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SI Peter King - Postcard from camp: Redskins

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Strange reading King say anything positive about skins.... last year he dropped his long stance against Monk for the HOF and now this?

Posted: Friday July 25, 2008 7:44PM; Updated: Friday July 25, 2008 7:45PM

Peter King > INSIDE THE NFL

Postcard from camp: Redskins

SI.com has dispatched 10 writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. For the complete schedule of postcards, click here.

Setting the scene

Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va., is the Washington Redskins' year-round training facility. Players are bused in from a nearby hotel each day, while fans flood the place and mostly stand on one sideline, 10 and 12 deep. Sponsor types and their families flood the sideline, and tour groups wind their way through the facility while Jason Taylor, Jason Campbell and company walk to meetings. It's a boisterous camp, with fans who already know the rookies' names and numbers by heart shouting out to players after every play.

Three Observations

1. Campbell is impressing with his accuracy. The Zorn Administration already is wowed by the fact that the fourth-year quarterback from Auburn left the facility for about five minutes all offseason -- and when he did, it was to fish on Brett Favre's property in Mississippi. But I'm guessing his passes hit the ground about four times in two hours Friday morning. What a display of deft downfield touch and accuracy. Now, this comes with no one hitting him, obviously. But Campbell had a superb practice, and when I asked him about it, he was totally matter-of-fact. "That's how I have to play every day,'' he said.

2. It's early, but the team is taking to rookie coach Jim Zorn. At first glance, Zorn seems an energetic flatliner, a guy who will pump up players but not be up one day and down the next. "He's been an excellent teacher,'' Campbell said. "I think he's going to mold me into a great quarterback, and I think he's going to teach the guys here a lot about football."

The defense seems to trust Zorn early because he's leaving the D in the hands of the defensive experts. I asked Zorn how he deals with the defense, and with coordinator Greg Blache. "I trust,'' he said. I was waiting for him to finish the sentence, but that was the end of the sentence. He trusts Blache and his defensive staff, and he knows his time is best spent with the side of the ball he knows best.

3. Second-round pick Fred Davis can play tight end in the NFL right now. Davis is big (6-4, 257), lumbering, and caught the ball well Friday. Zorn likes him a lot. There's a good chance Davis and Chris Cooley will both be used in pass-catching roles, and the Redskins could have the best receiving corps they've had in years if Davis stays on the learning path and Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas can make it out of training camp healthy.

New Face, New Place

In past years, you'd have six or seven candidates for a new face here. Not this year, not when the Redskins went from $19 million over the cap entering the offseason to $9 million under before trading for Taylor and putting his $8-million-a-year deal on the salary rolls. Taylor is blending right in as a first-team left end.

Looking at the Schedule

An odd one. In the first five weeks, there are all three NFC East foes -- all on the road. In the last seven weeks, all three of the NFC East foes come to Fedex Field. The worst part of the schedule: Three of the last four games are on the road, with the only positive being that the finale is at San Francisco.

Memorable Image from Camp

Zorn working with the quarterbacks, endlessly. When he got the job in an upset last winter, Zorn said he would carve out at least an hour a day to tutor Campbell and the quarterback group. On Friday, he carved out two. After one nice pass Campbell made, Zorn said, "OK, you made a nice throw there. What are you going to do on the next one?''

He's a stickler for doing things the right way every time, as most longtime quarterback coaches are. On Thursday, Zorn set up a drill that looked totally bizarre. He had three of the four quarterbacks on the roster get in a circle, with Campbell in the middle holding a football, poised as if he was about to pass. The quarterbacks on the perimeter took turns firing Pilates exercise balls at Campbell. "Dodgeball,'' it's called.

Said Zorn: "I want the quarterbacks not to just move their bodies slightly. I want them to move a lot, to get used to a rusher coming at them.'' You kind of figured Zorn, a heady sort, would come up with things like this.

Parting Shots

• Washington's skill players are the best in the division.

• Strange to see Stuart Schweigert, a former Raider, lining up trying to be the heir to Sean Taylor.

• Chris Samuels, recovering from elbow surgery, isn't fully prepared for the rigors of a season, but he's close. He told me he'll be 100 percent by opening day.

• Both rookie receivers -- Thomas (hamstring) and Kelly (knee strain) -- are banged up after one week of practice. Neither injury is serious, but I saw Thomas limping out of the facility. He's expected to miss about two weeks.

• These fans are intense. One leatherlung, in the middle of practice Friday, saw Redskins VP Vinny Cerrato, who pulled off the Taylor trade the other day, and began yelling: "Good job Cerrato! Thank you! Thank youuuuuuuuu! Very good! Very, very good!''

Find this article at:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writ...card/index.html

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Glad to hear glowing reviews of Campbell.

Washington's skill players are the best in the division.

Thats a huge compliment in a division with so many talented players.

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Glad to hear glowing reviews of Campbell.

Thats a huge compliment in a division with so many talented players.

That might be true if you take TE, WRs and RBs as one. Reskins have the 2nd best RB and second best TE and have a very nice WR corps on paper.

Where the Eagles have the best RB, but atm 4th best WRs and 3rd best TE (Yes Giants fans LJ Smith > Kevin Boss atm) and so on.

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Glad to hear glowing reviews of Campbell.

Thats a huge compliment in a division with so many talented players.

Or Peter King continues to prove that he has zero credibility...

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Can't agree Skins have the best "skill positions". On the whole, Dallas is better. Could make a small argument for Eagles with Westy.

Won't bother reading if King does the Eagles....he's a hater.

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Can't agree Skins have the best "skill positions". On the whole, Dallas is better. Could make a small argument for Eagles with Westy.

Won't bother reading if King does the Eagles....he's a hater.

Actually King is a bigger Skins hater, which is why i was surprised to see this article.

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Glad to hear glowing reviews of Campbell.

Thats a huge compliment in a division with so many talented players.

Don't get too excited. This is the same guy that predicted that Jake Plummer would be the league MVP two years in a row.

His opinions are lukewarm garbage.

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Its really not that far fetched to say that Washington has the best skill players in the division.

Knock their o/d line or linebackers all you want , but Portis, Moss, Kelly, Thomas, Randel El, Cooley, Davis is some serious talent.

We have Westbrook who is better than anyone on their offense, but they have some serious depth at the skill positions where we're putting out the Avant's and Wilson's of the world

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Its really not that far fetched to say that Washington has the best skill players in the division.

Knock their o/d line or linebackers all you want , but Portis, Moss, Kelly, Thomas, Randel El, Cooley, Davis is some serious talent.

We have Westbrook who is better than anyone on their offense, but they have some serious depth at the skill positions where we're putting out the Avant's and Wilson's of the world

Agreed.

The skins have noticeable depth at TE and WR. And if Cambpell improves on what looked like a decent 3rd year, the Skins will be tough.

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Agreed.

The skins have noticeable depth at TE and WR. And if Cambpell improves on what looked like a decent 3rd year, the Skins will be tough.

He's coming back from injury and learning his 3rd new system since he's a been a Redskin. I don't think he's going to start off that well, but should come around towards the later half of the season.

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Whenever a new coach takes over a team there are all these fluff pieces, you know, the team loves the guy, he's motivating people, everyone has a hop in their step blah blah, so I didn't really mind too much of the article until I got to this.

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"Washington's skill players are the best in the division."

Definitely way premature considering some of those skill players never played a down of NFL football.

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