May 6, 2021

Washington Redskins Minicamp, Day 2 Practice Observations

For the last time in a while, the Redskins completed offseason practice on a gloomy day in Ashburn, VA. Minicamp was originally suppose to last three days, but it was decided to wrap it up earlier after just two days, joining the trend of calling minicamp. With the upcoming six-week gap before training camp, much of what follows will be the last taste we have of the Redskins for an extended period of time before the season eventually sneaks up on us.

Although many fans might be hesitant to think that the team is improving after much promise over the past decades, Jay Gruden stated that he is starting to see results with the team. Not so much with the on field performance, but Gruden stated that the Redskins are “physically in better condition”. He thinks, as well as the rest of the DMV hopes, that will have a positive counter impact on game day. The head coach singled out Trent Murphy and Jason Hatcher for proactively getting their bodies in better shapes.

As Gruden has done all year, the praise for his coaching staff has continued. In his post-practice press conference, he stated that the team is becoming more comfortable with new coaches Matt Cavanaugh and Bill Callahan on offense as well as Joe Barry on defense. As Gruden and young offensive coordinator Sean McVay admitted previously, they had less time than expected to work directly with Robert Griffin III last year and having Cavanaugh as a consistent instructor has already helped.

Callahan was described perfectly by Gruden as “he’s going to get the best results out of you because he’s going to demand the most of you”. Last year as Dallas’s offensive coordinator, though technically Scott Linehan called the plays, Callahan had experience with calling the running game and Gruden foreshadowed that the former Cowboy could do the same for the Redskins.

Although Griffin was not as sharp as he was yesterday, he put on another sound performance. The reason for the small step back could be the focus on red zone play, which means tighter windows for the Baylor product to work with. Gruden said yesterday that the Redskins will look to use the play-action more efficiently in order to convert last year’s chip shot field goals into touchdowns.

The more interesting news came from the battle for the backup quarterback position. As I had stated yesterday, the Redskins are alternating Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy as the second string signal caller, making Wednesday McCoy’s chance to shine. McCoy did not make the most of it — in one instance he had a terrible late and inaccurate throw that was easily picked off in the end zone by rookie corner Tevin Mitchel.

Gruden later said he expects this battle to continue deep into training camp before announcing an official backup to Griffin. It might not be until after all four preseason games that Gruden makes the final call, which is not as big of a deal as if trying to decide the starting position. The Redskins have had quarterback drama the past ten years — from Brunell over Ramsey to Grossman over McNabb — but Gruden is determined to make it a non-issue this year.

Gruden has alluded to the new attitude and culture change for the Redskins, which he believes started as soon as certain new players were brought in a byproduct of the hiring of GM guru Scot McCloughan. The franchise believes that the strong core of veteran leadership on the team will help to lead into a new era for the club, whose players are not holding themselves to a new level of accountability. As mentioned yesterday there are physical consequences for miscues during practice. Rookie guard Arie Kouandjio ran a lap after being the culprit of a false start. Similarly, rookie running back Trey Williams dropped and gave his coach several push-ups after dropping a pass.

Player Notes:

  • Matt Jones: the big rookie back from Florida got considerable time with the first string offense today and it is becoming ever more clear that management has big expectations for him.
  • Ryan Grant: “…he’s awesome, man. He runs every route exactly like you tell him to run it. He doesn’t make any mental mistakes. He’s got big strong hands”. Gruden could go on all day about last year’s fifth round pick, which could all but secure him a roster spot especially because of the release of Santana Moss and his work on special teams.
  • Preston Smith: got playing time at both left and right outside linebacker with Ryan Kerrigan out. The second round pick also spent time in man to man coverage on Andre Roberts on one particular play; he did a fairly good job staying with the smaller receiver.
  • Kyshoen Jarrett: Gruden picked the former Hokie safety as having stood out as a late round selection because he has “done an excellent job. He’s fast. He’s flying around. He’s making his presence known on special teams.”

Injury Updates:

  • Trent Williams (left ankle) and Jordan Reed (knee procedure) were Gruden’s lone concern going into training camp, but still felt confident that they will be good to go because of the precautionary steps they are already taking. The two were actually spotted on the side having a good old fashioned game of catch.
  • DeAngelo Hall (Achilles), Silas Redd (ankle), and Kerrigan (knee scope) were also non-participants but are expected to return for camp in Richmond.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps starts on Thursday, July 30 in 43 days.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 in 57 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 88 days.
About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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