Aug 6, 2005, 1:46 AM EDT
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After a week of dropping a few pounds in the heat and
humidity at Redskins Park—pounds that those of you who know me know were ones I
can well afford to lose—here are my three random observations of Week 1 of
Training Camp 2005.
- I don’t know if Lemar Marshall if big enough to make it at middle
linebacker, but it’s sure easy to root for him to do so. The other day he
has his jersey and pads off and was talking to a group of reporters and,
looking from 15 yards away, I thought, “Who is this receiver all these
guys are talking to?” He not tiny, mind you, but standing there in his
sweat-soaked Under Armor shirt, he just didn’t have the look that one
associates with the likes of classic MLB’s like Butkus or Singletary. In
talking to him, though, he seems to have the mental side of it down.
Marshall has a quiet, intense personality like those of his new teammate
David Patten and, going back a little further, Art Monk. Since Gregg
Williams’ scheme doesn’t place as much importance on the size of the Mike
man, emphasizing instead smarts and toughness, Marshall’s lack of stature
and bulk doesn’t preclude success for him. As Marshall said, “It’s not
about your weight, it’s about your heart.”
- Kevin Dyson, the touchdown scorer on the Music City Miracle and the near-TD
scorer on the last play of the Titans’ Super Bowl loss to the Rams, is
also easy to root for but he is struggling on the practice field. He’s an
engaging guy, quick with a smile and always willing to talk. On the field,
however, he looks like what he is, a guy who hasn’t played much in the
past two seasons (he missed most of 2003 with an injury and all of 2004
after getting cut in camp). His movements are not fluid, he seems to be
out of synch with the quarterbacks and his hands haven’t impressed. The
good thing for Dyson is that his primary competition for the last roster
spot at receiver is Darnerien McCants, who has had a severe case of the
dropsies himself. The bad news for both of those players is that the
performance of those two has opened the door for receivers like Jimmy
Farris and Jamin Elliott to move up there and steal that last spot.
- Patrick Ramsey has been unimpressive. Not great, not terrible, just
unimpressive. Don’t project that assessment beyond the first week of camp,
it’s just for right now. It is based mostly on the longer throws, which
are supposed to be both Ramsey’s strength as a quarterback and the new
focus of the offense this year. Bombs tend to rely less on “chemistry”
between the QB and his receiver than do shorter routes when the
quarterback has to throw the ball before the pass catcher cuts. Ramsey
seems to do fine on the deeper passes in pitch and catch stuff, where
there is no defender on the receiver. The ball has a nice trajectory and
the receiver doesn’t have to break his stride to run under the ball. When
a defender gets involved, however, it’s a different story. The receiver
has to adjust, the defender is able to make a play, or, most frequently,
the ball is overthrown beyond the reach of anyone. It’s not like this
happens all the time, but enough so that it’s disturbing. Nothing to
portend doom and gloom here, mind you. It’s just something to look for
when the start playing against guys in different-colored uniforms.
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