December 17, 2018

Washington Redskins: Week 4 Wednesday Press Conference Wrap Up

After the Washington Redskins were forced to put two more players on season ending injured reserve on Tuesday, the team got back to business with their eyes set on a matinee matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Here you will find everything you need to know from Wednesday’s practice including what head coach Jay Gruden and starting quarterback Kirk Cousins had to say. For a complete update on all the injury concerns for the Redskins this week, click here.

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Washington Redskins: G Shawn Lauvao and CB Justin Rodgers Placed on Injured Reserve

REDSKINS CONTINUE TO LOSE KEY PIECES TO STARTING LINEUP, SEASON OVER FOR LAUVAO AND RODGERS 

The Washington Redskins have placed guard Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and reserve cornerback Justin Rodgers (foot) on the season ending injured reserve list today. In corresponding moves, the Redskins have promoted converted receiver CB Quinton Dunbar and signed ILB Mason Foster to the 53 man roster. Foster was part of the group of linebackers Washington worked out yesterday. To replace Dunbar on the practice squad will be this year’s seventh round pick center Austin Reiter.

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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 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: Analysis of Preseason Opener Win over Browns

The Washington Redskins came back to defeat the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener 20-17. Although it might be nice to win, the meaningless victory came at a steep price due to injuries. Both tight end Niles Paul and running back Silas Redd had to be carted off the field with ankle and knee injuries, respectively.

Head coach Jay Gruden has said disclosed that Paul is OUT for the remainder of the season due to a fractured/dislocated ankle, see . Last year Griffin had a similar injury but avoided the fracture as his ligaments were still in place. This is not only devastating news to Paul who was penciled in as the starting tight end, but for the team as well because of the possible season ending toe injury for blocking tight end Logan Paulsen.

With the injury prone Jordan Reed already nursing a sore hamstring that kept him out of last nights game, expect the team to add another tight end to the roster. Chase Dixon is one of the last tight ends standing for the team and had one nice catch and run in the game. And although it seemed preposterous before, the chances of former Redskin and ESPN980 commentator Chris Cooley getting a call have gone up slightly.

As for Redd, we are still waiting on the official MRI results but the team is seriously worried about possible ligament tears to the ACL and/or MCL. Unfortunately for last year’s third string running back, Redd will likely not even be able to earn a practice squad spot though the team may waive injury him in order to place him on injured reserve.

Now to the game. Things could have gone better for the starters but things were certainly not terrible. After the quarter, where the 15 minutes were played primarily by projected Week 1 starters, the Redskins were outscored 7-3. Things could have easily been different if Pierre Garcon makes the play on a catchable deep ball that would have resulted in a touchdown. Defensively, Chris Culliver was incorrectly penalized for pass interference, could have easily been called offensive, that resulted in a 35 yard penalty and eventually a Browns touchdown.

Now lets get to the quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III played ok, Kirk Cousins played great (take it with a grain of salt as he was playing a backup defense), and Colt McCoy played the role of a game manager to close out the victory. For a full analysis of the all three quarterbacks performance click here.

For the running backs, who are probably still getting acclimated with the power running game of of offensive line coach Bill Callahan showed out well by gaining 133 yards in the game. Alfred Morris did his usual thing always picking up positive yardage and converted a 4th and 1. Matt Jones had a couple of highlight runs before not re-entering the game after passing the concussion protocol. Trey Williams had his moments including a touchdown run, but did not do much to overtake Chris Thompson‘s current third string running back spot. You can find a full analysis of the Redskins backfield performance here.

Overall the defense did a fairly good job considering the Browns started in Redskins territory three times (twice off fumbles, once after long kickoff return) and also had a pass interference go against Culliver early on. The defense as a unit throughout the game gave up 170 yards and no points when not put in a tough position. The increase in pressure on the quarterback, with blitzing, was evident as the team notched five sacks and many more hurries that were alluded by the scrambling of Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel. The unit also totaled 7 pass deflections and one turnover on a nice last second reaction by safety Akeem Davis on a pass the went through the intended receivers hands.

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 Friday, September 4th.

  • UP: WR Rashad Ross. Arguably the fastest player on the team behind maybe DeSean Jackson, the Arizona State product showed he wants to be the sixth wide receiver on this roster. Ross finished with 5 receptions, on 7 targets, for 68 yards. Behind the likes of Jackson, Garcon, Andre RobertsJamison Crowder, and Ryan Grant, there is likely just one wide receiver position remaining on the roster. Many have penciled in sixth round pick Evan Spencer out of Ohio State in the role, but Ross looks to change that and will if he keeps up this performance.
  • DOWN: WR Andre Roberts. Although the former Cardinal led the way with a game high 71 yards receiving on four receptions, a mighty miscue in the return game is what lands him on this list. The Redskins were highly criticized for not only their special teams coverage but also returns last year as they ranked near the bottom in the league in the field position battle. Roberts played the primary role has both the kickoff and punt returner. Last night, Roberts did a little too much dancing east and west and was stripped from behind giving the Browns a short field. Roberts will make the roster simply because he signed a 4 year $16 million deal last offseason, but the miscues have to be corrected for consistent playing time.
  • UP: K Kai Forbath. After having a rough start to training camp that Gruden called “puzzling”, the former Lou Groza award winner is returning to his accurate nature as his confidence continues to mount. After making a 33-yard field goal, not the same distance as an extra point, Forbath also nailed a 52 yard attempt just before halftime. This drew a double arm pump into the air from Gruden who was definitely excited for his kicker. Now if only he could get more distance on his kickoffs.
  • DOWN: G Arie Kouandjio. The rookie fourth round pick out of Alabama was reported early on to possibly push Spencer Long for the starting position at right guard. Everything changed once Brandon Scherff was kicked inside making Kouandjio the backup right guard in last nights game. Twice Kouandjio was slow to get outside on screen passes which meant his man had a free shot at Chris Thompson resulting in a total net of -12 yards. Kouandjio will likely make the team with Long as the backup guards because he is not being pushed too hard by Josh LeRibeus, but improvements will surely be addressed in practice.

There is a lot for the coaches to look at from this game and make improvements on in practice to see development in the rest of the preseason. Excluding the terrible injuries to both Paul and Redd, there were pleasant bright spots for the Redskins to take away.

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 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 Minicamp, Day 1 Practice Observations

Today marked the first mandatory offseason practice of the 2015 season and all healthy Washington Redskins players took part including DeSean Jackson, who was excused from portions of the voluntary OTAs. As a reminder, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) prohibits live contact during minicamp practices as well as the use of equipment pads. Minicamp is a three day set of practices before a six week layoff that build up to the start of training camp starting in the end of July.

Coach Jay Gruden has been nothing of complimentary to his coaching staff and has reiterated that he loves all of their enthusiasm, much of that was on display today. To start the practice, special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica, a holdover from last year, had his unit working on punt and kickoff coverage while the other starters were still stretching out.

New defensive backs coach Perry Fewell was described as a great person that has been productive in all situations according to Gruden. The head coach laughingly conveyed that coming from the Giants, the Redskins might have an edge against the division foe in the coming season. Gruden also spoke about Fewell’s boss’s energy, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry, which he described as “a consistent upbeat, positive influence on our team and he’s always coaching”. Although contact is not allowed, Barry installed a tackling drill that featured shedding a blocker, hitting a tackling dummy, and landing on a large pad. In a lesser known addition to the coaching staff, Assistant Strength & Conditioning/Skill Development Coach Joe Kim was given praise by Coach Gruden because of his past experience in developing the pass rush of the likes of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

As Gruden had stated during OTAs, Bill Callahan, new offensive line coach, is effective in his hands-on style of teaching. The lineman guru, who turned the Cowboys line into arguably the best unit in football last year, was under center taking snaps during positional drills to get a perfect view of his unit’s progress. In case you missed it, the current starting offensive line with Trent Williams currently sidelined is (from left to right): Tom Compton, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Spencer Long, and Brandon Scherff.

Per usual, starting quarterback Robert Griffin III headlined talks both on and off the practice field. Griffin has shown noticeable improvement in his reads since a miserable performance throughout the season last year. When given the time, Griffin surveyed all of his options and make the right reads and accurate throws to his receivers. During 11-on-11 scrimmage, he hit Pierre Garcon for a 15-yard gain, while hitting DeSean Jackson along the sidelines during 7-on-7 drills to beat newly acquired corner Chris Culliver. Griffin later had a 70-yard touchdown bomb to Andre Roberts during the one minute drill; granted Baushad Breeland fell down in coverage, but the former offensive rookie of the year may have missed that read last season.

Coach Gruden continued the same tune that Griffin has been getting a little better each and every day and that is exactly what they ask from him. Griffin was described as starting to have confidence in the pocket by “doing a great job of exhausting all of his progressions, playing the quarterback position with good fundamentals”. Gruden did admit that it is likely that Griffin’s second go-round in a more complex system has helped his development. The second-year head coach went so far to call Griffin a “very gifted quarterback” and chuckled when explaining that “Robert’s going to be Robert” when the pocket breaks down insinuating the use of the former track star’s mobility.

There was little to talk about in the battle for the backup quarterback job. Kirk Cousins was given the opportunity to start with the second unit in 11-on-11 drills, but it seems to be alternating from back in OTAs so do not read too much into it. Cousins did a solid job when practicing as he repeatedly put the ball where it needed to be. The Michigan State product also showed his fleet of foot by avoiding a miscommunicated blitz and completing the play. Cousins’s lone miscue was missing rookie receiver Colin Lockett, who tipped a pass into the bread basket rookie corner Tajh Hasson for an interception.

Colt McCoy was also efficient in dissecting many of the undrafted free agents the Redskins brought into camp. Both backup signal callers received help from their receivers, Ryan Grant and Roberts, who made tremendous grabs to make their QBs look good.

One of the hardest things to watch with the Redskins last year was the self-inflicted wounds that just made the game so heart breaking. Gruden is having it none of that this year because he knows you cannot go from the bottom to the top without perfecting what is in your control. If a defensive back dropped a potential interception during a positional drill, they did push-ups. If an offensive lineman had a false start, they ran a lap around the field and were replaced on the ensuing play.

Injury Updates:

  • Those players who are already rehabbing from injury will NOT practice during minicamp, but home to be back by the start of training camp at 100 percent.
  • DeAngelo Hall went through positional drills with comfort. The veteran was held out of the scrimmages for precautionary reasons. During the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drives, Hall worked on the side simulating dropping into coverage, cutting and then catching passes.
  • Silas Redd has started to turn a few heads during practice; on one instance he had an excellent cut to get to open field. However, the Penn State product tweaked his ankle and will be held out of the rest of minicamp. That could open the door for Chris Thompson to secure a position as the third string running back behind Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones.
  • Trent Williams (left ankle), Jordan Reed (knee procedure), and Ryan Kerrigan (knee scope) were all non-participants during practice but are all expected to return for training camp.

Important Dates:

  • Minicamp runs through Thursday, June 18.
  • Training camps starts on Thursday, July 30 in 44 days.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 in 58 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 89 days.

Washington Redskins Week Two of OTAs Observations

Week two of organized team activities began for the Washington Redskins this week which allowed for a slightly clearer image of how next season is shaping up through press conferences with head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Joe Barry. Unlike last week when Robert Griffin III was the main topic of discussion, more light was shed on the updating of injury concerns and the early evaluation of the younger talent.

The biggest takeaway from Barry’s first press conference as a member of the organization has to be how optimistic and complimentary he was about all of the tools he has around him to succeed. In his short time on the field in Ashburn, Barry has been enthusiastic and willed his players to be more aggressive, which was eluded to last week with a focus on forcing more turnovers.

Barry had high praise for each of his position coaches under his wing, including new secondary coach and ex-Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. Barry spoke about how he was lured to Washington by the rich legacy and tradition of the Redskins even though they are in a down cycle. Moreover, Barry applauded the Scot McCloughan’s mindset of bringing in not only good football players but good character and coachable individuals. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins Second Day of OTAs Observations

With the media not allowed to attend the second or third days of organized team activities, there was not as much information available to pass along with the current status of the Washington Redskins. However the few bits of information that were reported through knowledgeable sources showed the moving parts that will likely continue going into the upcoming season.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan, the Washington Redskins will release veteran Chris Chester, last year’s starting right guard. Chester was signed in 2011 to a five-year, $20 million contract and would have been a cap hit of $4.8 million this year in his last year under contract before becoming a unrestricted free agent. Chester also had a $100k workout bonus and $400k roster bonus in his contract, which may have played into the timing of release. There will be an $800k dead cap hit, but overall the Redskins have carved out an additional $4 million to work with to possibly bring in another free agent. [Read more…]

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.

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