Systematic changes for Redskins NFL TRAINING CAMP REPORT

July 29, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Defensive coordinator Ron Lynn couldn't be happier the way the Washington Redskins players are adapting to his new system.

Brought in by new head coach Norv Turner, he has the daunting task of replacing Richie Petitbon. Despite Petitbon's ill-fated 10 months as Redskins head coach, he was always considered one of the game's best defensive coordinators.

Lynn said the players have been receptive to his techniques and ideas, which include more blitzing.

"Some of these guys have been in the same system forever," he said. "They've been more than willing to do it [the new system]. You haven't had to put a gun to somebody's head. There hasn't been any, 'Well, geez, we always did it this way' type of thing."

Privately, though, it may be a different matter. According to safety Danny Copeland, who retired in May, the veteran players have had difficulty adjusting. "I don't think most of them are getting a good grasp of what Ron's trying to do," he said.

Copeland said Lynn doesn't explain his concepts well to the players and does more yelling than they were accustomed to in the past.

"With Richie Petitbon and Larry Peccatiello [who replaced Lynn in Cincinnati], they took pride in having a cerebral defense," Copeland said.

Copeland said they also didn't like it when Lynn told them, "I'm here because you were 4-12 last year."

Conceding the new defense "is like learning a new language," Lynn said he's even tried to refer at times to the old terminology to make it easier for the players to understand. It's not surprising that none of the veterans still on the team was willing to publicly agree with Copeland.

Darrell Green said: "It's not fair for Danny to be saying that. There hasn't been any grumbling or griping. If we have failure, it won't be because the coaches and players are on two different pages."

Retiring?

Tony Casillas, who signed a four-year, $6 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs in April that included a $1.2 million signing bonus, may be forced to retire because of a health problem. He is undergoing tests for high blood pressure and has yet to report to training camp.

Contract limbo

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Trev Alberts, the fifth player picked in the draft, is in contract limbo. He signed a six-year, $8.275 million deal with a $3.275 million signing bonus Tuesday and participated in one practice before the NFL ruled some of the clauses in the contract violate the bargaining agreement.

He missed three practices before returning to practice yesterday, even though he hadn't gotten official permission.

"I'm very confused, and I guarantee you I don't know anything about it," said Alberts, who added that he is thinking about leaving camp until the situation is settled.

As soon as the Alberts deal is reworked, quarterback Heath Shuler of the Redskins will be the only unsigned rookie in the top five.

The two sides are expected to make a major effort to get Shuler in camp by Monday so he doesn't miss another week. On Aug. 8, the Redskins begin a string of three exhibition games in 11 days and next week will be the last full week of training camp practice time.

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