I don't know if I'm using fan in the right context here, but we're all worried; Coach Bugel isn't. Per a Q&A at the Official Site with Bugel:
Q: Randy Thomas and Jansen have had injuries the last few years. Is there any concern about their durability heading into 2008?
A: "No, you can't be worried because injuries are a part of the game. I hate to use a cliché, but age never worries me. I coached Ray Brown at 42 years old, so I don't care how old you are. If you can still play, you're playing. Plus, Randy and Jon are in great condition. They've had time off, plus in rehab you have to work hard every single day. I never worry about injuries. Some guys who come off major injuries have great careers. Injuries are part of the game, really."
Age never worries you? This can't possibly be true. As much as I love Coach's enthusiasm about our old offensive line, I need position coaches willing to address issues, such as the unavoidable, never-ending process whereby young football players become old ones. (And I know that Coach Bugel, despite what he says publicly, is worried about the offensive line, including their collective age.)
The good news is that he has plenty of great things to say about Chad Rinehart, Stephone Heyer, and Andrew Crummey. Stephon has already developed as a reliable backup, Chad Rinehart is treated (in the interview) as a versatile offensive linemen who can play both guards and tackle, and Andrew Crummey receives heaping big praise along with his alma mater, generally. Apparently Bugel has a high opinion of Maryland prospects.
One issue unaddressed in the interview is our backup center situation or, more precisely, the non-existence of a pure backup center on the roster. No offense intended to Kyle Devan but I'm suspicious of his ability to make the team. The more likely scenario is that we ultimately brings in a veteran to fill that spot, as Jon Jansen is more useful as a starting tackle than he is as a backup center, should Rabach go down to injury.
Elsewhere, I know a couple of reader(s) are big on Byron Westbrook, but he got some bad print out of Redskins 360:
Highlights from the 7-on-7 passing part practice: James Thrash beating Byron Westbrook for a long catch, a one-handed catch by Devin Thomas and two Malcolm Kelly catches -- beating Westbrook to catch a long ball from Jason Campbell and, moments later, catching a pass from Todd Collins on a stop-and-go route. Defensively, LaRon Landry intercepted a pass that was deflected off Santana Moss.
Anecdotes such as these hardly tell the entire story on a player's development or performance in practice, but they don't encourage, either. Rather than dwell on the negative, though, let's be happy that both Kelly and Thomas are making noise in the receiving game. In the Q&A with Bugel cited above, he mentioned that the people this offense is toughest on are the quarterbacks and receivers, as it is largely the passing game that has been altered (the offensive line's pass blocking has not changed, per Bugel). It immediately struck me that, assuming -- and this is aggressive -- that both Kelly and Thomas find their way into the top 4 receivers on the depth chart, half of our starting receivers aren't really having to learn a new professional passing system, rather they're being groomed into from the get-go. For Moss and Randle El, this is a new offense. For Kelly and Thomas, this is no more a new scheme than it is for any and every rookie receiver in the NFL.
Finally, transaction news per Redskins Insider:
[T]he Redskins made two rosters moves - re-signing LB Rian Wallace and DE Dorian Smith and releasing Bryan Wilson and Eddie Jackson.
Don't know what to add besides best wishes and happy trails to Bryan Wilson and Eddie Jackson and welcome back to Wallace and Smith. I don't know enough about any of these guys to comment usefully. I will say I'm thrilled to see that Hogs Haven favorite Pete Schmitt is still with the team. Yes, it is true, I will never shut up about him.
My apologies for a short absence; I'm not used to disappearing for nearly a week, but real life monopolized my life. All I ask is that reader(s) stick with me -- regular updates this week.