Smoot on the O Line and Wide Receivers
Turns out Willie Harris isn't the only D.C. athlete unsure whether he needs to know what the fans are thinking. I told Fred Smoot the other day that fans were pretty concerned about his team's offensive line and its wide receiving corps.
"Fans should not be worried," Smoot said. "Fans should be worried about only two things: if it rains, or if it's sunny that day. Because we're gonna be there to play football, and they need to be there to watch."
Wide Receivers: "We've got a good group, they just need to stay healthy. That's the only thing we need. Santana, the lead guy, he ain't gonna miss games. Santana will be there rain, sleet or snow. Randle El, amazing in the slot. What we need to do is find that other outside guy, and it's either gonna be Devin or Malcolm. I like where Malcolm is progressing, I like it. Staying healthy is the key to him. Devin has took his route-running to a whole 'nother level. He really got out here this summer and learned how to run routes, and I think that's gonna be big. So between the two of them, if we can get anywhere between 60, 65 70 catches out of the both of them, I think everything's perfect."
Offensive Line: "Well, I think our offensive line actually is a good offensive line, we've just got people hurt. We need Randy healthy, we need to see what BMW [Big Mike Williams] can do out there. You know what I'm saying, we've got guys--Dockery--we've got the guys. Guys just need to get healthy. Plus, we've got a real good D line, so our D line hasn't been taking it easy on them in training camp. Our D line is very good.
"You know who's really shocking me is Orakpo. You know, when I first saw him, I'm thinking 'Uhhhh, NFC D End, ummm, might be too small, they're gonna run at him.' This guy is incredibly strong. He's incredibly strong, he can rush the passer, he can stop the run. I've seen him handling big offensive linemen, so with the speed, the quickness and the size, [Cornelius Griffin] don't have to worry about the double teams no more. Phil [Daniels] is feeling good. Our defense is at its peak. Look for us to get better than what we was last year. I'm saying it now because I know what causes turnovers; we're gonna have more turnovers because we've got big boys, and that's how they happen, by making the quarterback uncomfortable."
[You'll notice that he answered this question by praising the defensive line instead of talking offense, so I asked him about the age issue.]
Offensive Line Age: "Well, Randy's my oldest O lineman. You know, Chris [Samuels] is still at a good age for O linemen. Stephon's a young guy, Rabach's what, 29, 30. [31, turns out.] It wouldn't be such a big deal, because I don't want my O-line to be too young. I've got a lot of experience up there, I've got some guys that have been through the fire, so guys that I trust, I'm gonna ride with 'em. I know CP feels safe behind 'em."
August 12, 2009; 3:21 PM ET
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