I was in Richmond today helping On Tap Magazine interview players for their Redskins Preview monthly issue. More on that later, but I got to talk to pretty much every Redskin player today, which was great. Players are in much lighter moods these summer days.
The morning walk though from a fan perspective is pretty boring, so I'll fast forward to the RGIII presser, which takes place between the morning walk-through and 3:20pm full practice (shoulder pads, helmet, shorts). I found this quote from RGIII fantastic regarding his view of the current depth chart, which is a great lesson for any kids out there competing:
"What we try to tell the guys is don't cut yourself. Whether you're fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh on the depth chart, don't cut yourself, don't look at that and say, ‘Well, I have no chance.' For some of these guys the preseason is a big deal, like Coach said you evaluate talent in the preseason and I saw a lot of guys last year make the team and not make the team because of what they did in the preseason and not just because of what they did in practice. Coaches want to see you in game-like situations, so from that aspect I'm excited about watching some of the guys on this team go out and fight for their position."
Now, on to my observations from play today:
- First off, the facility is fantastic. It's not gaudy, but nice enough to be functional and well laid out. Getting in and out was a snap and fans had a good view with the hill. Kudos to the architects.
- Trent Williams had a big cast on that covered the entire hand. He basically has a club for a hand.
- Talking to the beat reporters, I got mixed reviews on Josh Leribeus. Some say he hasn't been too good and others said he's been fine. Towards the end of practice today a stuffed rush turned into a big pile of guys that fell over. Ribeye was down for a few minutes but eventually walked off. So, let's keep an eye on him in the games.
- No Eric Kettani today. His right knee had a soft wrap.
- Maurice Hurt, who is on PUP, has taken Malcolm Kelly's place on the bike this camp.
- During WR drills, each WR would do a slant and then dunk it over the FG bar. Dez Briscoe looked sharp today making a 1-hand catch and by far had the most thunderous dunk. Props to WR hopeful, Nick Williams, for getting a dunk in as well. He's listed as 5'10" but that looks generous. White guys CAN jump!
- For most of the day Kirk Cousins looked impeccable. His arm strength is legit and he was really showing great accuracy. At the end of practice he did have one throw that he threw behind a WR that Josh Wilson intercepted (one of two for the day).
- Catching was not too consistent today. A lot of drops. Moss, Garcon, Hankerson....they all had great catches at one point today but also bad ones. What this means? Pretty much nothing.
- For the most part Rambo was FS and Phillip Thomas was SS but I did seem them switched at one time. Part of Haz and Shanny saying how much guys move around.
- Garcon's speed is evident in that he ran a go route that took Rambo and Thomas with him, that left Josh Morgan wide open in the middle of the field for a big gain. Stretch that field. Raheem had words for them after the play.
- Jeremy Trueblood simply fell down on one play. It looks like his cleat got caught in the ground or something but it was ugly. I spoke with Tyler Polumbus after practice and asked him about the criticism the RT position got over last year. He said another year to work on things and the reps has helped. I then followed up asking having an entire offseason to rewatch all 16 games, if there's anything he noticed on film that he's targeted and working on. He replied, "Yes, but I don't want to throw that out there." Fair enough. That goes for every player.
- Chris Thompson was out there rushing and running. Since they don't tackle, it's hard to tell where a play would have ended. So, not much to say there. On one of his rushes Phillip Thomas made a great slide and attack to close the hole and put his helmet right on Thompson. Cold stone stop there.
- Without the tackling it's hard to make things out. On one 20+ yard pass from RGIII to Garcon, Brandon Meriweather would have been right there to lay Garcon out. He was always in the right position from the defensive plays I saw from him today unlike the rookies.
- On one play RGIII kept the ball and ran up the middle. When the LBs closed he slid, which drew a thunderous applause from the fans. Note, a lot of the drills today there was no DLine rushing.
- Bryan Kehl is much bigger in person than I thought. He's about Kerrigan's size but not quite as cut.
- The Punt returners in drills today were Richard Crawford, Aldrick Robinson, Nick Williams, and Santana Moss. I asked Richard Crawford if it's his job to lose at this point and he was not sure saying it's up to coaches still.
- Jordan Reed limped off the field to the facility to what Mike Shanahan said was a bruise on the top of his foot.
- Sav Rocca is in mid-season form. Booming kicks and angling them out of bounds.
- Keiland Williams was out there rushing the ball. He looked speedier than I remembered him.
- Chase Minnifield definitely stood out today. He was blanketing WRs in coverage. Him and Aldrick Robinson had some great battles today. I could watch these two all day. On one play Robinson did a studder step stop and go that left Chase a half pace behind. Aldrick barely missed the catch but it looked like pass interference to me. Either way, when Chase gets beat, he was still able to recover and disrupt the play. Rex underthrew it just enough.
- Kai Forbath didn't have his best day. Left ~48yd FG short. Not sure if it was the hold or what. Also missed another one. Again, not a big deal. No kicker makes every single kick in camp, except maybe Gano!
- At the very end of practice the Redskins were doing the 1-minute drill rotating QBs. RGIII didn't take his last couple of reps. He was walking around with his head down and what appeared to me as a slight limp. Earlier in his presser, RGIII stated he had not had any soreness or swelling, so perhaps this is the brace, but to me, and this could be wrong, it looked like soreness. After major knee surgery soreness is expected. I'd be surprised if Robert doesn't have a maintenance/free day off here soon. Again, nothing to worry about, just an observation. He looked sharp out there and this part of the process of easing him in. Mike Shanahan said last week that any issues Robert had he would not be sharing with the media and fans, which I respect. Keep the drama in-house.
I love this quote from Mike Shanahan today at his presser regarding how the read option will evolve this season:
"That is a good question. You don't really know what defenses are going to do. You can anticipate what they are going to do. People don't know when we are going to run the read option but they are going to have to prepare for it all the time. If they can spend half of their practice time preparing for something we may do [or] we may not do, it gives us an advantage. The playaction passes, the running game, I think you can see last year that it really worked out well. Will it work out well this year? Time will tell. Anytime we are in the Pistol, we can run our whole offense from the Pistol so we don't give it away from a formation set, so it will be interesting to see a number of adjustments people will do. I can't tell you exactly what."
For more reports on Monday's practice: