It was 8:10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and Jason Taylor walked out of the Redskins Park facility and headed out to the practice fields--officially beginning a new chapter in his career.
The big news of the practice was that Taylor wore jersey No. 55.
Last night, he decided not to negotiate with Andre Carter for the jersey number he wore in Miami, No. 99. (Carter was open to the idea of negotiating, Taylor said.)
Taylor decided he wanted a fresh start with his new team, so he chose No. 55.
Officially, the team has listed Taylor as a LB/DE, so his choice complies with league jersey number rules. (Linebackers must wear jersey numbers in the 50s.)
How did the first practice day go, Mr. Taylor?
"It was different," he said. "I think it was very obvious--some of the guys noticed in the locker room that I was kind of uneasy with it at first. I was kind of looking at the helmet trying to figure out what it was. After 11 years of doing something else, this is a new change for me.
"Coaches didn't want to throw me in too early and bite off too much too soon. I need to go through that initial soreness of training camp. We'll ease our way into it, and get work done all the while. I'm not just standing around."
For fans, the morning practice was cut short due to a thunderstorm.
About 75 minutes into the morning practice, fans were asked to evacuate the premises. Players stayed behind for another 15 minutes.
"I was surprised the storm came so fast and so early," Jim Zorn said. "But we wanted to be safe rather than sorry. We got everything in except for our last two scripts."
And those last two scripts, plus a whole lot more, were completed in the afternoon practice. Unfortunately, that practice was closed to the public.
Clinton Portis turned his ankle early on and was held out the rest of the morning practice. It was a minor injury, because he was back in full gear for the afternoon session.
London Fletcher missed both the morning and afternoon practices to be with his wife, who could be giving birth to the couple's second child.
Here's Tuesday's full practice report.
8:20 a.m. ET
Taylor's Jersey Number
Breaking news: Jason Taylor is wearing jersey No. 55.
And it appears that's permanent. So buy your jerseys now.
Taylor must not have been able to work out a deal with Andre Carter, who wears the No. 99 that Taylor wore in Miami.
Now it's time for practice. Fans are here, lining up along the fence.
And Taylor just walked out to practice wearing that No. 55.
He is being thrown into the fire. Players are wearing full gear for the first time in training camp.
8:25 a.m. ET
Larry Michael is appearing live on WTTG FOX 5's morning show.
He just made a very good point.
Through all of the upheaval of the last two days--Phillip Daniels's injury, Alex Buzbee's injury, Jason Taylor's arrival--head coach Jim Zorn has kept an even keel.
That's a sign of a promising coach.
8:45 a.m. ET
All Eyes On Taylor
Cameras are spending an inordinate amount of time following the movements of one Jason Taylor.
For now, he is working in light 1-on-1 drills, lining up against first-year defensive lineman Kevin Huntley.
Taylor looks svelte. He is listed at 6-5 and 255 pounds.
Every now and again, Taylor looks around at his new surroundings, taking in the scene. He sees the cameras. He sees the offense on the opposite field. He sees the fans lined up, cheering him on.
Taylor is expected to talk to the throng of media after his first Redskins practice.
8:48 a.m. ET
Meantime, Erasmus James is doing some light running on another field, watched closely by physical therapist Larry Hess and assistant strength and conditioning coach Bobby Crumpler.
James is another defensive end who the Redskins traded for this year. The Redskins traded a sixth-round draft pick to the Minnesota Viking for his services.
If healthy, he should provide solid depth at defensive end.
While James has only five sacks in his injury-plagued four-year career, he is a former first-round draft pick who has talent.
9:10 a.m. ET
Forecast must call for rain. I was just handed a rain poncho called "Take Cover: Ponchos For Those Unexpected Emergencies."
Made in China, too.
Why do I always forget to check the weather reports?
So far, there are a lot of ominous clouds over Ashburn, no raindrops yet.
9:28 a.m. ET
Finally, some action from the practice fields.
Quarterbacks and wide receivers are working on one end of the field, working against cornerbacks. Some interesting matchups and interesting results.
So far, the cornerbacks are getting the better end of it.
Shawn Springs showed great reaction, stepping in front of a pass to Antwaan Randle El and breaking up the play.
Fred Smoot broke up a pass to Malcolm Kelly, eliciting the familiar "Smoooooot" calls from the crowd.
Leigh Torrence tipped away a pass to Devin Thomas in the end zone.
James Thrash finally made a nice play for the offense, beating Byron Westbrook for a grab.
Springs again. He read the pass perfectly and showed great instincts, stepping in front of Anthony Mix and intercepting a pass. Yelled a fan: "Save it for the game, Shawn! Save it for Dallas!"
9:30 a.m. ET
I was just told London Fletcher is absent from practice. I'll have to confirm that, though.
Fletcher's wife is pregnant and due this week.
So it may be that Fletcher is about to become a father again.
9:40 a.m. ET
There's a Storm Brewing...
I'm told there's a 100 percent chance of rain. A storm is coming.
Fans have been told to evacuate the grounds, but players are still out on the field.
Thunder in the distance.
The wind is picking up, too. A storm is coming.
9:48 a.m. ET
Quick Hits On 11-on-11
Players are on the far field, so it's actually hard to see the action.
Demetric Evans is in with the starters at defensive end. Jason Taylor is not ready yet. It appears he's wearing Miami Dolphins cleats. His Redskins cleats must not be ready.
Rock Cartwright took a handoff and raced around left end for a solid gain. After the handoff, Jason Campbell faked a throw.
Campbell rolled right and waited, waited...He tossed to Santana Moss in the end zone for a touchdown. Campbell and Randy Thomas raised their hands to signal a score.
9:50 a.m. ET
The sound of the air-horn and practice is over.
In a drizzle, the players huddle at midfield, and then start to jog off the field to get out of the wet.
"Come on, get inside, get inside," special teams coach Danny Smith yells to me as I pack up my laptop and belongings in the Redskins.com TV tent.
1:05 p.m. ET
Buges On the O-Line
Offensive line guru Joe Bugel spoke with reporters at length on Tuesday.
Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas are responding well to their increased workload in camp.
Chris Samuels is participating in mostly individual drills in camp after having minor elbow surgery in late June.
Pete Kendall continues to be the backup center behind Casey Rabach, Bugel said. Young linemen Justin Geisinger and Andrew Crummey are also competing at backup center.
Jansen is another alternative as a backup center. He takes some snaps at center during pre-practice drills. But it appears Kendall is the first option.
Bugel praised Rinehart and Stephon Heyer, saying they are both having outstanding camps.
Regarding Heyer, Bugel said that last year, Heyer would rarely take his shirt off because he didn't have a chiseled physique.
After a year of working out at Redskins Park, Heyer is proud enough of his body that he was recently seen running shirt-less on the treadmill.
"He thinks he's Tarzan now," Bugel joked.
2:45 p.m. ET
The Redskins are getting ready for their second practice of the day. This one is closed to the public.
The sun is shining...not an ominous cloud in the sky.
Because the morning practice was abbreviated due to inclement weather, the team is expected to do more 11-on-11 work this afternoon.
For the afternoon practice, Casey Husband is the eyes and ears. He'll provide a handful of updates when he has time. Apologies for the infrequency of the updates.
3:05 p.m. ET
No Fletcher Again
There's still no sign of London Fletcher, whose wife Charné is believed to be in labor with the couple's second child.
Fletcher, beginning his second season with the Redskins, has one young daughter named Paige.
And speaking of pregnant woman, the wives of Shaun Suisham and Derrick Frost are also expecting. They're both due sometime early in 2009.
3:45 p.m. ET
Clinton Portis is back at practice despite suffering a sprained ankle in the morning session.
He mentioned earlier this offseason that he wanted to play "Big Man Football" this year.
He re-phrased it to "Tough Man Football" in an interview this week.
Whatever...He proved his toughness again by practicing on the ankle.
4:45 p.m. ET
Plays of the Day
Two notable ones.
H.B. Blades, having a quiet camp, put a hard hit on Clinton Portis, who jumped right up after the play.
Leigh Torrence stepped in front of a pass to Anthony Mix for an interception.