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My day at camp

By Mark Solway | August 3rd, 2006

As a younger fan, I have only made it to one training camp before this year. The first training camp I attended was quite the spectacle: * That coach from Florida was in his first season * Our QB situation was a furious competition between stars Shane Matthews, Danny “the one-glove wonder” Wuerfful, and Patrick Ramsey * Bruce Smith, Jesse Armstead, and Big-Daddy roamed the sidelines * We were coming off an 8-8 year under Schottenheimer, and were optimistic with a new system that was nicknamed the “Fun and Gun” offense Needless to say, this year’s experience differed greatly. The curious optimism of the first-year Spurrier days are gone. We no longer speculate whether Clifford Russell will become a deep threat (if only he can overcome injuries), whether Matthews should start over Wuerffel, or if Spurrier will have what it takes to make an NFL team win. (2002’s strongest argument that Spurrier would succeed in the NFL: Hey, he won at Duke –and if you can win at Duke, you can win anywhere). Tuesday’s practice featured routine work-outs and drills. The interesting thing about training camp is that it isn’t often very interesting. You can get good looks at unknown prospects: for example, some no-name receivers were making tough grabs, fighting for balls, and taking big hits on occasion. And, every once in a while, you see a flash of greatness. On one drill, Sean Taylor leveled Jimmy Farris, who somehow bounced right back up from the ground and kept running. Other highlights included Portis running out to the woods in order to relieve himself , as well as Chris Cooley’s fashion display . Of course, everyone’s eyes were on our new receivers and our future quarterback Jason Campbell. Our new WR recruits are already having an impact on the team. Their routes were crisp, and they made a few good grabs. Antwan Randel El even caught a screen pass and threw it to Moss in the end zone for a touchdown, leaving all of the fans on the sidelines drooling for gameday. Campbell seemed sharp in the drills, and in my opinion it is likely that he will beat Todd Collins for the #2 spot this preseason. Jason shows great mobility (he scrambled once or twice in drills) and has a good feel for the pocket. One of the THN members present remarked that Campbell is not only good at moving around, but that he also looks to make the throw even after he has avoided a defender or two. Unlike other quarterbacks (such as Michael Vick), Campbell uses his mobility primarily to buy more time for throwing. And with the weapons that he will have at his disposal–Moss, Randel El, Lloyd, Patten, Cooley, Sellers, and perhaps Portis or Betts out of the backfield–this is a very, very good thing. Under Joe Gibbs, our Skins have turned around a decade of losing and are now putting the final touches on what could be a division (and perhaps conference) winning team. I didn’t know it at the time, but my optimism with the 2002 Spurrier-led team would only end in heartache. If history serves as our guide, and if we get a little lucky, 2006 promises some good things for Redskin…

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