September 20, 2019

2015 Washington Redskins Position Preview: Secondary

One of the major issues for the Washington Redskins in recent years has been the struggle of their defensive secondary unit to hold opponent’s aerial attacks at bay. With that being said, DSP finishes our preview of this year’s defense with a look at this group that has great potential to improve this season.

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Washington Redskins Return to Ashburn in Preparation for Preseason Battle with Lions

After wrapping up training camp yesterday with a quick walkthrough, the Redskins got back at it at Redskins Park in Ashburn, VA for the last time before hosting the Detroit Lions in the second preseason game of the year. Within minutes of the team trotting out to the practice field, the heavens opened up as pouring rain forced everyone into the recently built practice bubble. Lets stick with just the practice in this post, if you are interested in reading about the media show on Robert Griffin III‘s “best in the league” comments you can see this opinion post.

Similarly to in the first preseason game, head coach Jay Gruden did not previously announce how long the starters were going to play. All we know is that they are likely to play the first quarter and possibly a little bit before that but such is all dependent on the speed of the game and how many snaps there are on both sides of the ball. In the short time that the starters are in the game, Gruden hopes to see the team building on what they have already accomplished. It would be tough to play the same penalty free ball that the Redskins accomplished last week, but as long as Gruden sees his team getting better together he will be pleased.

Gruden further delved into the running back position and current outlook of the unit. Matt Jones‘s role in the Redskins offense is still being processed but Gruden termed the Florida product as currently a “relief back” in order to keep Alfred Morris fresh during the game. Behind all of the hype of Jones, Gruden complimented the work horse Morris by saying “it is hard to take him out of the game on first and second down” because he has been in such good shape. Gruden did however explain that if Jones earns playing time and shows he can be trusted when it counts with ball security, “he will get his fair share of carries”. The head coach continued his high praise for Chris Thompson describing his job execution as “excellance”. Surprisingly, Gruden likes what he is seeing on “normal downs” where he is needed primarily as a pass catching option out of the backfield. Best case scenario, all three backs thrive in Bill Callahan‘s power run game, keep each other fresh, and take the pressure off of Griffin throughout the season.

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • With all of the nonsense regarding Griffin’s out-of-context comments, Kirk Cousins nearly threw two interceptions in today’s practice. Both were dropped by the defenders, which resulted in push ups as punishment for the miscue, but would have likely been turnovers against starting secondaries.
  • David Amerson and rookie Martell Spaight started in the place of DeAngelo Hall and Keenan Robinson and performed well.
  • Although Chris Thompson has a tight hold on the third string running back position, the change of pace back was stripped during one play and was talked to by the coaching staff. Turnovers are the quickest way to loose playing time and in extreme cases even a roster spot.
  • TE Je’Ron Hamm got the bulk of the playing time with the starters today and made a couple of nice grabs. Tom Compton was indeed used as an extra blocker multiple times and even was sent out on a route one time although he was not targeted, do not expect any J.J. Watt touchdowns from the tight end position from the natural tackle.
  • You could spend all day just watching Junior Galette and Trent Williams go up against each other. Today Galette seemed to win most of the battles by showcasing his hand movement, which he was working on off to the side prior to joining in on full team practices.
  • Kai Forbath had a better day on field goal attempts after having a poor showing the practice after having a good showing against the Browns. The incumbent Redskins place kicker converted on attempts from 38, 40, 45, and 50 yards out while missing a 48 yarder. The competition is not too aggressive this year for Forbath, as rookie Ty Long continues his inconsistencies by going 2/4 with makes from 43 and 50 but misses from 40 and 48 yards.

Injury Updates:

  • Gruden noted that many of the banged up players will be evaluated tomorrow morning and decisions on who his in or out will be made soon thereafter.
  • DeSean Jackson (shoulder), DeAngelo Hall (toe), Jordan Reed (hamstring) and Frank Kearse (shoulder) were out once again with injuries. Hall wants to play badly because he wants to get in much needed reps. More realistic return dates for Jackson and Reed will come in Week 3 of the preseason against the Ravens. Gruden said Reed is NOT being held out for precautionary reasons as his hamstring is still sore and would be unable to go even if this were the regular season.
  • Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Will Compton (groin) returned to practice in limited action. Crowder will “probably not” play Thursday as Gruden wants to get the Duke product “a couple good days of practice before we put him out in the game”.
  • Keenan Robinson was held out for the first time today because of a sore Achilles injury that Gruden classified as day-to-day.

Important Dates:

  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 2 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 18 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 27 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 19 Observations

On the official last day of training camp (closed to the public), the Washington Redskins went through a light walkthrough before returning to a newly renovated Redskins Park in Ashburn. The day started with President Bruce Allen speaking to the media about camp in Richmond, new stadium talks, and what went into the signing of Junior Galette.

In a quick evaluation of what was accomplished in training camp, head coach Jay Gruden thinks a lot was accomplished and liked that the players came together as a team. Much of that coming together could have a lot to do with teammates sticking up for each other in their scrums with the Houston Texans. Despite tensions broiling over in Day 3 of the joint practices, Gruden reiterated that he will not hesitate to schedule them in the future as the pros greatly outweigh the cons that transpired this year.

The Redskins have struggled in the special teams phase of the game for years now. A lot of that has to do with the lack of an explosive return presence. Last year Andre Roberts was “consistent” as Gruden put it but far from electrifying or providing a spark for the offense. Today Gruden noted that before Jamison Crowder got hurt, he was about to outright win the return man job from Roberts, which is indeed an open competition. The Redskins will continue to experiment with the position while Crowder is sidelined with Chris Thompson, Trey Williams, and Rashad Ross in addition to the incumbent Roberts.

Additional Need to Knows:

  • Gruden said his lone regret of training camp was the injuries throughout the secondary, which prevented the defensive backs like Baushad Breeland and David Amerson from developing chemistry with the new safeties DaShon Goldson and Jeron Johnson.
  • TE D.J. Williams has played in similar offenses to the Redskins’ in the past so Jay Gruden believes the transition will be a little bit smoother, relatively to Ernst Brun who was also signed yesterday to fill the gaping depth issues.
  • When asked about if Robert Griffin III will begin to ascend as a quarterback the way his draft classmates of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have, Gruden responded with “that is the goal”. The head coach also made it clear that the team has to keep him healthy and playing to begin with, which can be correlated to his recent struggles.

Injury Updates:

  • Jamison Crowder (hamstring) “will probably be out” for Thursday’s preseason game vs. the Lions.
  • DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is out as expected this week though Gruden provided the positive news that the deep threat has regained full range of motion.
  • After hurting exiting yesterday’s practice early with a toe injury, DeAngelo Hall sat out of today’s walkthroughs though an x-ray on the area was negative. Gruden is listing him as day to day giving him a chance to go against the Lions. Hall commented the injury occurred when he jammed his toe but is hopeful that the swelling and pain go down so that he can play Thursday because he “needs the reps”.

Important Dates:

  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 3 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 19 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 28 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 17 Observations

After a costly 20-17 win in the preseason opener in Cleveland, the Washington Redskins regrouped to take part in a Saturday afternoon practice on Fan Appreciation Day. Today marks the penultimate practice of training camp as the Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins approaches in less than a month.

With the loss of two tight ends from the projected 53 man roster in the span of days, head coach Jay Gruden said the team will work out additional options “shortly”. In the meantime, Chase Dixon, Je’Ron Hamm, and Devin Mahina will have to pick up the slack. In limited playing time as a blocking tight end last year, tackle Tom Compton will also be considered as an option in running and max protect situations according to the second year head coach. Compton did lineup at the tight end position during a few plays during practice today. With Gruden not confirming the Redskins will bring in another running back behind Trey Williams and Mack Brown it is possible they can use that opening to bring in another tight end option.

Gruden thought that both Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses did a nice job on the right side of the offensive line. On Moses, Gruden thinks that he is “just becoming more comfortable on the right side” after playing left tackle in college. Gruden also said that even though Scherff is a lot better at right guard, he could play at right tackle but it is simply that Moses has progressed enough to earn a starting role. It comes down to the Redskins rather having Moses in the starting lineup than Spencer Long.

Other news on the offensive line comes from the backup center position where Josh LeRibeus was somewhat underwhelming at in the preseason opener against the Browns. Gruden discussed the idea that both Ty Larson (UDFA) and Spencer Long are both getting acclimated with the position. If the Redskins chose to hold only 9 offensive lineman on the 53 man roster, it is likely that Long will be the primary backup center and LeRibeus will be let go. Seventh round pick Austin Reiter could be the backup center of the future for the Redskins, which could earn him a spot on the Redskins practice squad. According to CSN’s Rich Tandler, Reiter was seen today already calling out audibles at the line of scrimmage, an important part of any center’s game.

On a quick evaluation of Robert Griffin III‘s performance against the Browns, Gruden noted that he had a dropped 61-yard touchdown that Pierre Garcon catches “99%” of the time. Moreover, Gruden liked the third down conversion that Griffin ran for but noted the flaws on the fade route thrown out of bounds, possibly to due “adrenaline”, and the missed third down conversion where Evan Spencer might have ran to short of a route.

Gruden also mentioned that he liked that physical runs and cuts that Matt Jones put on display last Thursday night. The head coach did however critique Jones on his developing pass protection skills, which he complimented third string running back Chris Thompson on. Thompson’s spot may be all but secured, barring injury, as Trey Williams looks to be more practice squad material.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Willie Smith and UDFA Takoby Cofield took snaps with the first team at left tackle as Trent Williams was held out (for precautionary reasons with a nagging knee injury). It has been assumed that Compton would easily have a roster spot on the team, but the reps that he is getting overlooked for may be concerning. To me I see it as the coaching staff trying to determine if Smith or Cofield deserve a roster or practice squad spot, while the production of Compton is a known.
  • Halfway through practice, the players were allowed to take off their full padded equipment. When asked about the surprise, Gruden said that it was a combination of things like the heat, injuries, and the team already having completed the sets they wanted to complete with pads on. It is also possible that Gruden wanted to give some of the fans who came out for fan appreciation day an opportunity to see some more exciting and better executed sets.
  • The Redskins did a pretty good job of putting on a show for their fans and it started with Griffin. The quarterback showed of his cannon of an arm with bombs to receivers Rashad Ross, Tony Jones, and Pierre Garcon during 7-on-7 drills. Obviously Griffin was not facing any pressure but execution in all sets is a positive.
  • We have seen Kirk Cousins score in key situations, against Baltimore on a crucial two point conversion in 2012 and most recently last Thursday on a read option take for a score. Quite frankly, no one expects for Cousins to run with the ball very much. Griffin on the other hand he is a true running threat. The former Heisman award winner has not done as much running lately but today in practice he scored on a red zone set on a designed quarterback draw.
  • Colt McCoy seems to be solidifying his on destiny as the third string quarterback after a luck luster preseason showing and then throwing two interceptions during practice today.
  • After seemingly getting back on track with a strong showing in practice leading up to another solid output against the Browns, Kai Forbath took as tep back from the consistency. The projected starting place kicker was a miserable 1/4 on kicks today, making a 33 yarder but missing from 35, 40, and 43 yards out. None the less, Forbath is still much better than NT Chris Baker who had a miserable attempt today (see below).

Injury Updates:

  • Gruden confirmed that RB Silas Redd (torn ACL/MCL) and TE Logan Paulsen (turf toe), adding to TE Niles Paul, will be out for the year. Paulsen will have surgery Monday.
  • TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring), MLB Will Compton (head), MLB Perry Riley (wrist), CB Baushad Breeland (MCL), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), LT Trent Williams (right knee), and DE Frank Kearse (shoulder) all sat out of practice today. Riley, Williams, and Kearse are new to the injury report but are to be considered day-to-day.
  • Gruden said both Crowder and Jackson are close to returning and the hope is that they will be ready to go fully by the Ravens preseason game.
  • Reed told CSN’s Tarik El-Bashir, that he did some running today on his sore hamstring and hopes to return to practice on Monday.
  • OLB Junior Galette (pec) took part in his first full practice with the team today and though he may have a shot at going against the Lions, the third preseason game against the Ravens is more realistic. Galette later confirmed Gruden’s projection of playing against the Ravens.
  • CB David Amerson (shoulder), SS Jeron Johnson (hamstring), and SS Duke Ihenacho (right arm contusion) were back at practice today.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 5 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 21 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 30 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 13 Observations

In the last practice open to the public until Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, August 15, the Washington Redskins looked to get in one last tune up before their preseason opener in Cleveland. As is appropriate for practices two days before games, the team did not go in full pads.

Head coach Jay Gruden said previously that Robert Griffin III will likely play more than a series and “at least” a quarter Thursday. Today he clarified that if Griffin has a “12-14 play [opening] drive, that could change everything”. Kirk Cousins told reporters that he expects to play with the second string offense on Thursday for possibly the second and third quarters while Colt McCoy will finish the game. That will likely be flip-flopped in the second preseason game

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • Griffin was impressive in 7-on-7 drills today, obviously without a pass legitimate pass rush. The Baylor product was 6-for-6 for 92 yards including beautiful bomb for a 50-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon down the sidelines. Griffin said today was his best day of practice during training camp “from a mental and fundamental standpoint”.
  • The defense has been dealing with more injuries especially in the secondary. Behind starters Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall, the team has a converted wide receiver and two players signed last week playing at cornerback. This has resulted, according to safety Duke Ihenacho in slower communication and also some busted coverages giving Cousins and McCoy possible easier chances to pick a part the defense.
  • Kai Forbath, for the second day in a row, converted on all of his field goals from distances of 30, 33, 38, and 40 yards out.

Injury Updates:

  • Niles Paul did not damage his shoulder structurally and will take part in today’s individual position workout. Gruden later confirmed that Paul’s MRI came back clean. It is important for Paul to stay healthy if he hopes to continue being listed as the starting tight end. Paul may get the majority of first unit playing time on Thursday as Jordan Reed is now listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury.
  • CB David Amerson (shoulder), CB Baushad Breeland (MCL), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring), TE Logan Paulsen (toe), MLB Will Compton (head), and S Jeron Johnson (hamstring) all did NOT take part in practice. You can see some footage of Breeland and Jackson rehabbing below.
  • Trevardo Williams, Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan (knee), Crowder, Compton, Breeland, and Amerson were all ruled OUT Thursday vs. the Browns by Gruden. Kerrigan is being sat for precautionary reasons after already having an offseason knee procedure.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 (at 8 PM) in 2 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 33 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 9 Observations

After an injury riddled practice yesterday that saw the likes of DeSean Jackson and DeAngelo Hall go down with a bit more than minor injuries, the Redskins hoped to complete a second joint practice with the Houston Texans without a hitch. For the second straight day, the teams had a morning 8:35 AM practice this time without an afternoon walkthrough that was canceled yesterday due to weather concerns.

Head coach Jay Gruden was visibly frustrated with all of these injuries that are keeping his projected starters from getting the necessary reps to prepare them for the season. Gruden did admit that possibly with the joint practices the past two sessions, the physicality and aggressiveness has gone up which could lead to more minor injuries popping up. For instance, Matt Jones trucked Texans CB Kevin Johnson along the sideline which fired up his team as both sides are enjoying the chance to knocking around other players (see picture below). The injuries, especially on the defensive side, however allow younger raw players to possibly work there way into a roster or practice squad opportunity with the Redskins.

Scoring in the red zone is obviously the key to a successful offense in today’s brand of football in the NFL. Gruden called socring in the red zone “one of our focal points this offseason” after a terrible display throughout last year. Even though the windows are tighter with less field to work with, arguably making DeSean Jackson’s life harder, Gruden noted that “you’ve got to have anticipation and…some luck”.

Gruden mentioned that he likes joint practices because he can see his team hone in particular situations, such as red zone drills, but against the talent from another NFL franchise. Contrarily, one might not be able to see a specific occurrence in the preseason because it cannot be scripted to a coaching staff’s liking.

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • With injuries to the top four cornerbacks (David Amerson- AC joint sprain, Baushad Breeland- MCL sprain, Chris Culliver- groin, and Hall- groin), it was up to the likes of Justin Rodgers and converted safety Kyshoen Jarrett to pick up the slack on the first unit defense.
  • Gruden was proud of the way Matt Jones was finally finishing some of his runs “violently”. Jones also had moments where he turned something into nothing after a missed blocking assignment. Overall the Florida product had “a much better day today than he did yesterday” said Gruden.
  • The Redskins are so thin in the secondary that they asked natural wide receiver Quinton Dunbar to take a shot at switching to a defender. For such a drastic change, Dunbar did a spot on job which Gruden though he might have because of his past participation on punt coverage. Although it is highly unlikely Dunbar will make the 53 man roster, the coaching staff will likely be indebtted to him for his willingness to adjust to change.
  • Scherff, at right guard, continued to struggle at time against J.J. Watt but that is acceptable. When Scherff was able to clear Watt out, it came in situations for Scherff got the proper position to gain leverage on the All-Pro defender. Watt commented that since Scherff is a rookie “there’s a learning curve”, but with a “good offensive line around him and a great coach [Bill Callahan], he’ll be fine”. Nice words from arguably the best player in the game.
  • Robert Griffin III had an erratic performance under center for the Redskins. On one series nothing went right he either was under duress or had no receivers open to get the ball to. The lone positive from that drive was that he did not force anything that could have compounded the problem with a turnover.
  • At the end of practice while running goal to go sets, both the Redskins first and second string offenses converted by punching it into the end zone. Griffin threw a pass to Pierre Garcon on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone, while Colt McCoy, after fumbling the snap, recovered and found Evan Spencer open while scrambling.

Injury Updates:

  • TE Logan Paulsen and OLB Preston Smith joined the injury report by practicing with their rehabbing teammates. Gruden disclosed that Paulsen has a big toe sprain that is swollen and was given the day off after limping even though he wanted to “fight through” as “one of the tougher guys” on the team. Smith strained his groin “just a hair” but coaches are hopeful the second round pass rusher can go tomorrow.
  • Backup DE Frank Kearse limped off the practice field with a right knee injury that would be visibly wrapped when returning to the sidelines. In a defensive line that is filled with older veterans, Kearse is one of the few younger bodies in the trenches.
  • Probably the biggest free agent signing for the Redskins this offseason was of DE Stephen Paea. Like Smith, Paea also dealt with a groin injury and missed some reps towards the end of practice.
  • Gruden noted that Amerson, Culliver, and Hall are all day to day. Jeron Johnson will be back when he can “push through it”. David Amerson may be able to participate in the last joint practice tomorrow, but could be held out for precautionary reasons.
  • It is important to note that with a lot of this injuries, they are minor enough such that players would still be available during a regular season game. Right now there is no reason to aggravate anything and as a result you see a lot of projected starters sitting out in order to get back at 100%. Gruden admitted they are “probably being cautious” with his players.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 (at 8 PM) in 6 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 37 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 8 Observations- Texans are in Richmond

The Redskins started their first of three joint practices with the Houston Texans, this years featured team on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Today will be the only day that the teams will participate in an afternoon walkthrough together as tomorrow’s was canceled due to the possibility of precipitation. Stay tuned for additional possible changes to the schedule with rain forecasted for much of the next 24 hours.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien gave us his impressions on Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. Although O’Brien may not be speaking candidly, the former Penn State head man said “he’s a good guy, a really good football coach” about Gruden. O’Brien also commented that rookie WR Jamison Crowder is quick, can accelerate, and has good instincts after the Duke product made his corner back Kareem Jackson look bad on several occasions. He can see just exactly what we are talking about below.

https://twitter.com/Redskins/status/629282083916091392

Starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, started his press conference by exuberantly stating that “I felt overall it was a great day for us. Great competition.” Griffin was at times harassed by arguably the best defender in the game in J.J. Watt, but you have to face the best in order to improve, which Griffin said he wants to “improve every single day”. Griffin kidded that he hopes he never sees Watt when quarterbacks are no longer protected under practice rules but understands it was “good for the offensive line”. The quarterback also commented that he trusts the coaches will put the best five individuals in front of him to protect him when asked about Morgan Moses at right tackle and Brandon Scherff moved inside to guard. It might just be talk but so far Redskins fans have to at least like what they are hearing when Griffin made it clear that “my job is not to pick the five up front — it’s to pick apart the defense. And I plan on doing that”.

Griffin also made a surprising, but realistic claim that joint practices are more useful than preseason games where you have to “get in and get out” without being able to establish a rhythm.

Gruden’s description of Griffin’s performance against the Texans was “ok” but positively announced that “he’s coming along…seeing things more clearly”. Gruden also discussed the offensive line situation by noting that for Moses “having a year under his belt has helped him” and as a result, Scherff getting kicked inside for Moses to start at tackle is “a definite possibility”. Unlike what some may think about spending the 5th overall pick on just a solid guard, Gruden said it is not too high of a price if he’s “really, really good”. You might remember that the Redskins passed on DT Leonard Williams out of USC who was surprisingly still on the board.

Gruden also addressed the HBO “Hard Knocks” cameras, a possible reason why the Saints backed out of joint practices with the Texans, by saying his players were not distracted because “they have bigger things” to worry about.

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • For the second straight practice we saw that Bill Callahan’s starting offensive line consisted of (from left to right): Trent Williams, Shaun Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses. Most would end up saying Scherff will not have been worth the 5th overall pick if all he is in the NFL is a good right guard, but nothing is etched in stone with this lineups.
  • Even though the Redskins tried running to the left side, away from the presence of Watt, the elite defender showed he has the quicks to move down the line and make an impact on the play regardless. Watt also made is presence felt in the passing game by pressuring Griffin while also swatting other pass attempts. Brandon Scherff was the primary blocker against Watt and though beaten a handful of times, the Iowa product also held his own.
  • With DeSean Jackson being sidelined with a shoulder injury (see more information below), Jamison Crowder got a lot of reps with the first team offense and made the most of it. Crowder was continuing either beating his defender or drawing an interference penalty. Crowder was the highlight of the day for the Redskins when he broke CB Kareem Jackson’s ankles (see video above).
  • In today’s field goal drills, Kai Forbath was three of four with makes from 38, 40, and 45 while missing from 50 and Ty Long was 3/5 with makes from 33, 36, and 43 while missing from both 45 and 50 yards out. Forbath will likely keep his roster spot as a specialist bringing back some consistency in the unit that includes big leg punter Tress Way and long snapper Nick Sundberg.
  • In a lighter moment from practice, the Redskins attempted a fake field goal pass from K Kai Forbath to RT Morgan Moses. It is clear that Moses wants to show Watt he can play tight end too. The play was ruled an interception although Moses might have wrestled the ball away before both players hit the ground.

Injury Updates:

  • CB David Amerson (shoulder AC joint sprain), S Jeron Johnson (tweaked hamstring), and OLB Junior Galette (pectoral) will all NOT practice today against the Houston Texans. Gruden said Johnson will be out a week with the hamstring injury which will put him further in the hole behind Duke Ihenacho as they fight for the strong safety position.
  • RB Matt Jones (knee) and NT Terrance Knighton (flu) have returned to participating in practice.
  • OT Willie Smith (Achilles) looks to return to practice after sitting out a few days. The 28 year old will likely see few reps, even with the second team, as he is likely behind the likes of backup tackles Tom Compton and rookie Takoby Cofield in the pecking order.
  • As if the Redskins could use any more injuries to corners, DeAngelo Hall was helped off the field as he looked to be dealing with a left leg injury. The hope is nothing serious as Hall was seen later with his helmet back on, possibly because he wanted to get back in. Hall, however, watched the rest of practice from the sidelines standing without pads on. Hall said after practice that he tweaked his knee and groin while his twice torn Achilles’ tendon is fine. The veteran corner said he was feeling tight in his leg even prior to practice but wanted to give it a go regardless because of the already depleted secondary. The optimism wore off when it was reported Hall will miss at least a week with the injury possibly ending his 2015 training camp. Gruden said Hall will be day to day with the injury.

  • DeSean Jackson was looked at by multiple trainers while he laid on his back. Head coach Jay Gruden was standing near by but did not seem too concerned with the matter as he was looking elsewhere. Jackson would later walk off under some support from a trainer. UPDATE: Jackson returned to the sidelines without pads after hurting his shoulder when extending laterally to make the catch in the corner of the end zone and practice field. You can see the full play that caused the injury below. The shoulder was wrapped, but it is hoped that the area is simply bruised or mildly sprained. Similarly to Hall, the injury to Jackson was worse than expected as it is reported that the deep threat will be out a few weeks with a Grade 2 separated shoulder. Gruden confirmed Jackson will be out 1-2 weeks with what he called an AC sprain, but left hope for an earlier return depending on pain tolerance. Although Jackson did admit the injury is currently putting him in pain (no sling), he said there is less damage than the shoulder injury he suffered last year that did NOT keep him out of any regular season games.

 

 

  • To make things worse, Gruden said CB Chris Culliver is also dealing with a groin injury and is listed as day to day. Although Amerson, Culliver, and Hall are all dealing with minor injuries, for the next few practices the Redskins may be without their top four corners (Breeland- MCL sprain) leading to others like Justin Rodgers and Kyshoen Jarrett having to step up.
  • S Akeem Davis had surgery on his broken thumb today but could still practice tomorrow in a cast. LB Trevardo Williams, who is fighting for his life to get a roster spot after the acquisition of Junior Galette will be out 2 weeks with a hamstring injury.
  • In other injury news after the Redskins waived 2015 6th round pick CB Tevin Mitchel because of his torn labrum that will end his rookie season before it even began, the Colts, somewhat coldly, claimed Mitchel meaning the Redskins could not move him to the IR and secure his contract. It was a bad luck move for the Redskins who did not, and should not, have expected another franchise to side swipe an injured player in such a manner.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here. The schedule has been updated to reflect the changes of the canceled afternoon walkthrough tomorrow due to weather forecasts.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 (at 8 PM) in 7 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 38 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 7 Observations

After an off day yesterday, coaches put the Redskins players back to work (without pads) in the Richmond heat on the eve of the Houston Texans and HBO’s “Hard Knocks” coming to town tomorrow.

Inside linebacker Keenan Robinson, who will likely be in a starting corp with Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan, and recent acquisition Junior Galette come Week 1, spoke to the media today about the evolving nature of the new defensive scheme implemented by Joe Barry. As alluded to previously by head coach Jay Gruden, Robinson described Barry as bringing a “new sort of energy to the team…he has lit a fire around here [in a good way]”. The former Longhorn, similarly to Chris Culliver last week, had a grin on his face when asked about the rebuilt defensive line knowing that the unit was a weakness last season. As veterans, Robinson applauded there willingness to listen and be coached.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s joint practice with the Houston Texans, Robinson commented that the chance to go up against another set of bodies “really helps us see what we need to improve upon heading into the season”. Gruden agreed with Robinson’s sentiments but in a coaching perspective of evaluating his players against other NFL caliber talent.

With all of the rumblings of contract extensions in the talks for Trent Williams and Alfred Morris, Keenan Robinson is also set to become an unrestricted free agent next year. Although injured early in his career, Robinson has turned into an absolute bargain for the Redskins over the past four seasons because of his cap hit of just over $765K this season. Robinson is saying all the right things by going about his business and letting his play on the field take care of it.

It has long been assumed that the Redskins will carry three quarterbacks on the 53 man roster during the regular season. However, Gruden said they will use the preseason to not only determine the backup quarterback between Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, but also if the team needs a third string QB.

Similarly, the battle for the third string running back is a training camp battle to monitor. Chris Thompson, who has previously been hampered by injuries received high praise from Gruden. “I think Chris Thompson is really starting to emerge as a third-down back” said the head coach who has failed to yet see Thompson’s full potential because of his injury riddled past.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • The Redskins were experimenting with last years third rounder Morgan Moses at right tackle with the first unit, while 5th overall pick Brandon Scherff was moved inside to guard. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said he would experiment with lineups to best account for injuries later in the year so I would not read too much into Scherff’s “demotion” during practice today. Scherff did have a nice day in individual drills when he faced off against one of the Redskins defensive line reinforcements, Stephen Paea. Spencer Long was the odd man out in this scenario after he was penciled in as the starter by many after the organization cut ties with veteran guard Chris Chester.
  • Griffin did not have one of his better days of camp, but was not horrendous. RG3 missed throws that he was making earlier in camp, including a deep crosser where the Jordan Reed was overthrown. Griffin also saw his four minute drive stalled in field goal position after progressing through 10 plays.
  • In the ongoing quarterback competition between Cousins and McCoy, McCoy was given the reigns of the second unit and was consistently sharp. The former Texas Longhorn, was not flashy or amazing by any means but was even keel as you would want from a backup quarterback. Cousins has been mostly erratic in his career for the Redskins, which could result in his demotion should these trends continue.
  • It would likely take a lot of poor execution from incumbent kicker Kai Forbath to lose his job to this years kicking competition from Ty Long, an undrafted free agent out of Alabama-Birmingham. Long made his units field goal (46) during the four minute drill, while Forbath missed his mulligan (48) after Gruden “called timeout” for the defense. After practice during the kickers competition, Forbath converted from 42 yards while missing from 43 and 50, Long made his 42 yarder while missing right on both a 40 and 50 yarder.

Injury Updates

  • Junior Galette won’t take part in the joint practices with the Texans and is hopeful that he will be able to take part in the first preseason game a week from tomorrow. Redskins personal may be easing Galette back due to a pectoral injury (not torn) he suffered earlier this summer. Gruden did mentioned that the ex-Saint could take part in some of the upcoming walkthroughs with the Texans.
  • David Amerson did NOT take part in practice after suffering an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. The positive news is that the injury does not seem to have been serious, which was supported by the fact that the area was simply wrapped and not in a sling. Gruden hopes that the ball hawk corner, who he praised for improvements, can take part in tomorrow’s practice with the Texans. Amerson worked off to the side on core skills.
  • In order to have enough bodies in camp at the position, the Redskins have worked out Bryan McCann and DreQuan Hoksey. They later officially signed both players after they passed their physicals. To make room, the Redskins waived oft-injured S Phillip Thomas and waived/injured CB Tevin Mitchel (will go on IR if unclaimed).
  • Matt Jones who suffered what could be called a minor knee sprain participated in walkthroughs without any noticeable impairments and looks to be fine moving forward. The rookie running back did go through individual workouts, but did NOT participate in team scrimmages.
  • Baushad Breeland (MCL sprain) also worked out on the side with trainers, an encouraging sign that his spirits are still high. Breeland did have a brace on the injured area but was still able to put some weight on the right lef.
  • NT Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton left midway through walkthroughs in the morning with the flu and did not participate in the afternoon practice. The team hopes he will be able to go tomorrow against the Texans offensive line.
  • Safety Akeem Davis has a broken thumb but practiced despite the cast as he knows he has to be on the practice field to earn a spot on the 53 man roster.
  • Jeron Johnson missed practice due to a nagging hamstring injury. The former Seahawk is in a fight for the starting safety position across DaShon Goldson with Duke Ihenacho.

Due to the joint practices starting tomorrow, the Redskins will move away from their previously defined routines of morning walkthroughs and afternoon practices by having morning practices at 8:35 AM followed by walkthroughs at 4:10 PM. After Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster severely injured his groin this past week, the Redskins defense might breathe a little easier while the offense, specifically rookie Brandon Scherff, will sweat over the presence of J.J. Watt.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 (at 8 PM) in 8 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 39 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 5 Observations

With tomorrow being the first off day in the training camp schedule, it made sense that the coaches pushed their players to the limit in order to whip them into shape as the season fast approaches. Although we have seen the players in pads as early as Saturday, today the roster was technically practicing in full pads.

DeSean Jackson took questions from the media and made it clear he is willing to make the commitment to turn this football team around. The elite deep threat was criticized earlier in the off season for skipping out on voluntary OTAs and taking time to film a BET reality television show. Jackson responded by stating “I’m here now, I’m ready to work and focus on the season”. As an injury update of what was reported to be a dislocated finger for Jackson, the wide receiver said “just popped it back in place. I’ll be alright” with little concern of missing any prolonged practice time.

Jackson also provided his own perspective on the talent of some of his teammates. First of his quarterback, Robert Griffin III, Jackson said “I’ve definitely seen progression” and that the more practice reps they can get together, the better. The former Eagle also noted that rookie Jamison Crowder was thrown into the fire a bit but has actually come out with some “great results”. Jackson also complimented his counterpart across the field in CB Chris Culliver by ranking him as a “great cover corner in this league”.

The subject of Griffin’s performance returned to the mainstay of today’s press conference with Jay Gruden. The head coach said, “He’s been doing fine…Overall, I think he’s handled everything extremely well.” Moving onto one of Griffin’s weapons, Gruden has extremely high praise for WR DeSean Jackson. “DeSean has been great since we got him here and …when the balls come to him, make the play like he always does” on having to share the ball especially when Jackson is double covered. Gruden also had kind words for the oft-injured but explosive TE Jordan Reed. Beyond Reed’s normal ability to be a dynamic option in the passing game, Gruden said he has most noticed his improvement in pass protection and the running game in part due to his improved strength and technique.

To continue the beat, Gruden was also complementary of both Morgan Moses and Josh LeRibeus in their performances with the first team offense yesterday, in place of LT Trent Williams and C Kory Lichtensteiger who were given the day off. It would be hard to see Moses getting any significant playing time at tackle in the future, assuming Trent Williams’ contract is extended. The guard position for Moses and the center position for LeRibeus are both adjustments that would take time beyond this season to become starting options.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Rookie CB Tevin Mitchel, who was expected to make the 53 man roster, will have surgery on his left labrum (he had surgery on his right in college) and will likely miss the entirety of his first year.
  • Rookie RB Matt Jones, who did not finish yesterday’s practice with a right knee injury, did not participate today but is listed as day to day. The hope is that the rookie bruiser will be back in full participation on Wednesday after tomorrow’s day off.
  • CB David Amerson did a nice job covering DeSean Jackson on a deep ball that traveled 50+ yards in the air. Unfortunately, the ball hawk corner fell to the ground and looked to have injured his shoulder and would leave practice. The Redskins have already lost Baushad Breeland to a 4-6 week MCL injury and 1 game suspension as well as Tevin Mitchel for the season. Beyond Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall, it is the likes of Justin Rodgers and Kyshoen Jarrett (who would have to convert from safety) to step up during training camp and possibly beyond. UPDATE: Amerson suffered an ac joint sprain and could be back at practice Wednesday if the swelling comes down.
  • OLB Junior Galette continues to work on side fields with trainers to continue practicing an ever evolving craft of pass rushing. Gruden noted that Galette was going to be held out a few more days meaning he could miss out on some if not all of the joint practices with the Houston Texans, which takes place Thursday through Saturday (8/6-8). You can see a clip of what Galette has been up to the past few days below.
  • After second round pick Preston Smith struggled yesterday, the pass rusher responded with a better output today. Smith used both power and quickness on two separate occasions to make T Takoby Cofield look like a rag doll. The Ole Miss product also had his moments as a run stopper, making life difficult for Silas Redd who saw time with the second unit as Jones was sidelined.
  • The battle for a third string running back will be an interesting battle to keep track of throughout training camp. Silas Redd has the most recent experience in the offense but does not necessarily excel in one particular area. Chris Thompson, though speedy, has failed to shake the injury bug in the past and has pass protection to work on after Keenan Robinson made him look bad in his opportunity with the first unit. Dark horse Trey Williams has track level speed but at 5-7/195, there is a big question of whether his body could take a continuous beating.
  • Arguably the most impressive performance of Griffin since his rookie year came today. Yes it is simply training camp, yes he cannot be roughed up, but his quick decision making ability in the two minute drill can translate to the regular season. Griffin was 8/8 and sharply finished the drive for a touchdown while diversifying his receiving targets.

Gruden noted that the off day should be used for a reboot for both the coaches and players, to simply get away from the game a bit.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 (at 8 PM) in 10 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 41 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 3 Observations

After yesterday was headlined by the signing of ex-Saint OLB Junior Galette and the suspension and later MCL injury of CB Baushad Breeland, today was highlighted by the first padded practice of the 2015 season.

In a post-walkthrough press conference, Brandon Scherff started out by continuing the complimentary remarks towards offensive line coach Bill Callahan describing him as a grinder. After the Redskins made a smart financial move in cutting RG Chris Chester, they are looking to fill the role through a variety of candidates including last year’s third rounder Spencer Long and this year’s fourth rounder Arie Kouandjio. Scherff remarked that he would be “pretty comfortable” if he were asked to take on the guard position. However, that would leave a void at right tackle that would otherwise have to be filled by veteran Tom Compton or last years third round pick Morgan Moses. Scherff has been taking a majority of his reps at right tackle where head coach Jay Gruden says Ryan Kerrigan is “showing him the ropes” across the line. Gruden also hinted that as expected Scherff will be the Week 1 starter when referencing that he will have Dolphins pass rusher Cameron Wake to handle.

Later in a pre-practice press conference, Jay Gruden confirmed the reports of a MCL injury to Breeland and that being sidelined 4-6 weeks is close to a best case scenario after the scary scene at yesterday’s practice. Week 2, the first game Breeland is eligible is seven weeks away from tomorrow. Breeland would later take to Twitter to apologize for a mistake he made last year as a “boy” and will continue to grind to help his team as a “man” that he grown into. The Redskins made a move to sign CB Deshazor Everett to the current 90 man roster, a possible reactionary move to having one less corner in training camp. Gruden would also remark that Justin Rogers and rookies Tevin Mitchel and S Kyshoen Jarrett will get reps in the slot at CB. During practice Rogers took snaps in the slot with the first unit tandem of David Amerson and Chris Culliver. DeAngelo Hall had a scheduled day off and Tevin Mitchel was sidelined with a sore right shoulder. Although the Redskins have significantly upgraded their talent in the secondary, the new personnel is leading to some miscommunication problems that will have to be worked out before the Dolphins visit FedEx Field in over a month.

Gruden mentioned that pass rusher Galette is still a couple of days from practicing with the team while he becomes settled in the new environment. For the second straight day, Galette worked off to the side. Today Galette was working on hand techniques with GrandMaster Joe Kim, a black belt in Taekwondo. Childhood buddies of Chris Baker and Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton have seen to taken the troubled OLB under their wing as the newest addition to their pass rushing unit of “Capital Punishment”.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Redskins running back unit worked on ball security and blocking for much of their individual sets prior to scrimmages.
  • Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, and Kory Lichtensteiger were a few notable players who were putting in extra work in after practice.
  • In our first look at Robert Griffin III in pads, he was again accurate in one on one drills where he rewarded his receivers for running crisp routes and breaking away from coverage. Griffin also had a nice play to turn a play where he was pressured into a positive dump off. Although they may be baby steps, the improvement is clear.
  • Probably the most excited Redskins player about being in full gear is the physical running of Matt Jones. Jones ran hard and on one particular instance pushed the pule ahead for a double digit yardage gain.
  • Those in the punt return rotation to start practice included Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder, Rashad Ross, and Trey Williams. It is clear that the Redskins want to protect DeSean Jackson from any possible danger although he could be called upon for a big play if the game were to require it.
  • Jamison Crowder has previously stated that his game is quickness and not as much speed. Regardless he is one of the, if not the, fastest player on the field. Today he was utilized on an end around carry that picked up a good chuck of yards before he was even touched.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 in 12 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 43 days.
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