We'll never know fully how screwed up the Jim Zorn era was, but my chats with Devin Thomas and Edwin Williams shed a few rays of light (or darkness). Both of the Redskins were at Robert Andrew Spa, The Salon and Spa on Friday getting pampered with massages, pedicures, and the works to help raise awareness around "Go Green" month at the spa and their effort to raise money for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. I was able to get some great face time with both players, who had nothing but the greatest praise for Shanahan, and well, "issues" with previous staff.
Let's start with the new conditioning program. When speaking with Edwin, he told me there are a lot of changes:
Edwin: Before we'd do a lot of lifting...you just do what you want.
Hogs Haven: So there was no cardio put in place?
Edwin: Nah. They'd make you run 20 yards, and if you want, you can keep doing it.Hogs Haven: Really? Jesus. And now?
Edwin: The new regiment has a lot of twisting, calisthenics. It's really hard to do.
If it's hard to do, it's an obvious sign it's a good workout. Edwin only gained a few pounds this off-season, which is a little disappointing, but he spent his off-season in Leesburg working out. I was hoping to hear he spent some time with Chris Samuels working on technique, but that was not the case. He's looking forward to Chris being a coach since with Bugel's way, it was absolutely his way or the highway.
After Devin finished his massage, I had the chance to ask him some questions while he was getting his shape-up with
- his off-season workouts down in Miami,
- his talks with Coach Shanahan (and how they plan to use him),
- who will fill Randle El's slot role,
- returning kicks,
I should first say that Devin looks noticeably bigger from when I saw him a month and half ago in Miami. He said he's gained a solid 6 pounds this off-season. As he said in the video, he wants to come to camp 100% in-shape, and it's clear he'll meet that goal. Point for Vinny.
Another key stand out was Devin's line, "Shanahan won't allow guys to get away with what they did last year." He continued by saying that there were times he would say, "We're stronger and faster than these guys (our competition), why are they beating us?" Clearly there was lack of discipline and it showed the way players gave up. Dropped balls, the countless missed blocks...let's not revisit that.
Another big news item is Haynesworh only showed up for the first day of voluntary workouts then left for the week. Edwin mentioned Big Al was not the only player to do so. There were multiple players that did this. I don't see it as a big deal. They all received their conditioning programs and were told what was expected of them.
Probably the funniest part of the day was when Devin mentioned Shanahan's reaction to game film of last year.
Devin: "Coach [Shanahan] was like, 'You guys really ran this!?!?' I mean...our formations were so predictable...the way we lined up. They knew what we were running every time."
Hogs Haven: "Yea...and it's the 'execution'...right Zorn."
That line where Sherm Smith and Zorn for weeks said it was the execution not the play-calling that was the problem still irritates to me to no end. It's the coaches job to make the players execute and discipline them if they're not. Ugh, well, at least that 2 chapters of the story is over.
On the slot position Shanahan told Devin: "We're going to move you around so make sure you learn the playbook."
It was clear Devin is excited for how they plan to use them. They have multiple plays designed for him and by moving guys all around, the Redskins will no doubt have an exciting offense (and unpredictable to fans) again.