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Redskins Return For Off-season Workouts

The Redskins' off-season workout and conditioning program is underway, with players on hand working in the weight room and running sprints on the practice fields.

It's the closest thing to Redskins football until early May, when the team is scheduled to host its full-squad mini-camp at Redskins Park.

Attendance in the program is not mandatory, per NFL rules. Still, players such as Clinton Portis, Jason Campbell, Chris Samuels, Chris Cooley, Casey Rabach, London Fletcher, Fred Smoot and Rock Cartwright were seen at Redskins Park this week.

Head coach Jim Zorn said that "just a handful of guys" were not in attendance during the first week of workouts.

"It's really those [players] who have in the past had their own workout program," Zorn said.

He expects more players to report for off-season work in the second week.

"There's a constant communication effort to make sure we know what [players] are doing and they know what we're doing," he said. "And as they come in, it should be business as usual."

Defensive end Phillip Daniels had decided to participate in some weight-lifting competitions this offseason. So even though Daniels is not at Redskins Park, he is staying in shape.

"He's trying to be a strong-man and he's doing a pretty good job of it," Zorn said. "He'll be around--it's not like he's going to be gone for the whole offseason."

Redskins veterans on hand are meeting Zorn for the first time and adjusting to a low-key offseason at the facility.

After meeting Zorn, Rabach noted the new head coach's enthusiasm.

"I'm excited about what he brings to the table and what this offseason is going to entail," Rabach said.

Coaches are putting the finishing touches on the playbook, but Rabach was glad to hear that the Redskins' power running game would remain integral on offense.

"That's big--it keeps us one step forward," Rabach said. "Obviously, there's going to be plenty of stuff that changes this year, but to have one thing that's kind of a constant, it's a positive in terms of preparation."

Several players said they viewed Zorn's playing experience--he was an NFL quarterback from 1976-88--as another positive.

"He played special teams--he was a holder for a long time--so to me that says special teams would be important to him," long snapper Ethan Albright said.

Smoot admitted it felt "very strange" to arrive at Redskins Park and not see Joe Gibbs or Gregg Williams.

Given the relative lack of roster turnover this offseason, there was also a sense of normalcy, Smoot said.

"I saw a lot of faces that you would see the first week of workouts," Smoot said.

As players work out, Zorn and the coaches are huddled in meetings planning out the offseason.

Zorn said he is reconsidering how much of the playbook he wants to disseminate to players at a time.

"The play selection--that's what I'm [thinking over]," he said. "I know I'm going to put in this much, but should I put in this much? Or should I put in [a little less]? I'm leaning toward my coaches to make sure I don't do too much.

"The nuts and bolts are all there. The protections and how we want to call plays--those are pretty much in and now we're just hashing it over. We're very close to what we want to do this offseason and then it's just a matter of extending it out to training camp."

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