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News & Notes: Zorn Keeps Pushing Tempo


The Redskins wrapped up a week of OTAs on Thursday with head coach Jim Zorn extolling the team's tempo during practice.

It's something that Zorn has emphasized since last year.

Zorn's version of the West Coast offense relies on setting a tempo and establishing a rhythm among quarterbacks and receivers.

He does not want any wasted motion or energy during practices.

"I used the word 'slow' last year at this time, because that's what we were," Zorn said. "This year we are so much further along. The guys who know it, the guys who have been here immediately know what to do when they line up.

"They're using much better thought process, they're using their speed, and they're using their brains. Our QBs understand the rhythm and the tempo that we want. We're not there yet, but it's like night and day."

Count Devin Thomas and Chris Horton among those players who are well-adjusted to Zorn's practice pace.

"It has been good to get out here and compete against DeAngelo [Hall] and Carlos [Rogers] and [Fred] Smoot, even [Justin] Tryon," Thomas said. "All of the guys have been getting their work in. We had been running routes against air every day, so now we're out here going one on one and getting that good tough work in every day."

Added Horton: "I come out here every day and get better. Obviously my coach is going to tell you if you're getting better. I think I have a real critical coach [in Steve Jackson] and I kind of like that.

"He's always telling me, 'You could have done this a little better, you could have done that a little better.' And then you go back and look at the film and say, 'Yeah, I could have done that better.'"

The Redskins continue OTAs from June 8-11 and then most veterans depart for an off-season break.

For next Monday's OTA, Zorn expects to host a "skills day" in which individual drills are a focus of practice.

"We'll divide up, run through more individual drills and [focus in] on some of the elements that we try to do in bigger groups," he said.


James Thrash continues to be sidelined by a neck injury and his future is uncertain as off-season practices head into the final week.

"As far as right now, I'm waiting on his neck," Jim Zorn said. "Based on how that feels, he's going to have to make a decision here one way or the other.

"I want to be patient with that because he's a tremendous athlete and he means a lot to this organization."

Zorn hinted that retirement may be an option for Thrash.

Zorn said he expects a decision on Thrash's future will be made before the start of training camp on July 30.

Thrash first experienced the neck injury last season but was able to play through it. The injury resurfaced during off-season workouts.

"He has come along, and then he has had setbacks once he started the rigors of the off-season program," Zorn said. "I don't know where it's going to end up yet, but he is certainly good enough for us to wait and see."


Jim Zorn addressed the continued absence of LaRon Landry from OTAs following Thursday's practice.

Although OTAs are not mandatory, every Redskins player has been a regular attendee except for Landry. London Fletcher and Mike Sellers arrived mid-week after missing the first few days of practice.

Zorn called it disappointing that Landry had not reported to OTAs, but he was confident the third-year safety would be ready for training camp.

"I'm not as concerned about him missing as I am about him being a part of what his teammates are doing and the kind of stuff we're trying to implement," Zorn said.

"He's going to be set back a little bit because there may be a new concept we're trying to implement, but he's a tremendous athlete and I think he'll be a good teammate."


Malcolm Kelly continues to progress in his return from a lingering knee injury.

He participated in practice every day this week, although he was limited the last couple days, Jim Zorn said.

"That's just because we're getting him right back into it," Zorn said. "He'll be practicing next week. There's no setback."

Zorn praised Kelly for his explosiveness coming off the line of scrimmage.

"The thing I see in him is that he is learning the elementary things that, had he been able to go last year, he would have down as second nature," Zorn said. "Right now, he is in a learning mode."

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