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Five things to look for at today’s Redskins OTA

Jun 3, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

RG3-McVay

Here are five things I’ll be looking for at today’s OTA session at Redskins Park, which is open to the media:

Spencer Long at right guard—He will line up with the first team after last week’s departure of Chris Chester. Last year Jay Gruden let it be known that Long had the opportunity to push past Chester on the depth chart but he never could quite do it. This year they apparently think he is ready. They’re not in pads yet so it will be an incomplete picture of where he is in his development but we can see how he fits in with the starters.

Robert Griffin III’s consistency—Last week the quarterback was not bad, not great. That was fine for the first OTA, the first time the offense had lined up against the defense and Griffin had a chance to put together the classroom learning and the individual drills that he has been working on. But progress is expected and he should be a little bit more confident and effective than he was last week.

Jerrell Powe and Willie Smith—These are two young veterans signed this week who could be more than camp fodder. Powe could push for a backup nose tackle spot and Smith, who broke into the NFL in 2011 when he made the Redskins as an undrafted rookie, will compete for one of the spots as a reserve tackle. Both have started some NFL games so they are worth keeping an eye on.

Duke Ihenacho at strong safety—The coaches appear to be intrigued by Ihenacho, who started in a Super Bowl for the Broncos after the 2013 season. I have not see him work much since he came to the Redskins just before the season started and was on injured reserve a few weeks later. It will be interesting to see what he can do.

Preston Smith coverage—I want to see him dropping back and see how he does there. His ability to do that will go a long way towards determining how much he will play this year. If teams know he has to pass rush when he is in at linebacker that will limit what the defense can do to confuse the opposing quarterback. It also would mean that Ryan Kerrigan would have to drop back in coverage more and he’s more impactful moving forwards, not backwards.

I suppose I could add a sixth item and say I’m looking forward to hearing what DeSean Jackson has to say about missing the first week of OTAs last week. But I find it difficult to gin up much enthusiasm about being absent for three days of voluntary work. Jackson has no obligation to explain himself to the media or anyone except possibly his coaches and teammates.

Today’s practice starts at 11:15. Look for practice tweets from me @Rich_TandlerCSN and colleague @TarikCSN, my practice report after it’s over, and reports on what the players and Jay Gruden had to say. Oh, and look for some pictures and videos on the Real Redskins Facebook page and @RichTandler on Instagram.

  1. hk2000 - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    When should we expect your report Rich? And please keep Jackson’s item- except for the actual OTA- session- out of it. Thanks.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Agreed on Jackson not showing for voluntary OTAs. It is a non issue and unnecessary drama.

  2. Skulb - Jun 3, 2015 at 10:48 AM

    It will be interesting to see how this defense works when the season starts. On paper it looks pretty good to me. Consistency and TOs might be the big issues to harp on until then I would think.

  3. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:08 AM

    Rich could they be looking at Willie to be Depth at Guard and could the rookie guard get the start at Gaurd instead of Long?

    • bangkokben - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      Willie Smith is a tackle and will compete with Takoby Cofield, Morgan Moses, and Tom Compton for the back ups to Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff. That’s it as far a tackles – 6 guys for four spots. He’s definitely on the bottom.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 3, 2015 at 5:10 PM

        I know he is a Tackle that doesn’t mean he can’t move to Guard

        • bangkokben - Jun 3, 2015 at 5:14 PM

          That’s why I explained the shortage at tackle.
          Why would they move him to guard if there are bunch of guys ahead of him there?

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 4, 2015 at 1:03 AM

          Who do they have at Guard besides the Rookie, Long, and last years starter at LG?

        • bangkokben - Jun 4, 2015 at 6:40 PM

          LeRibs would make four along with Kuoandjio, Long, and Lauvao. The other guys are Takoby Cofield and Ty Nsekhe as G/T and Tyler Larsen as G/C. Smith and Moses so far are just tackles but any alterations would likely come in training camp.

    • renhoekk2 - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:09 PM

      I think they are looking for anyone not named Tom Compton that can pass block.

  4. berniebernard666 - Jun 3, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    that is a good top 5. I’ll go along with it. Although while we are observing Griffin it might also be interesting to observe Cousins BECAUSE…..if RG3 fails or looks unsteady……guess who is next up.

  5. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:24 PM

    Rich, it would also be great if you can elaborate on Phillip Thomas as well. I hate this no pad affairs but I hope we can get an update on how he is handling passing situations and the overall offensive schemes being thrown at him.

    • ET - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:22 PM

      I’m also curious about how Thomas and Amerson are faring and how they’re being used. Thomas has a tough road ahead, for sure.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:53 PM

        It was good to read the staff has passing recent compliments about Amerson both on his potential and focus. I hope David continues to work hard because the guy can be a very good DB in this league. I agree about Thomas’ challenges. He could be another failed draft selection but man than guy looked good playing at Fresno State.

        • Stephfan - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:57 PM

          This is really his first healthy year so just give him time. But if duke or jeron starts, he may be sitting on the bench for a couple years

        • ET - Jun 3, 2015 at 3:20 PM

          Both Amerson and Thomas have the tools to succeed, if not as starters then quality backups. It’d be great if they can both turn the corner. We shall see.

  6. redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:25 PM

    Also Rich, is Schreff being work on at guard at all?

    • captblood3000 - Jun 4, 2015 at 12:23 AM

      Why? Williams and Moses aren’t available, so they’ll work Scherff at right tackle. I think that spot is Scherff’s to lose.

      If someone else (Moses?) wins the right tackle spot, I think Scherff would make a terrific left guard. Why? Because Iowa had a run-first offense where Scherff ordinarily had a tight end on his left shoulder. And Scherff is a beast of a run blocker. I say this having watched Scherff in the 2014 Maryland game. There he had big trouble when pass blocking without a tight end on his shoulder. That game was an aberration in Scherff’s 2014 season, but the Redskins’ investment in Scherff would be best realized if we don’t see him have the same problems in the NFL.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 4, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        I have no doubt that Schreff will be worked in at right tackle. However, I was curious to know if Rich is seeing him getting any work at guard as well. To maximize the value of the draft selection, Schreff should be given the opportunity to play tackle. For all the reasons you explained, which I agree, I’d like to see him getting work in both positions. Maybe it’s a bit much to put on him in OTA. However, Schreff is a four year player with already refined technique so he may be able to handle doing some work at guard as well.

        I know many want Schreff to take over the right tackle spot which I’m happy to see as well if Schreff can play that position at a high level. Most players with his wing span have difficulty with edge rushers. if we are seeing the same pass protection issues as being experienced with the other tackles then just like you stated, he’d make a terrific left guard and give the Redskins a formidable left side with him and Trent Williams. In the end, I’d rafter see him at guard if all we are getting out of him is a serviceable right tackle.

        Schreff also had major difficulty blocking in the bowl game and specifically against that Tennessee freshman phenom (forgot his name).

        • bangkokben - Jun 4, 2015 at 7:02 PM

          It’s OTAs. Right now there’s a bunch of guys on the roster competing for guard – and like capt. pointed out the injuries are at tackle. There just isn’t enough time for Scherff, Smith, Moses (injured), or anybody else that isn’t a guard to get reps at guard. Classroom might be different and then when they get the pads on things could change.
          Here are the guards for now – as I see it:

          LG Shawn Lauvao
          RG Spencer Long
          LG Josh LeRibeus
          RG Arie Kouandjio
          G/T Takoby Cofield
          G/C Tyler Larsen
          G/T Ty Nsekhe

          The top four will make the team. LeRibs will be the back-up guard/center on game days and Kouandjio will be inactive. Cofield will make the practice squad. Larsen and/or the center Zieter will also make the practice squad. Ty Nsekhe will likely be cut and resigned one more time before training camp.

  7. 214hof - Jun 3, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    I’m almost certain Rob won’t hold onto the job long. Say what you want, be it injuries or change of scheme or what have you, but Rob has just flat out face planted as a pocket passer. Not only has he lost almost every game he has started since 2013, he has look awful doing it. As bad as the Skins’ defense was, Griffin held the team back when he played. At least with Kirk it was clearly an awful defense that was to blame… I know someone will bring up the Giants game, and it was a terrible game by the whole team. Even without Kirk’s melt down in the 4th they still would have lost, maybe just a little less ugly.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:12 PM

      Obviously you didn’t read Rich’s comment on an earlier blog where he stated Cousins threw interceptions almostevery day last year in training camp/OTAs. He’s a turnover machine face the facts. With RG3 even the GM noticed how bad our Oline was. Why do you think he Drafted 3 Olinemen?

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      Cousins played in a pro system out of Michigan State and Rob did not. I don’t think anyone would agree about RG3 needs to show improvement in the pocket. It’s no small task in making a living in the pocket in the NFL Maybe you’re right and he will fail but I seriously doubt we’ll see any improvement in our offense with Cousins as a consistent starter. RG3 is a far more accurate passer with a stronger arm that needs to learn discipline in the pocket. If you want to excuse Cousins for the Giants game then explain why RG3 look so good against Dallas on Thanksgiving. There was quite a bit of greatness about the 2012 RG3 that was not a fluke or due to a read option.

      • Stephfan - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:14 PM

        Redskins I’m not responding to you but if rg3 has lost every game how many has cousins started and won… I’ll wait. Cousins isn’t the ab of the future he has shown that. Rg3 has shown that if you tailored the offense to him more. Things just might work like in 2012

      • 214hof - Jun 4, 2015 at 2:22 PM

        Since 2013, when they got away from the high school/gimmick offence they ran in 2012 Rob has 20 starts and 5 games with a QB rating over 100 (that’s included the Jacksonville game where he attempted 4 passes). You can say what you want about Rob having the superior arm strength/accuracy but I haven’t seen it since 2012. Kirk is the only QB out of the three to start last year that was able to push the ball down field consistently and actually hit Desean in stride for the 40+ yard TDs. I have never said that Kirk is or will be the franchise QB… But if Griffin comes out and plays like he did vs the Buccs and 9ers last year I say put him in. If Griffin can’t get it together by week 4 bench him so he doesn’t get hurt then cut him in the offseasson and save the cap space. I feel bad for the fans that are still hoping and praying for him to return to 2012 Griffin. He is scared to make mistakes, so he holds onto the ball too long, drops back too far making the OL look even worse then what it was, can’t see open receivers/ passing windows. Griffin’s career numbers look so good because of 2012, take it away and he is a below avg. QB with an injury history and terrible W/L record. This is a what have you done for me lately league.

    • bangkokben - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:21 PM

      My only objection I have to what you wrote is: “he lost almost every game…” The sport is football; it’s not that crap they play in the summer where one guy throws his stuff to the whole team and therefore gets ‘credited’ with a win or a loss. In football you have 45 guys working together and the result is either victory of defeat. go gnats go.

      • brucefan1 - Jun 3, 2015 at 3:43 PM

        Whoa….where’d all that baseball hate come from, ben?! LOL

        • bangkokben - Jun 3, 2015 at 5:07 PM

          I grew up playing both baseball and soccer and later football, of course. Football has always been a passion of mine since the first time I saw it on tv when I was four. Soccer and baseball I liked equally as a kid. But it was soccer that helped me be the athlete I needed to be to play football – not baseball. When the World Series was skipped due to the strike in the early 90s, I later realized that I didn’t miss it. Baseball is simply something to pass the time until football season. Baseball is fine. I’m glad dominant pitching is back and they’re speeding up the game but wake me up and tell me who wins because I fell asleep in the 7th due to the need of bringing in every reliever off the bench (righty vs righty and lefty vs lefty). Everyone knows the strategy and a game as slow as baseball should have a compelling strategic element not one where an average ten-year-old could manage. (American League)

          But my real issue is how chic it now is to use W-L records for individuals in other team sports. Quarterback seems to be the one abused most. Just last night I saw Cam Newton’s W-L record used as a fact with his recent contract. Archie Manning and Sonny Jurgenson were dam good quarterbacks who were stuck on bad teams. Then there is Mark Sanchez.

  8. Stephfan - Jun 3, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    Great stuff as always rich. Also updates on Ryan grant if possible I’m a fan of him. And possible how long reed maybe out

  9. xskulldog - Jun 3, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Well, it finally looks like the Redskins got the message that everyone, media, fans opponents etc, have know for years…That the Redskins need to upgrade the offensive line to compete in the NFL. Our arch rival, Dallas Cowboys went out and spent three first round draft picks of offensive linemen and they have one of the best in the league. Thank goodness for the New General Manager.

    Next, we need to fix special teams. Last years Houston game was embarrasing watching the one man JJ Watt show win that game. Based upon this years draft, if appears that Scot drafted players for special teams, seniors that stayed in college all four years to finish the job. Again, it looks like Scot got the message. If the odds even out, and the Redskins have plenty of upward mobility based upon their W-L record, they should improve. How much they improve will be determined by offensive line, defensive secondary and special teams. If those three areas show significant improvement and we get a little pass rush, the team should be very successful. HTTR!

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