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Redskins practice report, Day 9: Scrambling at cornerback

Aug 7, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

Redskins Texans camp

RICHMOND—Rain was a constant threat as the Texans returned for the second of three practice sessions against the Redskins. Here are my observations from the practice:

—There were officials present again today, the crew led by referee Walt Coleman. I’m not sure why teams don’t bring in refs for every day of training camp, at least a small crew and even college refs could help call offside, catch/no catch, etc.

—The teams started off with a long session of special teams work. Although it’s boring to watch since they only go about 70 percent to practice the kicking game, the Redskins certainly need the work.

—Matt Jones is a north-south runner. He’ll go at an angle to get to the hole and once he does it’s straight towards the goal line. The rookie went around left end on one play and as soon as he got in the clear he immediately headed straight up the field.

—Brandon Scherff had some tough moments going up against J.J. Watt. But on one play Scherff got proper position on the defender and cleared him out of the hole. That is how you have to try to control a player like Watt. You aren’t going to out muscle him.

—Rookie wide receiver Quinton Dunbar changed from a white jersey to a burgundy jersey, indicating a switch from offense to defense. He lined up there all day and did a credible job. At 6-2, he has the length they like at the position but at 201 pounds he look a bit fragile out there. But they needed the help and Dunbar stepped up and provided it. He’s still a long shot to make the team but the more he can do, the better his chances will be of eventually hanging on.

—The Redskins’ top four cornerbacks were out so Dunbar and others had to try to hang on against the Texans passing attack. On one play Houston wide receiver E. Z. Nwachukwu easily beat Deshazor Everett deep but quarterback Ryan Mallett overthrew him.

—Among others working at cornerback were Tajh Hasson, Dunbar, Trey Wolfe, Justin Rogers, and DreQuan Hoskey.

—With the Redskins’ weakened secondary, the Houston offense looked pretty good. It resembles the scheme used by the Patriots, where Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was the offensive coordinator. It’s about quick, accurate passing. The pass rush is going to be the strength of the Redskins’ pass defense and the quick throws help to negate that. Of course, when it’s Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett executing the offense and not Tom Brady, it doesn’t work with quite the same devastating precision.

—Mallett and Hoyer are splitting first-team snaps and competing for the starting quarterback job. Based on the limited snaps I’ve seen, I think Hoyer would be the better choice. But unlike some in the New England media did last year, I’m not going to declare who the starter should be based on a very limited sample size of what they have done during the offseason.

—Working off to the side at the beginning of practice were Logan Paulsen (toe), Preston Smith (groin), Trevardo Williams (hamstring) and David Amerson (shoulder). During the course of practice, Stephen Paea (groin) and Frank Kearse (knee) joined them on the sideline.

—Robert Griffin III was up and down during the course of the day. He had a rough time on one particular series when nearly every snap he either was pressure or didn’t have anyone open. The good thing was that he didn’t panic and try to force the ball into too small a space. He threw it away when he had issues.

—Hoyer went back to pass and quickly was swarmed by the defense. The defense didn’t hit him, of course, and he managed to flip a pass to a back. He turned and looked at O’Brien, seemingly pleading with the coach to count the completion. O’Brien was having none of it. “There’s no [expletive] way you got that off,” he said.

—Safety DaMon Cromartie-Smith was playing deep middle when third-string quarterback Tom Savage either severely overthrew a pass or threw it into a deep area thinking a receiver was going to be there. Cromartie-Smith ran up and made a diving interception.

—The second team offensive line was, from left to right, Willie Smith, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus, Spencer Long, and Tom Compton.

—Kirk Cousins started off a series with a fumbled snap and then had a pass batted away.

—The play of the day from the Redskins standpoint came when rookie running back Matt Jones took a handoff and headed down the left sideline. Texans rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson tried to get in his way. But Jones is about three inches taller and 45 pounds heavier than Johnson. Jones easily won the collision and mowed over the cornerback. That drew hoots and hollers from the players on the sideline, both offensive and defensive.

—In goal to go sets just before the end of practice, both the Redskins’ first- and second-team offenses scored touchdowns. Griffin threw a nice fade to Pierre Garçon in the corner and the official on the spot signaled a completion and a touchdown. Then Colt McCoy mishandled a shotgun snap but recovered, scrambled, and threw to Evan Spencer just over the goal line.

  1. Johnny B. - Aug 7, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    RICH I have been reading your posts for about 6 months so I am kinda new. The one thing that I have found out is that you are a very good read. You call it like you see it no favorites. A very good commentator. I Don’t always agree with you but it is always a good read. So with that in mind the whole team needs to get it together. They all have a lot of problems except for a few. RG3 will be better this year I see about 8 to 9 wins if the play calling gets better. Since we now have more experienced coaches on staff do you think that they will help Gruden on that. I just wanted your input on it.

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 7, 2015 at 5:01 PM

      Thanks for reading. I don’t think that the play calling was a big issue last year, I think the talent of the players executing those plays was the problem. Of course, there could be some tweaks to it. But I think it’s more about players, not play calls.

  2. clayton268921 - Aug 7, 2015 at 2:48 PM

    Are there more injuries now than there were this time last year? And how do we look on injuries compared to the rest of the league right now. I feel like everyone is hurt.

  3. berniebernard666 - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    whats up with all the GROIN injuries?? Thought Mike Clark was supposed to eliminated some of these injuries. Guess not. The good thing is that nobody has been lost for the season but the way that the Redskins ALWAYS rush players back on the field, it is likely that some if not most of these injuries will be nagging injuries that bother the players throughout the season.

    Most of the time, once a player gets injured more than once, they tend to be injury prone. Robert, D. Hall, Chris Samuels, Orakpo, and Reed are prime examples. So I would keep my eye on Amerson, Desean Jackson, Preston Smith, and others who are fighting off injuries right now. We could be in for a long season if the Redskins rush back their injures players just like they always do.

    • ET - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:28 PM

      I do agree that sometimes in the past, the Skins brought back players too early and not fully healed—to the detriment of both the player and team.

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:58 PM

      The Patriots had 22 players sitting out today’s practice with various injuries. I guess their trainers suck, too.

      No trainer can eliminate a groin pull. Especially one at the relatively low threshold needed to keep a player out of a few training camp practices. You do realize that most of these injuries would not keep players out of regular season practices or games, right?

      And I suppose you have specific examples of players who were rushed back when sound medicine would have suggested that the weight.

      C’mon people. There are plenty of legitimate reasons co bust on the Redskins organization. Training camp ailments is not one of them.

      • Skulb - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:43 PM

        RGIII after the strained knee VS Baltimore.

      • sidepull - Aug 8, 2015 at 5:15 AM

        Ha great comment about the Pats. Kind of put things in perspective.

  4. sherrod ford - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:52 PM

    I don’t believe this is accurate when speaking of Robert Griffin or when talking about the highlight of the day highlight of the day was the touchdown during red zone session and I believe Robert headed fairly good day today. Way better than yesterday

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:54 PM

      How about “I disagree” rather than talking about accuracy? It’s an opinion. If yours differs, that’s fine. But that doesn’t make my view “inaccurate”

  5. murphsman - Aug 7, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Everyone assumed Long was gonna be replacing Chester. Since Moses has been taking first team reps the past couple days, which one do you think will be the starter? And if you think it’s gonna be Moses, do you think he will be more likely to start at guard or tackle?

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 7, 2015 at 4:30 PM

      Moses hasn’t been taking any snaps at RG as far as I’ve heard.
      ~

      • murphsman - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:30 PM

        You may be right. But the talk was Scherff was gonna play tackle, which by default would make Moses the guard if he was gonna be a starter.

        • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:43 PM

          The last two days Moses has been playing right tackle and Scherff right guard. Still too early to see if this is a switch but bottom line, the Redskins are trying to get the five best O-linemen on the field at the same time.

        • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 8:13 PM

          From Keim’s observations:

          “There were also times when Griffin was unable to step into the throw because of quick interior pressure (as when Watt drove guard Brandon Scherff into the quarterback).”

          Better for him to learn from it now.

        • tyler - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:18 PM

          No that doesn’t make any sense. Moses is a Tackle and NOT a Guard. They’re probably just preparing for different scenarios because that’s what you do in practice.

        • bowlregard - Aug 8, 2015 at 12:54 PM

          One thing to remember. Mayock all along had Scherff rated the top guard in the draft, even though he played tackle in college. Guard may be his best position.

    • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 6:27 PM

      A caller today asked Doc Walker and B Mitch if Moses was a better tackle than Scherff. No hesitation by both of them that at this point he is.

      • brucefan1 - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:31 PM

        Fer REAL?! Whoa!

        MM musta ate his Wheaties this off-season and come back a much improved player. LOL Hope he keeps it up!!

        (Hey…wait a minute … or was their observation more of an indictment of The Sheriff’s play to this point in camp?! Yikes. Didn’t hear the show.)

        • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:41 PM

          Hard to tell. It seemed to be a little of both. They seemed to be quite impressed with Moses and apparently his size is huge help but they seemed to think that he was much better on the right side now. As for Scherrf, Walker thought he’d be better on the left as guard and thinks that the side switch is part of the adjustment.

        • Skulb - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:51 PM

          Keep in mind the hype with Moses last year. He was actually a quite highly regarded tackle in the 2014 draft Then he got like half a chance last year and blew it a bit before getting injured. But I`ve been keeping Moses in mind all offseason and am not at all surprised to see him doing well. Smart guy too.

        • captblood3000 - Aug 9, 2015 at 1:14 PM

          Both Moses and Scherff finished their college careers at left tackle, so they are making roughly the same adjustment. I say “roughly” because Iowa runs a lot more two tight end sets than Virginia. Also, Moses played right tackle while Oday Aboushi was Virginia’s left tackle.

          I don’t subscribe to the thinking that Scherff is a bust if Moses starts at right tackle and Scherff starts at guard. Scherff is like a rhino at run blocking, and I expect Bill Callahan will make him a good pass protector.

    • Skulb - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:48 PM

      Just looking at size I don`t think Moses could be considered a typical prospect at guard. He just looks like a tackle. Scherff looks like a guard. As long as they can both play well in those positions I think that`s where they`ll go in the line. I still haven`t seen the quick feet from Moses he`ll need out there. But if he didn`t have it I doubt he`d be starting at tackle, even during TC.

  6. jscx3 - Aug 7, 2015 at 5:43 PM

    I think that these injuries are in some way good. You can workout all you want, but competition is different, you are being way more explosive on the field. Plus you are going up against another player. Get the rust off, rehab them. This is a good way to see how much depth they got and just might find a hidden gym. None of these would hold them out on gameday. If they did then the Skins dont want them. I want everyone healthy, but this is football. Reading what was said about the Patriots practice looks like they are just resting some guys. Its August, there is no training camp superbowl or preseason playoffs. I do feel bad for the rookies because it does hamper their progress.

  7. Capital Defense - Aug 7, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    Good stuff, thanks a million.

  8. Capital Defense - Aug 7, 2015 at 6:28 PM

    If Lavauo goes down, is Kouandjio the next guy up? or…. Would Josh LeRibeus or Spencer Long take over/

    Your opinion?

    • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 8:31 PM

      I’m thinking Long is the next guy up.

  9. hitmeimopen - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    Did any of you think what I was thinking – that something occurred in respect to the Hard Knocks film crew. Seems the injuries came on after the first day w/ the Texans. I don’t have evidence but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    • bangkokben - Aug 8, 2015 at 8:59 AM

      Practicing 100% against an opponent has more to do with injuries then a production crew.

  10. goback2rfk - Aug 8, 2015 at 12:26 AM

    Maybe try and pick up Aldon Smith on the cheapo as back up potential.

  11. staceygot3 - Aug 8, 2015 at 3:55 PM

    I’m looking forward to seeing rg3 in extensive preseason action. I think that’s the best way to have him in midseason form come week 1. As for the defense, pressure on the quarterback will be the biggest determining factor for Ws this season that and health. Breeland, Amerson, and Hall all have great ball skills so I’m looking to see an increase of ints. On another note this guy Scot Mcloughan is really building a winning program in D.C. My final comment is directed towards the wideouts, Crowder better be our #3 receiver. Roberts doesn’t have half the talent or play making ability its really a no-brainer

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