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Need to Know: 5 Redskins notes and quotes after Thursday’s OTA

May 30, 2014, 5:29 AM EDT

Gruden OTAs 1

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 30, 18 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

(Still on vacation, enjoying some beautiful sunsets in the Outer Banks. But fresh content is back in your Need to Know. I still might be slow in approving first comments and responding.)

Here are five key notes and quotes on Jay Gruden’s remarks following yesterday’s OTA.

When Gruden was asked about how Robert Griffin III performed, he was sure to spread some praise to all three QB’s on the roster: “Robert, all the quarterbacks, have done a great job as far as terminology is concerned. We tried to have some carryover from last year, there’s a lot of new plays, formations. He’s done an excellent job as far as his command of the huddle – that’s always been a positive of his – spitting out the plays and not having many mentals at all. So we’re impressed with all three quarterbacks, the way they’ve handled it – Colt [McCoy], Kirk [Cousins] and Robert.”

I’ve been saying all offseason that the organization would like for Keenan Robinson to step into the inside linebacker spot vacated by London Fletcher’s retirement. Gruden offered some very encouraging words when asked about Robinson: “Mentally he’s in good shape. [Inside Linebackers] Coach [Kirk] Olivadotti has done a great job with him getting him up to speed. Physically, he looks excellent to me. He’s running, he’s long and he can run sideline to sideline in pass coverage. He’s disruptive. He gets into zones and is a big guy to throw over. He can cover tight ends, he can cover backs. We have high hopes for Keenan and we love the progress he’s making. Just from a short period of time, he’s one of the guys on the field that stand out, ‘Is that Keenan again?’”

Speaking of players the organization are counting on, here’s what Gruden had to say about Phillip Thomas: “Phillip’s done a great job also. He had a great interception today. He’s just getting back in the flow and [Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] is working with him and doing a good job, and between he and [safety Brandon] Meriweather, we expect good things from that safety spot.”

Gruden appreciates good tight end play and he sees great things for Jordan Reed: “No question he has done an excellent job. He is obviously a force in the passing game. We got to work him a little [on] being more stout in the running game because it is important for a guy like that. But overall I think he has had no drawbacks from his concussion…knock on wood . . . If people want to crowd DeSean or crowd [wide receiver] Pierre [Garçon], he’s a guy that is very much needed in the passing game, so we just got to keep him healthy and get him going.”

Gruden has been pumping the brakes on Morgan Moses all along and he did it again on Thursday. “We’ll see. All these rookies right now, they’re obviously just, like we brought it up earlier, they are struggling a bit mentally but you can see some talent there. Him and [guard] Spencer Long both have done a great job with the offensive line. There’s a lot to learn as far as offensive line play, picking up the stunts, all the run schemes that we have – inside zones, outside zones and then the pass protections we have. We have nine or 10 pass protections already and maybe more, so it’s a grind for them mentall,y but you can see the talent is there.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 150 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 100 days until the play the Texans in their season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 18; Training camp 54; Redskins @ Eagles 114

  1. alextwrs - May 30, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    Good stuff Rich! Thanks for working while on vacation.

  2. dirtyrottenscoundrels - May 30, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Spencer Long is a guard, not a linebacker, right? :)

    Must be the Rum and Coke, Rich :)

    • Rich Tandler - May 30, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      I will blame that on Redskins PR. I used their transcript since I wasn’t there. Not that I don’t make my share of such goofs .

      • dirtyrottenscoundrels - May 30, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        Oh come on man – you have the right to blame it on the Bacardi ::grin::

        Enjoy the rest of your vacation man – envious of you!

  3. kenlinkins - May 30, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    I liked the way Head Coach Gruden listed the positive but still talked about what the players required to improve on without sounding disappointed. A good head coach knows how to word his pressers to get the best out of each player and to date coach Gruden seems to have that skill. For the first time in a long time I believe there was real information in the update. Again, I like what I have seen so far from this new head coach!

  4. kenlinkins - May 31, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Rich, I see where coach Gruden is talking up Keenan Robinson’s improvement but Robinson is not a pass rusher or a run stopper, (had problems getting off blocks, walled off to easy, false steps against running plays, below avg tackler) his main skill is TE coverage on passing downs and protecting dump off passes to RB’s. He played in 11 games and only had 9 tackles, in short he is not a “Fletcher” type inside LB. Perry Riley has been more of a “sweeper” LB to Fletcher’s “thumper”, even thou his tackle count is high. Any ideas on how the Redskins plan to use Robinson (assumes he is the starter) and Riley together (IMO there is a concern on running plays, draws and screens). Am I over looking Riley’s skill level to be a good run stopper or being to hard on Robinson’s tackling or is there someone who would replace Robinson when the DC smells running play? IMO these two skill sets just do not seem to work well together for stating ILB’s in a 3-4 defense (1st and 2nd down) when run / pass is 50/50. Can the new LB coaching staff make what is in my mind a miss matched pair work well together at ILB? What am I missing?

    • Rich Tandler - May 31, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      The guy played 69 snaps. Nine tackles isn’t bad in that limited action. And all of 15 of those snaps were running plays. Kind of tough to indict a rookie’s run stopping ability based on such limited action.

      The player we saw on the field for those 69 snaps would not be a great replacement for Fletcher. He’s going to have to improve and that’s what they’ll be working on between now and the start of the season.

      > >

  5. kenlinkins - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Rich: thanks for the data (kind of makes it hard to say you are wrong), So, 11 games, 69 plays, 15 were runs 54 were passes, and K. Robinson had 9 tackles. I agree, not so bad for a rookie. The things I remembered watching him were he played a bit too high (maybe being 6’3″ had something to do with that) and he looked more like an OLB playing inside. This is his 3rd year in the NFL and if he is going to make a move, this is the year. I wonder if coach Gruden see’s Robinson as a 1st / 3rd down ILB (coverage guy) or if he was talking about him as a 3 down ILB? Most of the scouting reports on Robinson said he would take time to develop into a part time starter (some even said he would be moved outside) but he could become a force at a position that requires “want to” most of all (something Robinson seems to have). ILB requires “read /react” skill with no fear, and the speed to correct after a false step, maybe that is what coach Gruden is seeing in OTA’s? I still have a concern of no “Thumper” in the middle and that teams will run right at Robinson when they see him on the field (when they saw Fletcher on 3rd down, they targeted him with a pass). Just another reason to watch the preseason games. Robinson working with Riley added to my list of things to watch closely. (PS: I am not sold on Robinson yet).

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