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Shanahan Keeps Building a Foundation


The Redskins have had two mini-camps and three OTA sessions so far this offseason.

There's plenty more to come.

On and off the field, head coach Mike Shanahan has established goals that he wants players to set for themselves and follow as the offseason progresses.

"I think it's important for the players to know what our goals are, what has been done in the past, what our goals are in the future and what we've done with our systems over time," Shanahan said on Wednesday. "If they do the little things the right way, then we have a chance to do something special."

Players already have an understanding of the foundation of the new offense and defense.

Now it's a matter of installing play packages, Shanahan said.

Installation started with the first two mini-camps and continued into OTAs.

The latter part of OTAs and the June mini-camp will be review sessions.

"We've got a lot of work done with our basics on offense and defense and next week we'll install [more]," Shanahan said. "Then the next seven workouts that we have after that we'll go back and kind of review the installation of each day.

"The mini-camp will be a combination of all game situations--two-minute [offense], red zone, backed up--all of the things you normally go through in a season. By the time we get to [training camp], they will have been through it a number of times."

Meantime, the Redskins continue to re-evaluate and tweak the roster.

On Monday, the team signed veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday, a 12-year veteran who has played in a variety of schemes in his career.

"I've observed him both in a three-man front and a four-man front," Shanahan said. "I think he fits into what we do very well."

Also, the Redskins met with running back Brian Westbrook, an 8-year NFL veteran and two-time Pro Bowler, last week.

Shanahan said the Redskins remain interested in Westbrook, who has also visited the St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos.

"I'm sure he is looking at his options," Shanahan said. "We'll find out in the near future exactly what happens there."

Shanahan continued to be impressed with top draft pick Trent Williams, who was on hand for OTAs.

Williams is already working with the first-team offensive line at left tackle.

"You can see he is an excellent athlete," Shanahan said. "He's going to be a great tackle. He can play either left or right--he's that type of athlete. It doesn't take you long when you are going against some of the best outside linebackers in the league that the guy can compete on this level and he can compete.

"Saying that, there are always going to be growing pains. It's going to be a learning experience for him everyday. I like the way he has handled himself. He's come out here and he has competed very hard the first three days [of OTAs]. He picks things up very quickly.

"We threw him into the fire right away, working with the first unit. I have been impressed with him thus far."

One area of the team that may face scrutiny in preseason is the kicker and long snapper positions.

Shanahan acknowledged that, in first-year kickers Graham Gano and Justin Medlock and first-year long snapper Nick Sundberg, experience may be lacking at these often-critical positions.

"I don't think you know about them until you get into competitive situations," Shanahan said. "In mini-camp, we haven't had those competitive situations yet. I think once you get to your four preseason games and watch a guy on a day-to-day basis, you can get a little better feel."

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