There was very little news coming out of the Washington Redskins' minicamp this past weekend, and that is exactly what the team wanted.
You don’t want your team to make news during minicamp.
Any headline that comes out of the spring get-together is almost invariably bad. It’s about someone who’s not there because of a contract dispute. Or someone who had to be carted off the field, and his participation in training camp, if not the season, is in doubt.
There was the Fred Davis episode. The rookie tight end overslept and missed Sunday’s practice. If his screwup proves to be an isolated incident, then it will soon be forgotten. If he ends up leaving a trail of irresponsible actions, it will be recounted over and over again.
Most are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I agree, but we shall see.
Davis’ mishap is still being discussed on Tuesday, with the Riggins Show devoting a segment to it, and buzz is still lingering on the message boards. That’s a sign that it was a slow news weekend.
The most humorous analysis of the story comes from Giants and Cowboys fans trying to get in a few digs about it. The Giants would be happy if their tight end slept in. That would mean that Jeremy Shockey wasn’t whining about the offense or demanding a trade. And society at large is much safer if the newest veteran member of the Dallas Cowboys, Pacman Jones, is in his hotel room.
Other than that, it was all football coming out of Ashburn. Specifically, it was about the team learning two new systems, those of Jim Zorn and Greg Blache.
Indications are that Blache’s defense will be easy to pick up. Gregg Williams employed a couple dozen packages of personnel and alignments each game. Blache thinks that simpler is better.
"We will have fewer packages because this is about the players," Blache said after a practice at this weekend's minicamp. "This is not about building the perfect castle or whatever. It's about giving the players something they can execute in the heat of battle under stressful situations. We are trying to be a hard, physical defense that's intimidating with our speed and hitting ability, and you can't do that when you're thinking about 20,000 different things."
It wasn’t exactly as though Williams’ defense seemed to be suffering from paralysis by analysis. The unit was among the top ten in the NFL in three of his four seasons in DC.
Still, letting players play isn’t a bad thing. It will be interesting to see how all looks.
Blache did coach under Williams for four years, but it would be inaccurate to call him a GW disciple. He’s been a coordinator before. His 2001 Bears unit was one of the best in recent memory, as they allowed an average of just 12.7 points per game, in part because the unit collected 34 takeaways.
No doubt, he’ll be bringing in a number of his own ideas to the defense, as he crafts a scheme that isn’t overly disruptive while sticking to his core philosophies and methods.