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Mini-Camp Ends, But Work Continues

The Redskins wrapped up their three-day mini-camp on Sunday after an abbreviated practice and veterans quickly departed Redskins Park for a six-week vacation. Rookies and some veterans stayed behind for another week of work with coaches.

Tthe next time the Redskins will be back together as a team will be July 31, when players report for training camp at Redskins Park.

Head coach Joe Gibbs shortened Sunday's practice as a reward for the team's off-season attendance at workouts.

"We had a shortened version of practice because we kind of felt the guys had worked real hard in the offseason," Gibbs said. "We went real short in practice and got them out of here."

Gibbs emphasized to players that he expects them to continue to work out on their own, stay in shape and study the playbook.

"A big portion of it is mental, particularly for the first-year guys," Gibbs said. "They have their notes that they take with them. It'll be a big study time for them. You count on each guy to keep his conditioning up. I put the mini-camp at the end of the offseason so that we could have a better measure of where we are.

"Our emphasis is for everybody to be working hard wherever they are."

The mini-camp was of particular benefit to the rookies and first-year players who continue to become acclimated to the NFL.

Both of the Redskins' first-round draft picks, Carlos Rogers and Jason Campbell, said the mini-camp met their expectations in terms of hard work and intensity.

"A lot of the players here were going at it, trying to make each other better," Campbell said. "Right now, I think that's helping out the rookies. We're getting the opportunity to see everything first-hand and participate in it."

Said Gibbs: "I talked long and hard to the team on Saturday, the first-year guys in particular. I told them, 'Hey, don't get discouraged, the coaches are getting to know you.' Roughly half of our team are free agents. I'm not talking about free agents that you take from another team, I'm talking about free agents who were cut or weren't drafted.

"There are stories like that all over the place. That's one of the fun things we do--is to see somebody come from out of nowhere and make the team."

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said the rookies and young players should strive to at least make an impression on coaches because, even if they don't make the team after preseason, they could be back in the mix should an injury occur.

"There will be guys who will have been with us all spring--they won't make the team, but we will draw back upon that talent pool when somebody goes down with an injury," Williams said. "We did it last year. Defensively, we were the best in the NFL on doing that. We led the NFL in the most number of undrafted free agents on our 53-man roster. So this mini-camp was valuable to us, as far as the learning curve. If we have to bring a player back, it's important for them to interview correctly so that they get invited back."

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