Camping Out: Redskins Park Update on Rex Grossman and Artis Hicks

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John Keim has covered the Washington Redskins since 1994. Follow his work at WashingtonExaminer.com and WarpathConfidential.com.

Continuing our weekly look inside Redskins Park, I hit up John on players I have some concerns about: Rex Grossman, Malcolm Kelly, Robert Henson, Artis Hicks, and the KR/PRs.


Hogs Haven: Rex has 3 INTs and 2 TDs in the 4 games he's played the last two years. He only spent 1 year with Houston, so to say he knows Kyle's system doesn't mean he can perform under it. How has he looked at camp? I dread the day he ever has to take the field and perhaps I'm missing a ray of sunshine out of camp.

 

He's looked fine, like a guy who has started in the league should (even if he's struggled in many of those starts). I had been told by someone familiar with him that he tends to look sharp in 7 on 7s because he's fairly accurate (without a rush). I've seen him get a few passes deflected at the line -- he's not very tall at all. They're definitely using him to help the others learn, sometimes having him demonstrate what is needed/wanted. 

Hogs Haven:

 Malcolm Kelly has been a major concern for me. I've pretty much given up on him, especially with tweets like yesterday from camp that Bobby Wade was the best performer. I remember camps last year Kelly always had great hands, but it just flat out never shows in games. Red zone looks maybe, but do you think he'll ever be able to play between the 20's?

I like Malcolm personally. Very much. But I am not yet confident in his ability to become a consistent starter (I talked to one player back in March who expressed the same view). I think this is a big year for him. Hurt his first year; learning in his second. This is when we'll find out what sort of player he'll become. My hunch now is that he's a 40-catch sort of guy. He's actually performed better to this point between the 20s than in the red zone. You have to be able to do more than just run the fade to be good down there. And I wouldn't pay too much attention to who looks great right now; with no pads on longtime vets should look good. Need to know who he's going against, too. I've seen too many guys who look good in April/May/June who are cut at the end of August. Sometimes we see a guy going past someone for a catch; the coaches see a guy who maybe should have blown past faster or did not separate enough vs. certain guys.  

Hogs Haven:

 How has Artis Hicks looked with his footwork and speed? He's never played more than 6 games last the 3 years, so I'm a little hesitant to call him a savior for that right side, although anyone is an upgrade from last year.

I would not call him a savior, either. But he's a good guy to have because of his versatility. I'm hesitant to make any sort of judgment on him now because he hasn't worked at one position for an extended time in a while. It does take time to get your rhythm down at a spot. I was not extremely impressed by what I saw during the OTA session we watched last week; saw a couple guys getting past him; looked like a footwork issue. But you have to give him a full training camp. He's a definite upgrade over Stephon Heyer, who looked worse than Hicks during the OTA. 

Hogs Haven:

 How has Robert Henson looked...are the Skins thin enough at LB where he can still make the team. He ran a 4-2-5 in defense at TCU, which had some similarities with what Blache ran. This has to be a whole new thing for him and am just wondering if he's picking it up.

I haven't focused too much on Henson, though I did notice him running with the No. 2 D. We'll be out there again Wednesday and I'll focus more on him then; ask again next week. But they are thin inside. I love what H.B. Blades brings, but he is small for an inside backer in a 3-4; then again, he's small for a LB at any spot and he continues to stay in the league. However, that's why Henson has a shot. I'm anxious to see Riley as well. The Redskins aren't deep at LB, but they do have a lot of bodies to choose from.

Hogs Haven:

 Any flashes of light in the PR/KR game yet? Are Devin and Phillip Buchanon getting any regular reps?

Nothing much to talk about here. Devin hasn't been working out because of his hamstring. They haven't spent a ton of time on the return game, though we did see them returning kickoffs at the last minicamp. Byron Westbrook and Justin Tryon worked as the No. 1 unit (remember, it's May); Bobby Wade and Anthony Armstrong took reps as well, as did Marques Hagans. As for punt returns, they usually have a number of guys fielding punts. I would expect Buchanaon to get time here along with Terrence Austin, who also will get looks on kick returns.

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