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Need to Know: 5 things to look for during Redskins-Patriots practices

Aug 4, 2014, 4:43 AM EDT

Brady-Belichick

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, August 4, three days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

Nickel coverage

The Redskins and Patriots start three days of joint practices today at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Here are some things to look for.

—The Redskins’ practices have generally run like this—stretching, then special teams, position drills, 11 on 11, seven on seven passing and one on one blocking (going on simultaneously), more special teams, walkthrough, and more 11 on 11. Sometimes the finish up with field goal kicking. It will be interesting to see how things run with the Patriots in town. Bill Belichick certainly has his own ideas when it comes to these joint practices so it’s likely that the deck will be shuffled with some different cards thrown in. Jay Gruden didn’t get into many details so we’ll find out just how these sessions go just like everybody else.

—There is plenty of talk about having Robert Griffin III and Tom Brady sharing the same field. But, of course, they won’t really be going against each other, as any quarterback will tell you as he goes into a game against another noted QB. The matchup to watch will be Griffin trying to deal with Darrelle Revis. You know, the guy who was the best cornerback in the game before Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson decided that they were (pro tip—Revis probably is still the best). Revis likes to bait QB’s into thinking a receiver is open before he swoops in and picks off the pass. It will be educational for Griffin to be involved in the cat and mouse game.

—Keenan Robinson has had some good battles in pass coverage against Jordan Reed. Unfortunately, the Redskins new Mike linebacker may not get to test his mettle against one of the best tight ends in the game, at least not in full team drills. The Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski has been a limited participant in practice at training camp due to a torn ACL he suffered last December. He has been doing position drills and individual work but he hasn’t been in any team drills. So if Robinson is going to be able to use Gronk as a measuring stick it will be during some one on one coverage drills. Good experience for Robinson but not quite the same.

—When the Bengals set up joint practices with the Falcons last year, Gruden initially was skeptical but he ended up seeing a lot of value in it. “I thought it was great,” Gruden said. “Initially going in I wasn’t too fired up about it, but going into it and just giving them the chance to practice against different people, I think that’s the big thing. You get tired sometimes of seeing the same people over and over again as a player is concerned. Now you’re going against somebody else and somebody else that’s trying to make a team so the competition should be fierce, I would think. It’s a great opportunity for some of these young guys to really show what they have against another football team that’s been very good for a long time. I think it’s a great chance for everybody to learn and get better and also a great chance for us as coaches to evaluate our guy and evaluate what we’re doing schematically.”

—Gruden said that there is no concern about showing anything that might be used during the game on Thursday. In reality, the first preseason game will be a continuation of the joint practices only they will be keeping time, playing under the lights, and charging admission. It will be a vanilla scheme and both teams are more concerned with judging individual performances than in the score of the game. Nobody, not even the notoriously secretive Bill Belichick, is worried about giving away any secrets here in Richmond.

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

—Redskins Hall of Fame running back John Riggins was born on this day in 1949.

Today’s schedule: Joint practices with Patriots; Bill Belichick media availability 8:00; Practice 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability 3:50; Walkthrough 4:10

—It’s been 218 days since the Redskins played a game; in 34 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 3; Final cuts 26; Redskins @ Eagles 48

In case you missed it

  1. barrymoyer - Aug 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    I think it’s a terrific approach to training camp; having another team come in for a few days to add different players
    and different looks. Can’t see any way this isn’t a plus. This should be a standard of preseason talent appraisal and I hope it becomes just that.

  2. Michael - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Hey Rich
    I left a comment about an additional true lineman on the right side the other day. Where can I find your comments.
    Thanks
    Michael

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Should be in the same post you commented on. I know I responded, just follow the thread down.

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