September 20, 2019

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: Analysis of Quarterback Play in Preseason Opener Win

This was the highly anticipated 2015 debut for Robert Griffin III as fans wanted to see if he has actually been improving from a dreadful 2014 campaign. Griffin played well at times although things were not perfect. Kirk Cousins played well in a backup role facing off against inferior talents so he picked them apart as he should have. Colt McCoy came in with a lead and kept it that way by chewing up clock in the 4th quarter.

On Griffin’s first drive, the Redskins starter converted his first third down attempt with a nice throw on an out route to Ryan Grant, who was starting in place of the injured DeSean Jackson. Two plays later on a decently executed play action fake that resulted in the safety being frozen, Pierre Garcon got behind the defense and was wide open. Although Garcon got turned around by the throw, it is a pass that was well located and caught by all NFL receivers 9 out of 10 times. You can see the play of Garcon’s drop, which resulted in the drive to stall, below.

On the next, and last offensive drive for the offense, Griffin again converted his first third down of the series by making a decisive decision to run up the middle after seeing his first two reads covered. It is encouraging to see that RG3 did not just take off immediately or scramble in the pocket after not having anyone open. He saw the void in the middle of the field and used his athleticism to extend the drive as he should have. Later in the drive, on a boot leg that drew three defenders in heavy pursuit of Griffin, the Redskins quarterback hung in there and made a throw to Ryan Grant for a big gainer while fading to his left. After converting a 4th and 1, the drive would stall after Griffin was unable to execute a fade route in the red zone and the team would settle for a field goal.

Kirk Cousins did Kirk Cousins stuff, he came in and took advantage of the mismatches he had on the field. Particularly with Andre Roberts, who after fumbling a punt return attempt, came back to have a decent receiver performance. On Cousins’ first drive, he utilized his own athleticism by completing three passes off of scramble drills and another on a nice catch by Roberts down the sidelines. The drive was capped off by nothing other than a Cousins read option touchdown from four yards out that no one ever expects.

On Cousins’ second drive, he got help from his running game which opened things up for his quick read completions on short routes. The drive would then stall after Cousins took a bad sack because of not getting rid of the ball quick enough the team again settled for three. Coming back out for the second half, Cousins got on a roll with his backup wide receivers. The possessions was capped up with a Trey Williams rushing touchdown which would be the last score of the game.

Colt McCoy came in just before the start of the fourth quarter and played fine. After coming in backed up to his own three yard line, McCoy put together a nice drive to flip field position before turning the ball over on downs on a 4th and 2 attempt outside of field goal range. The Redskins would go three and out on the next two possessions, but that is not entirely McCoy’s fault has reserve running back Mack Brown carried the ball five out of six times for just 8 yards. McCoy would take one final knee that would run the clock out and give the Redskins a victory.

Final Stat Lines:

  • Griffin: 4/8 for 36 yards, No TDs, No INTs, No sacks, 1 rush for 3 yards, 62.5 QBR (144.2 if Garcon catches potential 61 yard touchdown)
  • Cousins: 12/14 for 154 yard, No TDs, No INTs, 1 sack, 1 rush for 4 yard TD, 112.5 QBR
  • McCoy: 4/6 for 33 yards, No TDs, No INTS, No sacks, 3 rushes for 14 yards, 80.6 QBR

Overall, all three quarterbacks did their jobs. Cousins’ performance against backups is not nearly close enough to take away Griffin’s starting job as he did throw deep into double coverage a couple times which could have resulted in his patented interceptions against starters. Cousins did however better solidify his role as the second string quarterback ahead of veteran McCoy. In the end there are still three preseason games to still determine the improvements made by Griffin and the pecking order behind him.

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 6 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 22 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 31 days.
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