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Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes, Day 9–Orakpo says there’s a lot of work to do

Aug 3, 2014, 4:44 AM EDT

Orakpo-OTAs-2

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 3, four days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

News, notes, and quotes from Day 9 of Redskins training camp.

—Sacks tend to get blamed on the O-line but a back who misses a blitz pickup can be responsible for the QB going down just as well. Jay Gruden was asked to evaluate how his backs have been doing in pass protection. “In the team period, it has not been bad actually,” he said. “[Running Backs Coach] Randy Jordan has done a good job with them and the one-on-ones, it’s always tough. You guys look at the one-on-ones and you see they got a chance to go inside, gap outside, gap in. In team periods, they don’t have much space to work. But I think we’re just working with technique on them and they’re going to get better. It takes time and it takes work.

—Kory Lichtensteiger will be the starting center against the Texans on Sept. 7. After 51 NFL starts at guard it will be his first regular season NFL start at center. He has made a few snaps in regular season action. “I have played it,” he said. “Cleveland, two years ago, I finished the game at center. I’ve never started one before.” He did say that he has worked as a backup center the whole time he has been with the Redskins so the position is completely foreign to him.

—We think we know who the starters will be and chances are that we’re right. But reserves aren’t necessarily willing to concede those jobs to veterans. Here’s what Phillip Thomas said about being behind veterans Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather. “I’m trying to take their spot, there’s not question about it,” he said. “Anything I can do to make it interesting or make the coaches maybe feel I should be in.”

—Brian Orakpo was asked what the ceiling is for this defense. He gave the answer you would expect but he tempered it by saying that they have a lot to do. “It’s very high,” he said. “But we’ve got to keep working. Everybody feels great right now all around the country with different camps, everybody feels like they’re going to be the best. We do, too. We want to strive to be the best but it’s going to take a lot of work out here in Richmond to get to that point.”

—Back to what Thomas said, it seems that competition for jobs on this team is very real. Nobody is being “benched” by not being given any reps. Gruden strongly believes in giving everyone a chance. “You know what, we bring in these guys for a reason,” he said. “They’re here to get a chance, a legitimate opportunity. You don’t get a legitimate opportunity if you don’t get asked to play or get reps. We’re trying to get everybody ample chance, and some guys will play themselves out of a position quickly.”

If you have any questions about what’s going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Players off, no practice

—It’s been 217 days since the Redskins played a game; in 35 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 4; Final cuts 27; Redskins @ Eagles 49

In case you missed it

  1. kenlinkins - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    Rich: My hat is off to P. Thomas for stating that his mind set is to take the job of the guys in front of him on the depth chart. It is very refreshing to hear something other than “I just want to help this team win”. We all know everyone on the 90 man roster wants a job on the 53 man roster come Sept 7 and the only way to do that is to beat out everyone you can who is in front of you. That is how teams become better! Not allowing any player on the 90 man roster to feel his job is set in stone is how you find a few guys who start to clime the ladder of Practice Squad, Special Teams player, Back Up, Starter, All Pro. Making sure everyone get Reps to show his progress only helps a team. Having a locked down starting unit too early can make a coach look very dumb if things start to fall apart and not being willing to change or admit a mistake can (and has) run many a head coach out of a job. Allowing everyone on the 90 man roster to know you can move up if you play is better than the guy in front of you is the key to building a solid team. I want to see all of the 90 guys on this roster play in the preseason opener this week to gain a better understanding of their progress (not like the last few years when so many didn’t see the field as most dog houses do not have windows).

  2. deepball1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    if Thomas is going to win a job and beat out Ryan Clark or Merriweather, he can start by staying healthy and not missing any practices. so Far in his first 2 seasons he seems to get injured a lot even before the season begins.

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      Fine, but note that his hamstring he’s dealing with now is not something that would have kept him out of a regular season game. Not really fair to use the injury prone label on someone who sits out a few days at this time a year. Not a big deal.

  3. Michael C - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Rich. I read you guys regularly even tho living in Vegas.
    I was a vocal proponent of the athletic receiver/TE years ago.
    With a group of receivers like we have this year, why don’t we install a double right tackle for the ultra protection of GRIFFIN and unique running ops. I know it unbalances assignments, and signals intentions, but everyone knew the counter trey was coming as well. I think at east one of our receivers needs to be double teamed. Thoughts?

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 3, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      So you would have seven defenders covering four receivers? You could double three of the four. I don’t like those numbers. Get blockers who can block and go with the standard five OL and five eligible receivers.

  4. moneylover - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Philip thomas going to get some playing time because ryan clark 35 and jay like to rotate his players to keep them fresh. Hows CB trent Robinson and akeem davis doing ? Some say akeem davis is a darkhorse cause he underrated but he play at a high level

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