Training camp notes
Over the past few days, I went down to Richmond to attend the Redskins training camp. It was insightful to speak with a few local media members and team personnel to get their unbiased opinions on how players were performing in camp so far, in addition to my own observations. With the first preseason game just a couple of days away, take a look at my camp observations, along with some player interviews, and an exclusive highlight video from the few days I was there.
The quarterback competition to this point is a two-headed race between veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy. Dwayne Haskins has primarily played with the third-team units in full-team drills. What is hurting Haskins right now is just his inexperience; at times, he is processing what he sees at a slower rate than Case and Colt, which results in poor decision-making and forced passes. His arm talent is there; however, he has the strongest arm of the three, and when he is confident in what the defense is running, Haskins' accuracy is pinpoint.
However, with the other two quarterbacks in the game, the offense runs smoother. It did not mean much though during the time I was there, as there was no clear-cut quarterback ahead of the others. Case and Colt had too many mistakes in the red zone and in opponent's territory that led to turnovers, Gruden was pretty frustrated with them.
Now, Colt is dealing with another injury(foot) as well heading into Thursday’s game, the significance of the injury now is unknown, but regardless, his injury history will significantly hurt his chances of starting.
Gruden made a unique comment regarding what we should expect during the preseason at this position, stating that all three quarterbacks may not see every game. There can be a game where he decides not to play any one of the three quarterbacks that game. With Colt being dinged up, it is likely he may be the first of the three that does not play in week one against the Cleveland Browns.
Derrius Guice is back. He is playing like a running back who is not scared of contact, or like a back who has recently recovered from a torn-ACL. Byron Marshall is very agile and quick, and you can see why he is the primary backup to Chris Thompson and the lead return man in kick return.
Craig Reynolds was a back who had a lot of playing time when I was there too, he had a nasty stiff-arm during fan appreciation day that got his coaches and teammates excited. Lastly, do not be surprised if Samaje Perine gives you mixed emotions during preseason games. Samaje has played well during his time on the field, he is seeing the field clearly, no fumbles, and has had a few goal-line runs showing his effectiveness as a big-body back.
Terry McLaurin hype is legit; he was the most consistent receiver in practice sessions. His route-running, functional strength, and hands were tier one. McLaurin may be a playmaker for the offense, and maybe even a starter. Gruden likes him and spoke on his importance towards Dwayne Haskins' development. Cam Sims has been impressive in his second training camp, health is the biggest deterrent for Sims as the weeks move along. Sims is a primary backup for multiple receiver positions so it is clear the coaches have a plan for him. Had a chance to speak with Kelvin Harmon, the rookie just wants to be dominant, hear what else he had to say about his experiences so far:
Jordan Reed was uncheckable against the defense; he got open consistently against every defensive back and against every defense he faced. He also had a great rep in pass-protection against a linebacker that showed some growth in the blocking aspect. Now, should they use him in blocking situations? No, you want Reed out in every passing situation. However, it can provide a wrinkle in the offense.
When Geron Christian was healthy enough to get back in full-team drills, he was primarily with the starters. He was not great, but was not noticeably bad either. Recently signed Donald Penn and rookie guard Wes Martin were with the second-team offense. However, as time moves along, expect Donald Penn to eventually start once he is ready to go, and maybe Wes Martin as well. Martin has developed well according to Brandon Scherff, and Bill Callahan has done a great job to this point in developing him.
The offensive line has struggled to defend the pass-rush at times, and there was hardly any running room for the backs, as they had to create a lot of their own lanes, obviously concerning. Hear from Wes Martin here:
They were strong and dominant for the most part, and also the reason most of the fights at practice were started. Tim Settle was a name I heard a lot from defensive line coach Jim Tomsula; it is safe to say he is someone Jim wants to see a lot more out of in-game this year. Caleb Brantley may be dealing with a lisfranc injury moving forward, that is something to monitor.
Montez Sweat was inactive during the practice periods, he missed a few days due to a kick to his lower leg. Jay Gruden said he expects him to be available by the Cleveland opener. Jordan Brailford was dealing with an injury in recent weeks; however, he was lifted off of the PUP list over the weekend and saw time in team drills. Gruden said he is about 75 percent healthy; however, Brailford came in and had a couple of would-be sacks.
Cole Holcomb is acclimating to the NFL pretty well; he said he has to work on his hand usage a little more, NFL linemen can use that against him and can make him extremely ineffective. He is quick and very active when in the game though, here from him here:
Landon Collins was the standout over the few practices I attended; he had about two or three interceptions against Case and Colt. There is no competition at slot corner, Fabian Moreau, Jimmy Moreland, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all getting fair time at both slot and the outside cornerback positions. Each of the cornerbacks is helping one another as they continue to grow in this defense, and rookie Jimmy Moreland is making it a priority to soak everything up.
Montae Nicholson is the starting safety alongside Landon; the question about Montae is can he stay healthy and be consistent as well. Coaches expect a lot out of him. Here from Jimmy Moreland here:
The offensive skill positions were better than expected during my time there. The biggest question is what to expect from the offensive line and quarterbacks; both position groups were inconsistent. Was the defense just that good? Alternatively, was the offensive line struggling that much? That question can only be answered in the upcoming games when they do not face off against one another.
The defense made many plays on all levels, forcing a few turnovers in multiple practices. The defensive unit must be the unit to carry the team, at least until the offense develops more. Dwayne Haskins flashed some but also showed he is still far behind the veterans. He is doing the right thing seeking guidance from Alex Smith and the other vets, who can help him see the field better against certain coverages and what to expect when those looks show. See my camp highlights here: