September 2, 2015

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Dress Rehearsal Win over Ravens

We could write pages of the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins. Was Robert Griffin III benched? Does he and did he ever have a concussion? Who will start behind center Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins? It is too early to tell all of that regardless of the several reports saying one thing or another.

All we know for sure is what we can see on the field when former Michigan State Spartan, Kirk Cousins received the opportunity of his career to play with the first unit offense in the dress rehearsal for the regular season. What did he do with that opportunity? Lets discuss that along with the rest of important things learned about the Redskins. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Preseason Week 3 vs. Ravens What to Watch For

The soap opera drama with the Washington Redskins has returned unfortunately, things are getting bleak early and tomorrow’s showing against the Baltimore Ravens could be the beginning of the end.

After more participating in the blame game by Robert Griffin III towards the coaching staff starting with Jay Gruden regarding whether the starting quarterback suffered a concussion when sustaining several blows last Thursday against the Lions.

With the third preseason game often being the dress rehearsal for week one of the regular season, there are infinite things to watch for. Here we highlight five big idea areas to watch out for:

  • In limited playing time so far, Griffin has underwhelmed though it has not all been his fault. He had a long touchdown dropped by Pierre Garcon and had next to know blind side protection from Willie Smith. None the less it is time for Griffin to put his money where his mouth is because another underwhelming performance could cause the quarterback controversy to really heat up and lead to Gruden possibly questioning his QB1 status. Though it will take a completely dreaded performance for Griffin to be benched prior to the start of the regular season, his starting role is not set in stone as well as it was as recently as a couple of weeks ago.
  • The offensive line HAS to improve. A quarterback cannot be successful when getting hit on 75% of dropbacks as Griffin was last week. The return of the Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams will be a huge plus over the journeyman tackle Willie Smith who could find himself unemployed by final cuts on September 5th. If the young core on the right side of the line of Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses can rebound after a poorer showing last week, Griffin should have enough time. The only way to start truly evaluating Griffin is when all the pieces around him are in place as they would be in the regular season and that starts with the men that protect him.
  • When Junior Galette went down with a torn Achilles injury before even taking a game snap with the Redskins, it was a huge loss that DeAngelo Hall put it as losing the missing piece to the defense. It is hard to argue with the corner when he loose an elite pass rusher that has 22 sacks over the past two seasons. Now it will be up to the likes of developing edge rushers Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith to fill the void left by the ex-Saint. It is not the worst possible injury based on the idea that the team has solid depth at the position, but the young outside linebackers are going to be forced to grow up even quicker as they face three first round left tackles prior to All Pro blind side protector in the Eagles’ Jason Peters. Ryan Kerrigan with is locked into the WOLB position might not play for precautionary reasons after having his knee scoped during the offseason.
  • Can the offense continue to improve with Griffin reacquiring dynamic weapons like Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder? Many of claimed that missing DeSean Jackson, who has a “slim” chance of suiting up tomorrow, has caused some of Griffin’s ineffectiveness so ideally Reed and Crowder will help soften the shoulder injury to the elite deep threat. If healthy, Reed and Crowder have shown that they can create mismatches in one on one coverage which can only help Griffin in his options in the pocket to get rid of the ball more quickly. Crowder reportedly suffered a slight twinge in his hamstring and could be held out further for precautionary reasons.
  • Their are still many position battles going on the fill out the Redskins 53 man roster. Cuts to a 15 man roster will take place nest Tuesday, September 1st so their are individuals who will use the second half of the game to sustain their livelihoods. Backup offensive tackle, wide receivers, and linebackers are positions with spots up for grabs. Look for many decisions to be made based on an individual’s contribution or lack thereof on special teams after losing two aces in Niles Paul and Adam Hayward within the span of a week.

Tomorrow’s dress rehearsal will be the first time all year that predictions based on performance on a larger sample size will not be speculative. None the less do not throw any particular starter under the bus after just over a half of work building up to the start of the regular season.

Check back for a full analysis of the Redskins battling the the Baltimore Ravens after a Saturday night matchup with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM.

Washington Redskins: OLB Junior Galette Suffers Torn Achilles, Out for Season

After two consecutive practices of first unit players getting back on the field, the Washington Redskins sustained a significant blow to their pass rush today as recently signed OLB Junior Galette tore his Achilles tendon.

Few seemed to have seen the injury where Galette went down and news of the possible severity did not break until head coach Jay Gruden told reporters that there is a good chance Galette would miss the third preseason game after being on track to see time yesterday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news that the injury could be as serious as a torn Achilles injury.

Although nothing is certain yet, teammates as well as a team official or not very optimistic. Galette will see a doctor later this afternoon to start getting a firm idea.

Assuming the worse that Galette is not able to take a single snap all year after signing a one-year deal with the Redskins, it will be up to the likes of Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith to pick up the slack opposite Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan. Although this would be huge blow to the Redskins pass rush, they do have two young edge rushers that could soften the blow.

Stay tuned for the latest on Junior Galette’s injury here at District Sports Page.

Washington Redskins: Injury Updates Prior to Dress Rehearsal against Ravens

The Washington Redskins continued to get some good news on the injury front which began on Sunday. For the second straight practice since sustaining a concussion, Robert Griffin III participated fully in practice as he is able to partake in non-contact activities. Griffin will see a neurologist on Thursday who will determine if he is able to play on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens. If cleared, the former rookie of the year will remain the starter although there is now a renewed quarterback controversy by fans who are somewhat quick to pull the trigger after two quarters of tape.

Besides Griffin, Jordan Reed (hamstring), DeAngelo Hall (toe), and Trent Murphy (hip) all returned to full practice. Trent Williams (foot) says that he is good to go for Saturday’s game, which is music to Griffin’s ears after the beating he took as a direct result of backup tackle Willie Smith.

DeSean Jackson (shoulder) was for the second straight practice not in pads during practice and head coach Jay Gruden said that although the team was hoping the deep threat could go this week, there is only a slim chance he suits up against the Ravens. Despite missing Jackson, the team is hopeful that fourth round selection Jamison Crowder (hamstring) can make his Redskins debut on Saturday.

Speaking of Redskins debuts, OLB Junior Galette (pectoral) seems fired up to get some playing time even if it is just the preseason. The ex-Saint would be on a snap count if he is allowed to play, but it will be exciting for everyone to see the bookends of Galette and Ryan Kerrigan develop into what many expected with Brian Orakpo. After sitting out the first two preseason games for precautionary reasons after having his knee scoped, Kerrigan is expected to suit up.

Safety Akeem Davis (grade two hamstring) and DE Frank Kearse (shoulder) have already been ruled out for the third preseason game by Gruden.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 4 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 11 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 19 days.

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Home Opener Win over Lions

GRIFFIN CONCUSSED AFTER HIT REPEATEDLY BEHIND WEAK LINE

Another costly preseason victory for the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III left the game on his fourth series with a concussion and right shoulder stinger, though head coach Jay Gruden said RG3’s shoulder is “okay”. Griffin had no time all night as he was hit on six of eight drop backs, the result of using inconsistent  Willie Smith at left tackle and Brandon Scherff still just being a rookie in this league. You can see all the vicious blows Griffin took last night as well as the play he got hurt on below.

Besides Robert Griffin III, who could be out for upwards of a week and possibly not ready for Week 1 of the regular season, the Redskins also lost another special teams stud. Adam Hayward went down on kickoff coverage with a knee injury that many are reporting is a torn ACL, which would place him on the IR for the second straight year (tibia fracture). Having already lost Niles Paul last week to a dislocated and fractured ankle, the Redskins will put a premium on special teams play to round out their 53 man roster.

The quarterback play was similar to last week against the Browns. There is simply too small of a sample size to evaluate Griffin, who now may be out for the foreseeable future. The small part did he did play looks awful much in part to the fact he was hit on six out of eight drop backs with only one, in which he got hurt, being his fault. For those who will bash Griffin, they will get their chance to see Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy battle it out on the practice field while RG3 is out. Both backup quarterbacks played well last night; however it all must be taken with a grain of salt as they were playing against a backup secondary who were giving up open soft spots left and right.

The running backs were one of the lone bright spot for the Washington Redskins. After only providing 24 yards of support on seven carries for Griffin, also possibly the result of a weaker offensive line, we saw explosive runs behind the backup line. Rookie Matt Jones got things started with a 24 yard rumble up the middle with a good cut to make a defender miss mid way through. Chris Thompson also had a nice run around the right side and similarly to Jones made a defender go for a slip and slide ride with a smooth cut. Finally, the speedster Trey Williams put his track like ability on display with a 38 yard run down the right sideline. Although the Redskins combined for a whopping 179 yards on the ground on 40 carries, 81 of them came from these big plays.

Again the starting defense was shaky coming out of the gates. Yes they were missing the likes of DeAngelo HallBaushad BreelandRyan Kerrigan, and Junior Galette, but fundamentally they were not getting the job done. Throughout the game the Redskins could not sustain tackles and bring the ball carrier to the ground individually. From the starters, Keenan RobinsonDavid Amerson, and Chris Culliver were all guilty of that. The nice part however was the rest of the defense’s swarming to the football to make the additional yardage gain minimal through gang tackling.

The up and down nature of the starting defense continued with the coverage in the passing game. At times Matthew Stafford, without arguably the best receiver in the game Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, was simply dissecting the gaps in the defense (similarly to how Cousins and McCoy would return the favor). The Lions quarterback had four passes, out of his eight, for double digit yard gains. In the end the Redskins defense did a decent job preventing the Lions from entering the red zone. Both drives stalled for the Lions and they settled for a 49 yard Matt Prater field goal over the course of their two drives. Jason Hatcher was a key pass rusher in stalling both drives as he twice hurried Stafford into not converting on third down.

Now lets take a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling as the Redskins continue their evaluation process to cut their roster to 53 players by Saturday, September 5th.

  • UP: Tackle Tom Compton. With all the problems on the offensive line yesterday, Compton who was used multiple times as a blocking tight end (trying to fill the void of Logan Paulsen), did an effective job. The backup lineman has the mobility to sustain blocks down field which allowed Alfred Morris to gain a 10 yard clip on the opening possession. With Brandon Scherff moving to guard, opening an extra roster spot at tackle, Compton is all but a lock for the final roster.
  • DOWN: Tackle Willie Smith. For Gruden to say Smith played “pretty good” is laughable. The tackle was playing in place of Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams who could have gone it it were a regular season game. Smith was beat repeatedly. Three times Lions defenders got clean shots on Griffin around the outside. Smith was bailed out the fourth time from the fact that Scherff got blown up quicker than he did. If Ty Nsekhe shows he is the least bit competent in being a backup tackle, the journey man Willie Smith will continue his journey right out the door.
  • UP: Punter Tress Way. Arguably the Redskins most worthy player of a Pro Bowl of All-Pro selection might just be their dynamite punter. In a special teams that has been horrendous over the years, the Redskins might have found their changer in field position for the next five years. Way led the league in gross punting average at 47.5 yards. Last night Way averaged 51 yards on four punts and helped his coverage team with directional punts that helped limit punt return yardage to a total of 13 yards.
  • DOWN: Guard Brandon Scherff. Yes he is a rookie and yes he was not the only problem on the offensive line, but the 5th overall pick was absolutely bull rushed straight back into Griffin on a drop back. If Scherff is going to worth the value of his draft pick, he MUST at least develop into a above average guard where he supposedly more suited to start his development. Scherff also had a somewhat tough time on running plays as the Redskins got no substantial runs running to the right where he anchors the line with Morgan Moses. Scherff would say postgame that the play of the offensive line is “unacceptable” and says he needs to work on “everything”.

Everything moving forward will depend on the recovery timetable set for Griffin who has to pass the league’s strict concussion protocol before being able to do any work in practice. Head coach Jay Gruden has already come out and said he imagines Griffin to still be the starter. This might be frustrating for some who want to see Cousins or maybe even McCoy to get another shot at the starting job, but to me you cannot give up on Robert yet even though this is his third straight year with an injury.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 8 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 15 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 23 days.

 

Washington Redskins 2015 Season Position Outlooks: Linebackers

The Washington Redskins linebacking core last year was mediocre at best. As fine of a year as Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan had with 13.5 sacks, the rest of the unit was pretty underwhelming. The Redskins got nothing out of oft-injured Brian Orakpo and rookie Trent Murphy who was rushed into a starting role that he was not ready for. This year with the addition of talented OLB Junior Galette and a much improved defensive line, the outlook is brighter.

If there is one thing that is a positive out of the linebacking core than probably no other unit on the team has is its youth. Adam Hayward, 31, is the only player projected to make the team that is over 27 years old. It starts with the probable starters Galette and Kerrigan, both 27, on the ends with Keenan Robinson, 26, and Perry Riley, 27, inside. Then the Redskins can fill in young developing role players in second round picks Trent Murphy, 24, and Preston Smith, 22, outside of Will Compton, 25, and Martell Spaight, 22, on the inside.

This is the way that a developing team works, having starters in the prime of their career with younger players getting ready to take over in the years to come. The current format also allows the Redskins to have fresh bodies at all times without missing a beat. Furthermore, they will not be paralyzed if someone goes down with an injury because of the depth they have across the unit.

With bookends of Galette and Kerrigan, two guys who have a combined 44 sacks over the last two seasons, you can expect opposing quarterbacks to have to step up in the pocket to avoid the corner rushes. If teams decide to double the outside rushes, you can expect big sack numbers from Jason Hatcher and Stephen Paea up the middle. In the end, it should be a win-win for the Redskins pass rush if everything goes to plan.

Inside, it is up to Robinson and Riley to shadow backs and tight ends in the passing game while filling gaps in the run game. They will likely reap the benefits of coming unblocked in the running game due to the improved defensive line, but will still have to react quickly to mismatches the other team took advantage repeatedly last year in the passing game. It will also be key for the duo to make sure all the plays are understood correctly by their teammates on a defense that could see up to 6 new starters Week 1. These fundamentals will have to be worked out during the remaining preseason games.

Thanks to the defensive line and addition of Galette, we should see an improvement from the linebackers this season that should lead to more competitive games.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart:

  • SLB (Strong Side): Junior Galette, Trent Murphy
  • MLB (Mike): Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martell Spaight
  • MLB (Jack): Perry Riley, Adam Hayward
  • WLB (Weak Side): Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith

Washington Redskins 2015 Season Position Outlooks: Defensive Line

After taking a look at the Washington Redskins positional outlooks on the offensive side of the ball last week, DSP takes a look at the defensive side of the ball starting none other than the defensive line in the Redskins 3-4 system.

When General Manager Scot McCloughan came to town, he made it clear that he wants big nasty physical guys playing for him. That starts with beefing up the guys in the trenches, the ones battling at the line of scrimmage: the linemen. McCloughan made one noticeable addition to the offensive line with the drafting of 6′ 5” 319 pound Brandon Scherff as well as letting wore-down veterans Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus to move on. However, on the defensive line McCloughan loaded up with quality veterans while, similarly to the offensive side, removing the past their prime players like Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen.

So lets meet the new Redskins on the defensive line:

  • Ricky Jean-Francois signed a three year $9 million deal with the Redskins this offseason as McCloughan’s first noticeable addition to the team via free agency. Francois was a gem of a draft pick by McCloughan in the seventh round of the 2009 Draft while in San Francisco and after getting cut by the Colts, McCloughan scooped up one of his earlier prizes for pennies on the dollar. Francois will likely be a backup defensive end but will see plenty of playing time in the rotation that head coach Jay Gruden hinted to recently to keep the older linemen fresh.
  • Stephen Paea inked a four year $21 million deal with the Redskins and is probably the biggest prize for Washington this year. The former Bear was simply an individual that McCloughan had his eye on when he was originally drafted in 2011 as an athlete with incredible strength. After starting no games in his rookie season, Paea was the Bears starting defensive tackle for 83% of their games in the past three years. The former Oregon State Beaver is coming off of a career year with 6 sacks, 24 tackles, 3 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles.
  • Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton agreed to a one year $4 million deal with Washington towards the end of free agency which may end up being one of the biggest steals of the year. Pot Roast might not be the flashiest players but at 340 pounds he demands a double team and is one of the elite run stoppers in the NFL. Knighton will not fill up the stat sheet because be is neutralized with double teams, but it allows others around him to make a play on a free run or stunt that the former Bronco created.

With the likes of Coefield, Bowen, and also former second round pick Jarvis Jenkins gone, the familiar faces that remain include last year’s prized free agent signing Jason Hatcher, Knighton’s buddy Chris “Swaggy” Baker, long time Redskins veteran Kedric Golston, and well traveled Frank Kearse.

One can expect Hatcher to join Knighton and Paea as the starters on the line with Francois and Baker getting lots of playing time as well. Although Golston and Kearse will both see consistent playing time, they will likely be the least used of the seven big bodies

After getting next to no pressure on opposing quarterbacks last year without blitzing, McCloughan has done an impressive job retooling one of the many weaknesses from last year. You will probably not see too much of an improvement from the line based on statistics. But if one sees a noticeable increase in the number of sacks from the rest of the defense, a decrease in the yards allowed per rush, and the observation of more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, you can thank the defensive line.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart:

  • RDE: Jason Hatcher, Frank Kearse
  • NT: Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker
  • LDE: Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois, Kedric Golston

Be sure to check back in tomorrow for an outlook on what can be expected out of the linebacking core highlighted by recently extended OLB Ryan Kerrigan.

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Play of Rookies in Preseason Opener Win

Washington Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan stated prior to the 2015 NFL Draft that he would like to have 10 picks. McCloughan got his wish as the Redskins reached double digit selections.

Sixth round pick CB Tevin Mitchel is no longer on the team after he tore his labrum that will cost him his rookie season. The team hoped to have him clear waivers before placing him on IR but the Colts sniped him away.

WR Jamison Crowder did not play yesterday with a hamstring injury, while sixth round pick WR Evan Spencer seventh round pick C Austin Reiter played sparsely.

5th overall pick Brandon Scherff made his pro debut at right guard and did alright. There were no major coverage busts, which the former Hawkeye is somewhat insulated from at guard. At times Scherff was pushed back into the backfields, in one particular case Randy Starks (out of Maryland) won the battle. Scherff admitted that at guard he is learning to get his hands in quicker. Scherff appreciates the help from the other players and is still working to complete the trainsition not only to guard but also from college to pros where he admits the speed intensity is increased,

Second round pick Preston Smith saw a lot of playing time because the team was without Ryan Kerrigan and Junior Galette. The former Ole Miss pass rusher got his feet wet with a game high five tackles and a sack late in the game where he made a former seventh round pick in 2013 Michael Brown look foolish (see below). As long as Smith keeps this up, he will be a quality pass rusher in the rotation at outside linebacker and may be able to start in place of Galette come next season if the former Saint is not resigned.

Matt Jones is as advertised, a physical runner with underrated speed. The Florida product had runs of 23 and 12 yards that were highlighted by a spin move, speed to the outside, and impressive finishing of blocks. The rookie would come out of the game with a suspected concussion but quickly cleared the protocol. You can checkout how Jones’ night lines up with the rest of the Redskins backfield here.

Fourth round pick Arie Kouandjio has now been moved to the second reserve guard for the team behind Spencer Long once Scherff was moved to guard. It is a good think because the Alabama product is definitely not ready to start as he is still struggling against other backups. In the screen game, he was twice slow to block his man resulting in a total of 12 yards lost. Kouandjio is a big body to run behind but has to develop other tools to become a better player.

Martrell Spaight was the SEC’s leading tackler last year for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Along with Will Compton, Spaight hopes to backup the starting middle linebackers of Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley. The fifth round selection has nice form tackling and finished with 3 solo and 2 assist tackles. Spaight will likely earn a roster spot if he continues to play hard on special teams as we saw glimpses of yesterday when he stopped Shane Wynn in his tracks at the 14 yard line off of a kickoff.

Kyshoen Jarrett was drafted as a safety in the sixth round out of local Virigina Tech and was at times used at slot corner during practice because of his length and lack of bodies at the position. Because of this versatility, Jarrett could make the team. Last night he finished with just two tackles and a pass deflection with solid coverage in support of other reserve secondary players.

Evan Spencer was penciled in as some to be the sixth wide receiver on the roster prior to this game, but for some reason or another Spencer got very few reps even with the backups. In his lone target, the ball was thrown to far up field by Robert Griffin III on a third down attempt that could have been a result of Spencer running to shallow of a route, not beyond the sticks. Spencer has been noted to possibly help out on special teams, but in his one chance to make an impact he over pursed the returner who went on to return the kickoff 54 yards.

Austin Reiter was selected as a center out of the University of South Florida, possibly to provide a bit of depth behind starting center Kory Lichtensteiger. Reiter saw little playing time during the game and could not be thoroughly evaluated during his limited snaps late in the game. If Reiter were to make this football team, it will likely mean that the coaching staff feels more confident in his ability to backup Lichtensteiger than 2012 third rounder Josh LeRibeus.

The rookies performed well last night and the top four picks of Scherff, Smith, Jones, and Crowder should all be a big part of the Redskins team moving forward in the regular season.

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.

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 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.
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