Redskins making strides in Zorn's second year at the helm

ASHBURN, Va. -- Preparing for his second season as the Washington Redskins coach, Jim Zorn no longer feels like a one-man band.

As the Redskins wrapped up their only three-day minicamp of the year Sunday, Zorn said a big difference from his rookie season is that the coaching staff and players have a better grasp of what he's trying to accomplish.

"What I was agonizing over last year that I'm not agonizing over this year is just every time a mistake was made, not even the coaches knew what to say," Zorn said. "So I'm in there going, 'No, we don't do it that way; we do it this way.' And I was really one of the only guys that knew it, so I was teaching everybody, if you will, until we all got up to speed."

And now?

"Our veterans are much further ahead," the coach said. "There are a lot of good things going on. They kind of know what to expect this year. I think it was exciting to see. It was more than 1.0. It was more like Washington Redskins 2.0."

The minicamp gave Zorn his first look at the team's draft picks and a chance to evaluate some undrafted rookies and other players brought in for tryouts. One player who made a good impression is guard Jeremy Bridges, who spent the last three years with the Carolina Panthers. The Redskins scheduled Bridges for a physical and hoped to have him signed Sunday night.

As the rookies left town to head back to their respective colleges, most of the veterans will be back Monday for the first set of voluntary spring practices. The entire roster reconvenes for the start of training camp in late July.

While many players were eager to show off the results of their offseason conditioning programs, running back Clinton Portis put a different spin on practicing this early in the year on a rain-soaked field.

"It's too soon to be back. Bad weather. Swine flu going around," Portis said. "This water could have some swine flu in it, then all of us would be dead. ... In Mexico, they canceled all sporting events. They need to do that in the U.S."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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