Kelly has a sore knee. And it sounds like Zorn is not too happy with him.
JESUS, the hits keep coming
Zorn Tries To Whip Rookies Into Shape
Coach Scolds WRs For Poor Fitness
Washington Redskins Coach Jim Zorn chided Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas yesterday for their lack of conditioning and said he anticipates the injured rookie wide receivers will have a hard time having an impact on the offense early this season.
Kelly, who has hamstring and knee injuries, and Thomas, who has a hamstring injury, were hurt early in training camp and are likely weeks from a full return. Both were selected in the second round of the NFL draft in April with hopes of immediately diversifying Washington’s attack.
Kelly, 21, underwent arthroscopic surgery Monday to remove floating particles from his left knee, and Zorn said the early prognosis of a return in two weeks was “ambitious.” Thomas, 21, was able to take part in limited drills in practice yesterday but is unlikely to be able to practice fully until next week at the earliest.
Neither, Zorn said, was able at the start of training camp to pass the team’s conditioning test requiring players to complete a series of sprints within a certain time frame. That lack of preparation could lead to their muscles breaking down so quickly, he said. Players are required to run 12 25-yard dashes within a certain time (less than a minute for wide receivers), then rest for 60 seconds before repeating the 12 dashes.
“If you can’t pass that physical test that we give, then something’s not right,” Zorn said. “So I’ve been kind of jabbing at them with that. . . . I wish I could take the test just to show everybody that I was in good shape. It’s sort of a pride issue.”
Zorn hinted that the satisfaction of being high draft picks may have contributed to the players’ lack of conditioning, but said he did not know for sure.
“He wasn’t necessarily in condition to go through a training camp like this,” Zorn said of Kelly. “He really wasn’t. They’ll have to reevaluate their offseason program as young rookies.”
Given their prolonged absences and the problems many young wide receivers have adapting to the West Coast offense and the NFL in general, Zorn said they may not be able to do much in the basic offense at the start of the season. They are falling behind other wide receivers; veteran James Thrash is putting a stranglehold on the No. 3 spot behind starters Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El.
“I’ve had this happen in other places I’ve coached, and it’s very difficult,” Zorn said of young wide receivers missing training camp time. “When you interview them, ‘It’s going to be easy.’ They’re going to walk around and go: ‘This is nothing. I’ll get this right away.’
“But once they get out there and they really see what they have to do and how exact they have to be and the speed at which they have to play and the intensity — then I think they’ll see. Now, can we get them in and work them in? Yes. Will they get up to speed? Yes. But this is valuable time.”
Thomas, as Zorn predicted, minimized the impact of missing this much time. “As far as making an impact from the get-go, I don’t look at that as a difficult thing to do,” Thomas said.
Scouts from other NFL teams said they had concerns about both players being “brittle” or susceptible to injury. They said they believe that was part of the reason Kelly and Thomas slipped into the second round.
Thomas had one highly productive season at Michigan State before leaving as a junior, while Kelly battled injuries all offseason and had slow 40-yard dash times at Oklahoma. He also slid in the draft after coming out as a junior.
Zorn has been blunt from the onset about the challenge both faced trying to adapt to his offense from college, although both have talents that mesh with West Coast system.
Kelly injured his hamstring July 25 and also began experiencing soreness in his knee. He had surgery on his knee Monday and was not available to comment. Zorn said orthopedist James Andrews probably will evaluate him again in a few weeks before Kelly is cleared for full practice drills.
“The two-a-day practices, they were getting to him,” Zorn said.
Thomas hurt his hamstring making a catch July 24 — he attributed the injury to failing to stretch properly when he initially felt the tightness — and since has not taken part in team drills. He was on the field in the early potions of individual drills during yesterday’s two sessions but spent the bulk of the time working with the trainers on his own. There is a chance he could be back for the third preseason game, Aug. 16.
“It was tough coming into the training camp right away,” Thomas said. “It was an eye-opener. I definitely will be better prepared next year.” Thomas said there was a lot being “thrown at” rookies at the time of the conditioning test but conceded that’s “no excuse, it’s something we should have passed.”
Thomas and Kelly aimed to compete for the job as the third wide receiver but have not pushed the veterans.
Thrash, an intelligent player who is supremely conditioned and can play every wide receiver position, quickly wowed this coaching staff and appears poised to play more than he did in four years under Joe Gibbs.
“When a new coaching staff comes in you never quite know how you’re going to fit in the new offense,” Thrash said. “But I’ve always taken the same approach — even with the same coaching staff — and I just do the best I can to open his eyes and say, “Hey, where do you need me?’ ”
With Thomas and Kelly out for weeks, wide receivers such as Billy McMullen, Maurice Mann and Burl Toler are getting the chance. The onus will be on Kelly and Thomas to improve with haste once they can practice.
“My hope is that the younger guys like Malcolm and Devin will actually hang around and just sort of rub up right against” Thrash, Zorn said, “and then all that stuff will just ooze onto them, because he brings a lot to the table.”
Are OU WR’s cursed?
Kelly injured his right hamstring during training camp practice July 25 and has since been complaining of soreness in both knees. He returned last week to take part in some drills but was obviously laboring while on the field. He sat out Sunday’s Hall of Fame game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The surgery, performed at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola, Fla., removed loose particles from the knee.
“It has been kind of stiff. … We just thought we’d do things as soon as we can if there is a problem,” coach Jim Zorn said.
Kelly was a second-round pick from Oklahoma in this year’s draft. He and fellow rookie Devin Thomas were expected to contend for the No. 3 receiving spot, but both have been hurt for much of camp. Thomas missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and also isn’t expect to play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo.
Hamstring is not ready, book it.
For three days in July, Malcolm Kelly visited a place where few cared whether he becomes a star in the NFL. During that time, he walked without the expectations of a second-round draft choice of the Washington Redskins, for whom the 6-foot-4, 219-pound wide receiver is a promising prospect. Read more..
Coach Jim Zorn said he hopes to have Kelly back on the field next week as the Redskins begin preparations for their preseason opener against Indianapolis.
“The first couple of days, Malcolm made some plays,” WRs coach Stan Hixon said. “Devin is still coming along.” Kelly’s soft hands and blocking (which he did lots of at run-first Oklahoma) have stood out. He’s made several acrobatic grabs on bombs from Jason Campbell, indicating Kelly’s seen quality action with the first team. He has a real chance to start at split end in Week 1
*Malcolm Kelly was the standout rookie today, catching everything that came in his area. He always attacks the ball with his hands and just snags it out of the air. Another positive is the fact he is running with no sign of damage to his knees.
Suck on that Andy Hart, (I have a bet with Mr. Hart that Kelly will be better than Limas Sweed.)