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Jim Zorn Training Camp Media Session

REDSKINS HEAD COACH JIM ZORN

On when he found out about signing linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo:
"Late last night. I wasn't surprised. I was more glad than surprised because I think Dan [Snyder], Eric Schaffer and Vinny [Cerrato] were all continually, not so much stressing, but just continuing to work through all the contract and finally got it done. So we're just more excited than surprised.

On if he intentionally holds certain players out of the end of practice:
"That's absolutely planned out in advance. They don't necessarily go in and out of practice when they want but we're holding some guys out and just going one-a-day practice so we don't wear down a potential knee hamstring or something that we are trying to be a little more cautious with, so that's all we're doing."

On wide receiver Devin Thomas competing for a staring spot:
"We have a lot of confidence in where he's headed. I think Malcolm Kelly is coming on, Devin is showing that he is a little more seasoned than Malcolm right now but they're both going to be competing and Antwaan [Randle El] is not going to give it up, so we're having great competition at that flanker position especially with those two guys."

On what Devin Thomas has improved on:
"Just his confidence in the offense and being able to run routes without having to think, 'what do I do on this play,' so he just keeps himself in line. He's able to concentrate more on coverage and beating the defender than trying to remember what his route is."
On the difference with wide receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas from last year:
"They didn't start just in this training camp. They started last year. Once they knew what it was suppose to be like, I think all year long they fought to get back. Malcolm had a setback, Devin just kept going but he was so far behind it was hard for him to catch up. I would use this word picture, when the train leaves the station, you better be on it, and he was just hanging on. So this whole offseason he really made a commitment, I think Malcolm did as well to be far more ready to actually play a season, not just be a part of the team."

On status of Dominique Dorsey:
"He had a little cramping yesterday so we held him out today because of a kind of heat exhaustion. He doesn't have a lot of fat on his body, he's real lean so he needs to continue to drink fluids. We held him out this morning, he's probably going to go this afternoon."
On how much Malcolm Kelly's knee injury was holding him back:
"I would say that Devin is a bit ahead of Malcolm but Malcolm right now is going to continue to accelerate. He's also learning some of the details not just learning the overall picture. He's probably further ahead than I thought he would be coming out here. I'm excited he's competing, he's just working on some of the details to get himself open a little bit better."
On certain things he sees in Malcolm's progression:
"Right now his ability to reach and catch the ball he's a hand catcher and he's got a span where he can catch the ball that is tremendous. I think he's got good concentration. Just like a lot of receivers right now, he's trying to get the feel for the speed of the ball, where his hands are, and in drill work I just see him snatching, in team drills he's concentrating on running routes. All of those things just have to fit together and it's just going to take a while for him to do it."

On Devin Thomas uncertainty last year:
"Everything was really mechanical. He wasn't sure of anything. Everything was one speed. When you watch him now, he's able to change speed, he's able to put a move on a defender, actually get leverage on a defender. He's really much more freed up to be a receiver than last year.
On Mike Williams' inspiring players weight loss:
"I think it really has. I think there's a lot of pride in that group. There are four or five guys that really wanted to change and make a difference and just because Casey Rabach didn't lose weight, you can't say, 'he didn't care,' he was already there. He made a commitment to be ready as well. All these guys came in in better condition. They're much more fit than last year. It's probably by inches. The one that came the furthest and probably the most inspiring has been Mike Williams because of where he started and what he's had to do. And what we're trying to do is help him see that this thing is going to be a fight all year long and not to lose that edge that he's come in with"

On the conditioning test this year compared to last year:
"Everyone's participating. There were a couple of close calls I would say. The close call this year was the failure last year. I'm looking at Fred Smoot. Last year he just shut it down, this year I think it was the first year, from what people have told me that he actually completed the test and the seconds that he had to made, he made.

On Fred Davis' improvements from last year:
"It's pretty much night and day. He was enthusiastic last year but he couldn't get on the field because of learning the assignments. Also getting his life adjusted. It's hard as an NFL player. You figure out you're on top of the world because you're an NFLer but it also takes discipline to maintain good habits and doing things right. I just can't say enough about what he's doing out here. He's able to be very versatile. Not just playing the tight end position but also being in motion. Making calls while he's in motion, so he's really stepped his game up. And partly it has to do with Chris Cooley and Todd Yoder being able to help and also we have an excellent teacher in Scott Wachenheim, our tight end coach."

On Ladell Betts' role this year:
"Last season we had a few little injuries in the backfield with Clinton [Portis] fighting through his pains. Ladell came in a got injured and that really hurt us. I think what I'm seeing with Ladell, he's much more fit and much more focused because he knows there's a good chance for him to play this year. He doesn't want and we don't want to lose a step. It's hard to replace Clinton Portis and guy like that, but a guy coming in like Ladell, he's going to be an important piece of our puzzle when we have to substitute backs and use guys. Maybe he plays more on third downs. I don't have that formula quite down yet. Part of it will be how much Clinton can go and how ready Ladell is going to be and I think he's ready."

On defensive backs and receivers:
"Our receivers are going to BE better because our DBs are reading body posture, splits, releases and things like that. They're going to benefit it from it. Our DBs are pretty good, they really are."

On Phillip Daniels' inspirational return:
"Let me say this about Phillip, he was inspirational last year. He went to every single football game on his own dime, or dollar, or hundred of dollars. Home and away, he was there. As much as he could be a part of the team last year, he was."

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