ASHBURN, Va. -- Observations from Redskins training camp:
1. Jason Taylor seems to have settled on number 55. He wore it in Tuesday morning's practice, cut short by a thunderstorm, and he indicated he'll stay with it after talking to his wife. "We decided we will let 99 stay in Miami and start a new chapter up here," he said. "I wore 33 in college and 55 in the Senior Bowl and won the MVP there. We're all superstitious. I figured it might bring me some good luck."
2. Don't forget about defensive end Erasmus James. The Redskins haven't. Just because he's on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list doesn't mean he's out of the picture. The Redskins expect James -- who suffered two knee injuries in Minnesota -- to be ready sometime in August and to see action by the third preseason game. They also expect him to be a factor in the defensive-line rotation this fall. When the club acquired him he weighed 274 pounds; now he's at 261, and the team is interested in getting him to the 255 he weighed at the University of Wisconsin.
3. It will take time for rookie quarterback Colt Brennan to iron out his mechanics. He was productive at Hawaii, but watch him throw. It's reminiscent of someone skipping stones across the water, which is another way of saying he throws sidearm. "He's got to change a lot of things with his feet," said coach Jim Zorn. "He tries to chop his steps, and he tries to get away from center. He knows it, but we're having fun with it. We're taking what we have here, and we're going to mold it."
4. The biggest concern might be the depth at linebacker. The Redskins have three solid starters, but beyond H.B. Blades they're not sure where they go for backups. One possibility is Matt Sinclair, who had three interceptions in Sunday's practice. Sinclair is a former NFL Europe standout who should be a special-teams star.
5. Don't tell me this defense isn't ready to move forward with Taylor. A year ago the Redskins led 12 of their 16 regular-season opponents at the half, and held their last five regular-season opponents to 8 points -- two field goals and a safety -- over the first two quarters. Included were the New York Giants, whom the Redskins knocked off 22-10 in Game 14. Now get this: They did all that with only 33 sacks, worst in the NFC East. Taylor had 11 by himself, more than anyone with the Redskins.