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Volunteer Work at Redskins Park

Joe Gibbs former mandatory "volunteer" offseason workout program -- now sans the mandatory and quotation marks -- started yesterday and the Examiner scoops who showed and who didn't. All emphasis added for feaux drama.

Big Joe Salave'a

This was his choice: leave the wife and kids behind ... in warm weather ... in Las Vegas ... to work out. That's not what Redskins defensive tackle Joe Salave'a wants to do. It's what he felt he must do as the Redskins began their voluntary offseason workouts Monday.
Mark Brunell
"This is something that's been important in all the other seasons I've played, so it remains to be seen how important it [really] is. What you do miss out on is just being together. That's an important aspect of having the team together in March or April..."
Andre Carter
"It's just a level of camaraderie and brotherhood."
Chris Cooley
"I've had faith in the program and it's done well for me so I'm happy to do what they want me to do. Why go out and pay for something when you have this opportunity?"
This list is not exhaustive; 45 players showed up to camp. That's a pretty good number for volunteer offseason workouts.

Who didn't show:
Phillip Daniels

Daniels is still rehabilitating after having surgery on both ankles and a wrist. He has worked out in Atlanta in the past and Moss prefers doing his workouts in Miami.
Santana Moss
But others were vocal about the desire to work out elsewhere, notably... Santana Moss
Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis... [was] among the missing from the first day of voluntary workouts
Sean Taylor
Sean Taylor... [was] among the missing from the first day of voluntary workouts
Renaldo Wynn
Wynn is in Hawaii for the NFLPA meetings.
Again, not an exhaustive list.

Also of note was this:

This year, the workouts will be in smaller groups -- players will be with their units -- allowing for more personal attention.
One of the non-participants' many complaints, and I felt the most prescient one, was that the individual workouts weren't tailored by position as much as need be, if at all. As Phillip Daniels noted in December:
Here we all do the same program, no matter if you're a receiver or a D-lineman... But what I need ain't what Santana Moss needs. I need burst, quickness, reaction-type stuff. I'll do what coach Gibbs asks me to do, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want to go back and do what I need to do to get ready. I was a better player when I was doing my own thing.
I don't know whether the new, personal attention ameliorates that concern, though it doesn't matter as he's down south in Miami.

My overall take is that I'm appreciative of the guys who did show up and take advantage of what was available. Big Joe Salave'a has to feel like he's close to being an odd-man out if we go ahead and draft an Amobi Okoye or Alan Branch. Still, I think he stays on the roster as a mentor and as a rotation guy even if we do so. Ryan Boschetti should be the one sweating most.

Mark Brunell continues to impress me as a person by showing up after taking a paycut. I had a lingering concern that negotiations would leave him sour with the team, though I think he recognizes that his career is in Washington or else nowhere. He is a smart news guy and mediates his comments well -- I'm happy to be here but don't blame others for not, etc.

Andre Carter, as the new guy, is there to generate friendship and bond with his teammates. I view this as a plus. Also I cannot say anything negative about him because he might eat my soul.

What's in my sandwich? Children and puppies. Mind your own business.

And Chris Cooley being there to save money makes sense, as we pay him peanuts. Remind the Redskins to sign him to a longterm contract ASAP by emailing them here. Also Chris Cooley will be at the Williamsburg Marriott this Saturday and Sunday. Click link for details.

As for the guys who didn't show, it won't affect Clinton Portis, Sean Taylor, or Santana Moss at all. Phillip Daniels on the other hand, is playing a dangerous game. He's already on the bubble, is mentioned as a possible cap casualty, and didn't exactly tear things up in '07. I imagine him not being there mightily pisses off Coach Gibbs.

His saving grace is probably Renaldo Wynn not showing up either, though I don't have any idea whether the Hawaii NFLPA meeting is mandatory or not. Wynn is a guy who needs to earn brownie points with the Coaching staff yesterday to definitively secure a spot on this team.

Post your own thoughts below.

Update [2007-3-20 10:36:32 by Skin Patrol]: Per the The Times.

Casey Rabach

Center Casey Rabach, one of Daniels' co-instigators, surprisingly was on hand because his wife is expecting a baby today.
Also, as I mentioned above (late, as always), the new program should have addressed Daniels' main criticism:
Daniels wasn't in Ashburn, Va., even though strength coach John Hastings addressed his chief complaint by having the players work in position groups instead of at random as in the past. "Doing stuff by position benefits everybody," said defensive tackle Joe Salave'a, who left his family behind in Las Vegas as he began his fight to keep his roster spot. "When you separate the bulls from the zebras and the zebras from the cheetahs, it helps. Hopefully that will be a steppingstone to a good offseason. The bulk of the season depends on the kind of offseason we have. The first day is always a shock to the body, but I'm excited to be back. I'm pretty much committed to being here, but if need be, I can find time to get away."
Oh well. Finally, a very qualified criticism from Mark Brunell on absent players:
Quarterback Mark Brunell, the eldest Redskin at 36, is curious to see how the change will affect the upcoming season. "I've never been a part of a team that has not asked all the guys to be here the third week of March, so this year's a little different," Brunell said. "It remains to be seen how important [being here in March] is. Coach trusts the veteran guys to get ready. What you do miss out on is being together. I think that's an important aspect."