as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morris credited his experience in Tampa with helping him learn how to be a better coach and with developing the skills that foster successful squads - knowledge he’s excited about sharing in Washington.
Morris, who is known for being vocal on the field, appears comfortable in his new environment and exudes the confidence expected from a leader. After all, the leadership role is one with which he has become accustomed.
In the past seven months, Morris, 35, has gone from being the youngest head coach in the NFL to leading a 12-man position group. But no matter who or what he’s in charge of, Morris said his mind is always on the football game, not on his job title.
“That’s for guys with egos, man,” Morris said. “Coaching is coaching.”
Defense: Don’t forget us
So far during organized team activities and minicamp, the buzz has surrounded Griffin and what he’s capable of doing for Washington in his rookie season.
On Wednesday, though, the defense took its opportunity to shine.
With the defense dressed in burgandy on one of the sidelines, the white-clad offense on the other, minicamp appeared to be more of a competition than it was a practice.
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall grabbed an interception during the intrasquad scrimmage, and wide receiver Terrence Austin caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Griffin, which resulted in a celebration in the end zone.
At the end of the day, wide receiver Santana Moss acknowledged that the defense might have been just a little bit better than the offense. That kind of rivalry, he said, is all part of the learning process.
“[We] put a lot of pressure on each other,” Moss said. “That’s why you have these kinds of camps and have these kinds of practices, so you can get accustomed to seeing those different looks that we are going to probably see in games.”
More expected of Banks
Standing at just 5-foot-7, Brandon Banks has carved a niche as the Redskins’ return man. But with the competition in Washington growing, coach Mike Shanahan said there’s no longer room for Banks to be just a return specialist.
Shanahan told Banks he would have to step up and be able to perform in the wide receiver role, too, in order to make the squad.
And despite Banks’ small stature, Shanahan said his player “accepted the challenge.”
“He’s done a very good job of coming in in shape,” Shanahan said. “He gained about 10 pounds. You could tell that he’s been working out extremely hard in the offseason. I think he understands how competitive our situation is right now on our football team.”