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Signs of Progress On Offense, But Patience Still Required


It's going to take time.

The Redskins are installing a new offense this offseason, and fluidity and consistency won't happen overnight.

Maybe not by the first regular season game, either.

For now, players can only apply in practice what they have learned in the classroom.

It has been a challenge because head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have decided to install the the offense all at once.

"There's a constant adjustment anytime you put in a new system," Mike Shanahan said on Thursday after the team's OTA practice. "It takes a while to get to know it. There'll be a constant adjustment all the way to our first game of the season."

"What you do there is you isolate on a game plan and obviously shorten the package from what it is right now. That way, players don't have to think, they can react. Right now we have thrown everything at them and it's challenging them mentally."

There is progress, though.

Shanahan was encouraged by how the offense performed in the 2-minute drill during the latter part of Thursday's OTA.

"It was pretty encouraging to see the quarterback and a couple of receivers come up with some big plays," Shanahan said. "We actually made some big plays as well in the 2-point situations."

Shanahan's offense has a foundation in West Coast principles, but it is expected to be run-focused to help set up the passing game of Donovan McNabb.

The Redskins ran a West Coast offense last year under Jim Zorn, so the transition to Shanahan's offense should not be a difficult one. The primary difference should be play concepts and play-calling.

Shanahan discussed the addition of wide receiver Mike Furrey, the 7-year veteran who signed with the Redskins on Wednesday.

Shanahan said the team signed Furrey to help with depth because some wide receivers on the roster were "nicked up."

"Any time you lose a couple guys, you take a look at the depth outside the organization," Shanahan said. "Some of our coaches liked the way he played, liked the way he competed. He's caught a lot of balls. He can play inside and outside--he's that type of player. Now he gets a chance to compete here."

Furrey has posted 221 catches for 2,298 yards and seven touchdowns in his stints with St. Louis, Detroit and Cleveland. He turned in his best season in 2006 playing in Mike Martz's offense with the Lions, catching 98 passes for 1,086 yards and six scores.

"I'm a guy who has been in a lot of situations and I understand the game," Furrey said. "It's always good to have a veteran receiver around because you know what you're going to get. The past seven years and what I've done in my career--it speaks for itself. It's what I pride myself on. Now I'm just looking for an opportunity."


Another wide receiver, first-year player Anthony Armstrong, has impressed during off-season work.

On Thursday, Armstrong caught a deep pass from quarterback Richard Bartel in stride, drawing cheers from his teammates. Armstrong celebrated with an end zone dance, too.

The goal for young players is to get noticed, and Armstrong has succeeded.

"Anthony has done a good job," Shanahan said. "He has some speed. He has made some very big plays for us thus far and he's right in the mix."

Meantime, the Redskins continue to wait for free agent running back Brian Westbrook to make a decision about his future.

The Redskins have offered Westbrook a contract. The Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams are also believed to be interested in his services.

"I haven't kept abreast of that in the last week," Shanahan said. "I'm not sure where Brian is at. Like I told you before, we made an offer to him. I'm sure he's sitting back and evaluating his offers and coming up for the best scenario for him."

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