Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

5 Takeaways: Jay Gruden's OTAs Day 5 Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's media session with reporters during the second week of OTAs at Redskins Park.

1. Josh Doctson did not participate in Wednesday's OTA session, but Gruden thinks he could be back as early as next week.

Gruden announced on Wednesday that rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson did not participate in Wednesday's practice with a minor foot injury.

Doctson X-Ray came back negative, and the Redskins' first-round pick should be back on the field soon.  

"We kept him out today and hopefully he will be back next week or shortly thereafter," Gruden said. "But it is important to get these reps. These are important, no question about it, but we have other ways to get him to learn the system. We have all the meeting room time and that will be beneficial to him and we still have all of training camp and preseason games, so he has plenty of time. I'd be lying if I said these reps weren't important, but he will have other ways to learn it."

With neither Doctson nor Jamison Crowder participating, it gave younger players like Jamison Crowder and Colt McCoy an opportunity at more playing time against the first-team defense.

2. Shawn Lauvao will soon be returning to an open competition for the starting left guard job.

Lauvao started the 2015 season strong before going down with a season-ending ankle injury suffered in a Week 3 loss to the New York Giants.

In his absence, the team relied on then second-year guard Spencer Long, who performed well at times in the first extended action of his career.

A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins guard Shawn Lauvao during the 2014 season.

Lauvao continued to battle through multiple surgeries throughout the offseason, but is close to an on-field return.

Once back, the pair will engage in a heated competition for the starting left guard spot next to Trent Williams.

"You know, Shawn was playing at a very high level before he got injured, so I'm not going to pencil in anybody as a starter right now," Gruden said. "I want to make sure Shawn gets healthy first. I really like his ability but I love the way Spencer came on at the end of the year. It's good to have two good guys at that position."

Gruden expects Long will improve "quite a bit" going into his third season.

"[Third-year guards] get a little more confidence of how we do things, the calls or the ability to react a lot quicker with movement on the defensive line and knowing where to go and how to get there," Gruden said. "He has already got the athletic ability. He is a big man that can run and he is strong, so now if he brings the confidence and the knowledge of the system with him, he's going to be very, very good."

3. Long is also a potential option at center.

Despite being a position most pundits thought the Redskins would address in the NFL Draft, the Redskins elected to keep their center position intact with Trent Williams, Josh LeRibeus, Austin Reiter and Long.

Lichtensteiger is once again working as the first-team center, but who plays the position behind him is fluid right now.

"You know, Kory played very good for us before his injury," Gruden said. "You know, we were running the ball very effectively with him in there and then he got hurt unfortunately and Josh was forced into action and he improved as the season went on. So we feel like we've got good two centers there. And we drafted Austin and he's shown improvement from year one to year two being on the practice squad and then of course Spencer is doing some good things. So, I feel good about the center position right now."

4. Gruden has seen better ball security from Rob Kelley.

Jones had quite a bit of success for the Redskins as a rookie in 2015, but the biggest knock on the running back was his ball security.

The University of Florida product fumbled the ball five times in 13 games, four of which were lost.

Jones changed his running style this offseason, and so far it's reaping better results.

"If he's putting the ball down now, we have problems," Gruden said with a smile. "But it's been talked about and it's been worked on. Fundamentally, we drill him. We've got a special ball for him, we've got all kinds of things that help him out, mainly focus on the ball not just when he's in contact or in the line of scrimmage, but outside of contact where he had a lot of trouble last year. So, we're working with him, and he's a diligent guy. He's working hard at it. He'll get it corrected; he better."

Jones, of course, is better known for his bruising style. In a high flying offense, the contrast between his strengths and the receivers' ability to spread the field could result in some big runs.

"He loves it dirty," Gruden said. "That's not the issue with him. He's a physical runner. He definitely loves those inside power-running type plays."

5. Gruden remains impressed with the type of player Josh Norman is and hopefully will become with the Redskins.

Now in Washington for a little more than a month, Gruden and the rest of the coaching staff have gotten a first-hand look and they remain steadfast that Norman is going to pick up right where he left off last season when he was named a first-team All-Pro.

"His work ethic, number one," Gruden said of what's stood out from Norman. "You never know what type of worker they are until they actually get in your building and that has been the most impressive. He's got the skill set; he has already proven that. He is a Pro Bowl corner and almost Defensive Player of the Year and all that good stuff. You know about his gameday ability, but what you don't know about is how he is with the other players and in the meeting room and on the practice field. So far everything has been outstanding and I have been thrilled to see him work when the ball is not on his side and he is not in the meeting room and all that."

Norman's previous accomplishments have also earned him respect in a veteran locker room.

"When he came in here, he didn't come in here thinking he was better than everybody," Gruden said. "He came in here and worked as hard as a first-year rookie has trying to learn the system. So he's been very humble, he's worked extremely hard. You go out on the field and he's the same way. All he does is work and try to get himself better and try to get his teammates better, and that's what it's all about. He's a great football player, but I think right now he's shown that he's also a great teammate."




This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content