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Off-season Prep Continues: OTAs On Deck

Call it the unofficial start of the 2006 season.

Veterans and rookies alike return to Redskins Park on Tuesday for the start of Organized Team Activities, or OTAs, which run Tuesday-Thursday for the next five weeks and lead in to the June 16-18 mini-camp.

Players will not wear pads for on-field sessions and there will be no contact during drills, but there are still significant things to be learned in OTAs.

Coaches will be keeping a close eye on how quickly players are adjusting to the offense of new associate head coach-offense Al Saunders. In particular, quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Jason Campbell must direct an offense that has a new set of plays.

On defense, all eyes will be on the weak-side linebacker position, where no fewer than four players could be competing for a starting role. Second-round draft choice Roger "Rocky" McIntosh joins returnees Warrick Holdman, Chris Clemons and Robert McCune.

The Redskins' off-season acquisitions--wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd, defensive end Andre Carter, safety Adam Archuleta and tight end Christian Fauria--are expected to join their teammates in running drills on the practice fields.

Coaches and trainers will likely be cautious with players returning from injury or off-season surgery.

Middle linebacker Lemar Marshall and center Casey Rabach may be limited due to off-season shoulder surgery. (Rabach has said that a gash in his right ankle, suffered in an accident at his home earlier this offseason, is fully healed.)

Right guard Randy Thomas and defensive end Renaldo Wynn will also likely be limited. Thomas is coming off of a fractured fibula while Wynn is coming off a fractured forearm. Both injuries were sustained late last season.

The Redskins have had nearly 100 percent participation in the team's voluntary off-season workouts, according to coaches.

Officially, OTAs are also voluntary, but Redskins players are strongly encouraged to attend because of the amount of on-field and classroom instruction that takes place.

The Redskins are coming off of their first playoff appearance in six years. As the NFC's No. 6 seed, the team went on the road twice in the postseason, beating Tampa Bay 17-10 in the Wild Card round but eventually losing to the Seattle Seahawks 20-10 in the Divisional Playoffs.

At Redskins Park, there is optimism and a renewed focus on returning to the postseason.

"There is change from year to year," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said recently. "We are not going to sneak up on anybody. We are the hunted. We stepped into the playoff race last year so people are going to pique their interest on us every time they play us.

"We had to do some things personnel-wise during the offseason and we have done that. All of the coaches like getting back on the grass and getting back to coaching."

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