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Practice? We're Talking About Practice?

Over the course of the next six months I will be asked one question by fans above all else. It'll go something like this: I really like (insert name of a Redskin player here) and think he should be playing more. How does he look in practice? Is he getting better week-to-week?

The query will come in all forums. Emails. Random questions at a bar. Submissions to my webchats (the next one is 1:30 Friday on washingtonpost.com. Be there with you helmet on).

So here's the answer, now and once and for all. I have no idea. Zero. Zilch. Nada. You see, two hours from now I will have seen my last Redskins' practice for all of the 2006 season, whether it ends in agony on a chilly January day, without a trip to the playoffs, or whether Joe Gibbs hoists his fourth Lombardi amid all the spring break partying in Miami in February (man, wouldn't that be something? Buges on South Beach. Sounds like a reality series just waiting to happen).

This afternoon's session is the last the media shlubs get to watch with their own eyes. From here on out we'll get to see the boys stretch and shag some punts, then we get the boot after about 20 minutes. And trust me, there ain't much to see in those first 20 minutes.


This afternoon's session is the last the media shlubs get to watch with their own eyes. From here on out we'll get to see the boys stretch and shag some punts, then we get the boot after about 20 minutes. And trust me, there ain't much to see in those first 20 minutes.

Apart from LB Mike Barrow's epic work with some stretching device that resembled a slinky a few years back - 2004, when he was active pretty much every week but never actually healthy enough to play - the highlights are few and far between. We have enough time to check off al the numbers on the roster, get a feel for who is and is not practicing, and then we're whisked back to the media room, when the biggest issue becomes whether to order pizza, subs or Chinese (oh, the culinary delights of Ashburn).

Once we're safely out of eyesight of the practice fields, only then will anything resembling the real game of football will take place. We will not see Jason Campbell throw another pass - unless he gets a shot in a game - and will have no frame of reference at all on which young dudes are pushing for a spot.

We can still probe around and ask people in the organization, but as for personal opinion or observation, fughetaboutit. Not a chance. Several organizations are taking this tact, and it's just the way of the NFL, where secrecy reigns and a grand plot to steal team secrets is only a dozing security guard away from undoing the entire season.

Actually, though, I understand essentially where the teams are coming from. They put so much work and effort into this stuff, and they naturally get a little overly cautious. They're not breaking any rules by booting us out., but, as the eyes and ears of the fans - the very people who buy the tickets and beers and jerseys that keep this ridiculously successful league going - it would be nice to be able to keep them informed of practice, since it is such a huge part of every week.

So there it is. After today there's nothing to see here. Drop the notebook, keep your hands where we can see them and keep your eyes fixed on the ground.

-0-

Next week the Skins will be practicing earlier in the day, more like the regular-season schedule with fewer of these late, 4 pm starts. So I should be able to blog earlier in the day. I'm game for any blog topic suggestions by the way, in pursuit of a creative kick in the butt. I'm kind of mulling over this idea about how the brain trust here resembles the cast of "Entourage." I see some definite parallels ... I hadn't seen Sonny Jurgensen tooling around the parking lot at The Park on his Segway for about a year, and I almost forgot what a truly unique sight it is. He had it cranked up today. The Hall of Famer really has the hang of it now, and, with that full cigar dangling out of his mouth, looks like he's involved in some kind of 21st-century, tobacco-infused joust with whatever comes in his path.

Alright, wish me well at my last practice of the year. I'll try to savor every moment.

Cheers.

By Jason La Canfora  |  August 17, 2006; 3:50 PM ET
 
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