December 11, 2019

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 Activity on Day 3 of NFL Draft

The Washington Redskins drafted three players in the first two days of the NFL Draft: OT Brandon Scherff, OLB/DE Preston Smith, and RB Matt Jones. Scheduled to have a league high seven picks on the last day of the draft, the Redskins got things started off early.

With the sixth pick in the fourth round (105th overall) the Redskins selected WR Jamison Crowder of Duke. Crowder is a smaller receiver, standing at just 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds. He will primarily be a factor in the return game and could fight for a position as a slot receiver. Gruden mentioned that he could envision Crowder as the Redskins returner Week 1 as he is a natural punt returner, but will have to be evaluated on kickoffs.

Crowder had a solid senior season as a Blue Devil with 85 receptions for 1044 yards. Crowder’s playmaking ability is something that got Head Coach Jay Gruden excited. Scot McCloughan went against his usual motto of selecting big physical individuals and also had Crowder rated higher than a similar player from the local area in Stefon Diggs of Maryland. The most noticeable name who Crowder might push to the brink of playing time is the free agency disappointment from last year, Andre Roberts. It is also currently believed that Crowder does not necessarily take Santana Moss’s roster spot.

With the 13th pick in the fourth round (112th overall), a pick obtained through yesterday’s trade with the Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins drafted G Arie Kouandjio out of the Alabama powerhouse. Kouandjio is another big guy 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, but was only projected to be fifth/sixth round pick. Kouandjio is not the most athletic or versatile player. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan will have his work cut out for him the raw talent, but there should be some intense battle at right guard between Chris Chester, Morgan Moses, Spencer Long and now Kouandjio.

With the 5th pick in the fifth round (141st overall), the Redskins selected LB Martrell Spaight out of the University of Arkansas. Although he may have poor measurables and stands at just 6′ tall and 236 pounds, Spaight is an attacking playmaker and has the potential to help out on a much maligned special teams. Spaight played “Will” Linebacker in his most recent season and recorded a team high 128 tackles. Spaight will likely take a back seat to the likes of Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley.

Instead of making a selection at the 167th overall pick, the Redskins traded that pick to the New Orleans Saints in return for the 187th overall pick and the Saint’s sixth round pick in 2016.

The Redskins picked up defensive backs in back to back picks in the sixth round first grabbing SS Kyshoen Jarrett out of Virginia Tech and then going back to the University of Arkansas for CB Tevin Mitchel. Jarrett stands at just 5′ 10” and 200 pounds but has a nose for the football and physical play especially close to the line of scrimmage. Although he will be a liability of coverage, he can be developed into a better player and can contribute on special teams immediately. Mitchel is 6′ but only 183 pounds; he is athletic with solid coverage skills because of his ability to change directions fluidly. Injuries have plagued him in the past but this might be one of McCloughans sleepers to keep an eye out for for seasons to come. Jarrett and Mitchel might not push the current secondary members of Baushad Breeland, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, DaShon Goldson, or Jeron Johnson for playing time but could be developed into long term options to take over for Hall or Goldson.

Shortly after looking for defensive back gems, McCloughan and company looked at the counterpart of the position by drafting WR Evan Spencer out of the Ohio State University. Spencer has a big receivers body at 6′ 2” and 208 pounds, but was often overshadowed by Devin Smith and the power scheme he played in at Ohio St. Spencer’s brother, Cole, is a scout for the Redskins and was allowed to make the call of selectionto his brother. Spencer’s best traits include his willingness to block on the edge as well as his quick looks for the ball after coming out of breaks. Spencer has the potential to push Ryan Grant for a roster spot as no one is safe with a new general manager in town.

With most likely the last draft pick for the Washington Redskins in 2015, the team selected C Austin Reiter out of USF who stands at 6′ 3” and 296 pounds. Reiter was named to the Rimington Award Watch List, which goes to the most outstanding center, to start the college football season. Reiter is another big body that is not currently ready for playing time, but has a chance to develop through the coaching of Bill Callahan into a solid player down the line. Gruden stated that you can never have too many big guys who can move the pile.

Gruden said they considered taking more defensive linemen but thought they already had good players and addressed other needs in free agency. Although McCloughan was the lead dog in the draft process, Gruden expressed how everyone had input as everyone was fired up. Gruden also detailed how McCloughan easily adjusted to things on the fly. Gruden also acknowledged that the Redskins were drafting good people when asked about avoiding players with arrests and/or suspension. Such would explain the passing of names like Shane Ray, Dorial Green-Beckham, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins to name a few.

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Game 8 win against the Dallas Cowboys

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 20-17 win to the Dallas Cowboys:

1. Colt McCoy takes possibly his last opportunity to start and shines.

There are many nitpicky issues that can be found in McCoy’s game from not turning turnovers into points and underthrowing Desean Jackson, but this kid went out and played a great game. Having just a mere week of practice with the starting weapons McCoy settled into the system and executed the game plan.

The Texas product returning home completed over 80% of his passes for a grand total of 299 yards. McCoy was able to get the ball to DeSean Jackson deep multiple times and the completion was the most important part. Additionally, McCoy bounced back after halftime when trailing by leading an impressive touchdown drive overcoming usual drive derailing penalties. Then after Dallas ties it back up he takes his squad right back down the field, puts his body on the line on third down to get the score on a quarterback draw.

Then after struggling to get a score at the end of the game he came out in overtime firing and marched his team into field goal position where Kai Forbath ended up having the game winning points. McCoy had a heck of a game and maybe has given his career some kind of a jolt, just probably not in Washington though.

2. Defense plays great when Romo is in, a good thing he comes back in.

How well the defense played without Brian Orakpo and DeAngelo Hall is not describable in words. Even when the ball was moved against them early in the game they were able to get stops or cause turnovers to end Dallas drives. The wheels began to come off when Brandon Weeden came into the game as missed tackles and blown coverages led to 10 points for the Cowboys.

However, as Jerry Jones wanted his prized possession in Tony Romo returned to the game, a great sign for the Redskins defense. The Redskins were able to harass Romo all game especially in key moments in the game on third downs. Not only at the end of regulation, but the defense stopped the Cowboys from getting TWO yards on three plays to end the game in overtime. The Redskins got five sacks on Romo as well as two turnovers when they could have had many more. All in all the defense did their part in picking up their best win of the year.

3. Redskins coaching staff is the unsung hero.

Not only did Jay Gruden provide a good game plan for Colt McCoy to succeed. Although several runs on first down did not amount to much on the ground, it set up deep play action bombs to DeSean Jackson. Even gutsier was his decision to go for a fourth down and one by throwing to Darrel Young in the flat. However, I think the best play calling came from defensive coordinator Jim Haslett who was able to unleash imaginative stunts and blitzes that came through in the clutch against Dallas.

Haslett used Brandon Merriweather strength as an aggressor as well as Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson to end Dallas drives with sacks instead of getting beat down the field. This attests to Haslett’s trust in his young 22 year old corners of David Amerson and Baushad Breeland who played their best games of their young career.

4. The Redskins continue to get their money’s worth out of DeSean Jackson.

Desean Jackson was NOT a big money bust under Dan Snyder thus far as he game in and game out has an impact on the game with his speed. On seven targets, Jackson had six completions for a whopping 136 yards, which could have been more if McCoy had a stronger arm. If the Redskins are to go on any kind of a run to try and make the playoffs, then Jackson will clearly play a big role in that. Moreover, Jackson will be able to contribute to this potentially high octane offense for the next couple year as well.

5. Robert Griffin III’s return has been delayed.

Many are glad that Griffin was not rushed back this season as he clearly was to start last season. Additionally, because he was inactive for this game many think he will not come back until after the bye. I think that has turned into a clear wait as McCoy has shown himself to be more than capable to play in the NFL. As a result, I expect him to start against a lesser opponent in the Minnesota Vikings last year. However, as much as the fans will give their good graces to McCoy right now, Griffin will be back under center at home against Tampa Bay barring a tragedy.

Washington Redskins Week 5 Analysis: Defensive Notes

The Washington Redskins defense had an up-and-down night against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Monday Night in the Redskins’ 27-17 loss at home. At times, they looked absolutely porous, allowing the Seahawks offense to move the ball at will, while at other times showing flashes of dominance.

The Redskins were certainly aided by a total of 13 penalties for 90 yards against the Seahawks (the majority of which on the offense), but I don’t quite buy into the notion that this is what kept the Redskins in the game.

More than likely, you’ve heard by now that the Seahawks were ‘robbed of three touchdowns’ negated by penalties. But if you actually examine each instance, you’ll see that two of those cancelled touchdowns occurred on the same drive which ultimately resulted in a successful field goal. The third occurred on a drive where they went on to score a touchdown anyways. So in essence, all in all, instead of scoring a possible 14 points on those two drives, they ended up scoring 10 points. A four-point difference is a lot different than ‘three touchdowns’.

Additionally, penalties are always an issue for the Seahawks. In their Super Bowl winning season last year, they had the most penalties in football.  To imply that if Seattle limited its penalties, Washington would’ve been blown out is an exercise in futility because it ignores reality. It’s part of who they are.

Sorry, rant over. Let’s get to the notes:

[Read more…]

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Five loss to the Seattle Seahawks

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks:

1. That great mobile quarterback, just not ours.
Russell Wilson is the epitome of what all Redskins fans hope Robert Griffin III will become again. He burned the Redskins defense early when contain was not maintained, gashing them for big play runs on the first drive that ended in a touchdown. The read option always had the defense questioning their positioning. Wilson ran for 122 yards, a Monday Night Football record, where many yards were after contact and missed tackles. The Redskins at time did a great job with their base defense but having to account for a quarterback that can extend plays was too tough. [Read more…]

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Three loss to the Philadelphia Eagles

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 37-34 division opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles: [Read more…]

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Two victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars

Here are five big takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 24-17 home opener win over the Jacksonville Jaguars: [Read more…]

Washington Redskins 2014 Season Preview Part VII: Inside Linebackers

All this week leading up to the Washington Redskins 2014 season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 7, District Sports Page is taking an in-depth look at the players that will make up the 53-man roster to start the season in a position-by-position breakdown.

In Part I, Neal Dalal took a look at the Quarterback position.
In Part II, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back.
In Part III, Joe Mercer previewed the wide receiver corps.
In Part IV, Joe Ziegengeist evaluated the offensive line.
In Part V, Joe Mercer reviewed Jordan Reed and the tight ends.
In Part VI, Neil previewed the defensive line.

Here is our preview of the inside linebackers.


Perry Riley comes up with the ball in 2011. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Perry Riley comes up with the ball in 2011. (photo by Brian Murphy)

Washington Redskins Inside Linebackers

SUBTRACTIONS: London Fletcher (retired), Nick Barnett (free agency), Bryan Kehl (free agency), Josh Hull (released)

ADDITIONS: Adam Hayward (free agency), Akeem Jordan (free agency), Darryl Sharpton** (free agency, placed on IR)

STARTERS: Perry Riley (“Jack” Linebacker), Keenan Robinson (“Mike” Linebacker)

BACKUPS: Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan

Replacing London Fletcher is the biggest storyline for the inside linebackers in 2014 (Photo by Brian Murphy)

Replacing London Fletcher is the biggest storyline for the inside linebackers in 2014 (Photo by Brian Murphy)

Perry Riley: The team’s “jack” linebacker returns after signing a three-year/$13 million contract in the offseason. Riley had an up-and-down year in the final season of his rookie contract in 2013, leading to debate as to whether or not the team would even bring back the 2010 fourth-rounder.

But with many holes, including inside linebacker due to Fletcher’s retirement, the team decided to re-sign Riley just before the start of free agency. He had a strong year in 2012 and looked to be on the rise. But although he led the team in tackles for the first time in his career last season, he seemed to regress a bit as he often struggled in coverage and, like many others, had too many missed tackles.

Riley is still young, only 26, so there’s certainly still time for him to improve and he’ll look to rebound in 2014 with improved tackling and coverage.

Keenan Robinson: When Fletcher announced his plans to retire towards the end of last season, it was immediately clear the Redskins would have a huge hole to fill in the offseason. While the 16-year veteran struggled last year, he was still the heart and soul of the defense and was truly a coach on the field with his knowledge and leadership. With the offseason acquisitions of Hayward, Jordan, and Sharpton, it was not clear initially who would fill the void on the starting defense.

As it turned out, the team decided to go with an in-house option, giving Robinson the first team reps in OTA’s and mini-camp. The third-year player has minimal experience, missing significant time due to pectoral injuries in each of his first two seasons, but when Washington drafted him in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, it appeared the team had a long, athletic linebacker that could perhaps take Fletcher’s place eventually.

While injuries may have stunted his development, it appears Robinson is up for the task in year three as he’s looked very good in training camp and preseason with the first-team defense. He will take over Fletcher’s “mike” role and will be responsible for making the calls in the defensive huddle. If he can stay healthy, he could be in line for a major breakout year.

Adam Hayward: After their extremely poor performance last season, improving the special teams units was a huge priority for Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden this offseason. The team went about this by bringing in hard-nosed players who have excelled on special teams in the past.

Enter Hayward who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and served as the special teams captain for them each of the past three seasons. The Redskins announced the signing of the eight-year veteran to a three-year deal on only the second day of free agency, indicating bringing him in to improve the special teams was a top priority. While he can fill in at inside linebacker, and has done so in the past with the Bucs, his primary duty will be to lead the revamped special teams unit.

Will Compton:  An undrafted rookie last season, Compton spent the majority of the year on the practice squad until getting promoted to the active roster in late December after Barnett was placed on IR. The Redskins did well to develop him and it appears he’s ready to contribute in his second season. Throughout training camp and the preseason, Compton consistently got reps with the second-team defense and can play either linebacker spot.

While he’s not a tremendous athlete, the 25-year-old linebacker appears to make sound tackles and knows the defense. Barring injury to one of the starters, he figures to primarily contribute on special teams in 2014.

Akeem Jordan: A free agent who played for the Kansas City Chiefs last year, Washington brought in Jordan on a one-year deal to provide depth at inside linebacker and further bolster the revamped special teams.

The 28-year-old had spent the first six seasons of his career under Andy Reid (first with the Philadelphia Eagles then Chiefs) before signing with Washington. Jordan is more of just a two-down linebacker because of deficiencies in coverage but he still figures to be a contributor on special teams.

Darryl Sharpton: A 26-year-old free agent coming from the Houston Texans, Sharpton was another one-year signing to provide depth and help on special teams. Unfortunately, the hard-hitting linebacker suffered a serious high-ankle sprain in the preseason and was placed on IR.


Joe Miller is Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins. A southern Maryland native, Joe is an alumnus of the University of Maryland with a degree in communication. He’s been a passionate follower of D.C. sports and especially the Redskins his entire life, even watching a Redskins’ Super Bowl victory from his dad’s arms as a baby in 1992. When not watching sports, Joe works at the Bowie Baysox, a minor league baseball team in Prince George’s County, MD and also contributes content for Son of Washington. You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeCoolMiller.

Washington Redskins venture into free agent waters, but not too far

The first day of NFL free agency is in the books, and the Washington Redskins did indeed pick up a couple of useful pieces, but did not make a headline-grabbing splash as they’ve done in years past.

The Redskins used the first day of the signing period to bring back two of their own: LB Perry Riley and WR Santana Moss; and added G Shawn Lauvao, slot WR Andre Roberts and special teams standout LB Adam Hayward.

Lauvao, a 2010 third round pick out of Arizona State, started 11 games for the Cleveland Browns last season and started all 16 in 2011 and 2012. ESPN reported that he signed a four-year, $17 million contract. Lauvao is graded as a good pass blocker but not as strong on run blocking.

Roberts, who spent his first four seasons in Arizona, is a 5’10”, 195-pound slot receiver. He caught 43 balls for 471 yards and two touchdowns in ’13. Roberts signed for four years and $16 million.

Heyward is 6’1″, 240-pounds and has played primarily as a special teamer in seven season in the NFL. He played for current Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris in Tampa Bay.

 

 

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