Today marked the last Monday practice at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center for Redskins Training Camp 2013.
As the Redskins draw ever-closer to the end of camp, practices have gradually become more routine, as coaches have switched from general and football conditioning activities to more refined, technique-oriented drills.
The team has backed off of 1-on-1 battles altogether and is spending more time on unit and full-team drills, both of the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 variety.
Before practice, quarterback Robert Griffin III said there was a chance he might start 11-on-11 drills today or tomorrow, but head coach Mike Shanahan said that was unlikely to occur until Wednesday.
Griffin III said he mostly understood the plan that was in place for his return, but said he was disappointed that his timetable was not dictated by his incredible progress.
Rather than preparing for 11-on-11's, he would prefer to be preparing for the Buffalo Bills in the third preseason game. Head coach Mike Shanahan told the media after practice that that is completely out of the question.
Instead, Griffin III took the majority of the repetitions during 7-on-7 drills. He completed 15-of-17 throws, including a dropped pass, flashing his highest completion percentage during training camp (88 percent).
Robert Griffin III is making the most of his opportunities, however limited, and continues to make progress toward the shared goal of Week 1.
Here are some other observations from today's portion of practice that was open to the media:
- The offense got some good news this afternoon as rookie tight end Jordan Reed returned to the practice field for the first time since injuring his foot. Head coach Mike Shanahan put no limitations on his return to game action, saying that if he continued to perform well in practice without any setbacks to his foot, he would be available when the Redskins hosted the Steelers on Monday Night Football next week.
- Inside linebacker Nick Barnett spent most of the last two weeks getting into shape and getting accustomed to the Redskins' 3-4 defense. He was inactive in last week's preseason opener, but has been more involved in full team drills as camp goes on, and could be available for the Steelers game. Barnett is someone that projects to make the final 53-man roster, a timetable that is reflected in the coaching staff slowly working him back into shape. Keep an eye on No. 90 through the rest of the preseason.
- In receiver Dezmon Briscoe, the Redskin have a talented, albeit inconsistent red zone target. Two years ago, he caught six touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last year, he found himself in the dog house after dropping a touchdown in a road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Does he have what it takes to find his stride in 2013? A few big catches in training camp suggest the talent is still there, but he needs to show it.
- In his 15 completions during 7-on-7 drills, Robert Griffin III showed no favorites, hitting Fred Davis, Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon, Roy Helu Jr., Logan Paulsen, Lance Lewis, ALfred Morris, Santana Moss and Niles Paul.
- Lance Lewis has had an impressive camp so far, cashing in on his natural size and talent, combined with the savvy of his second Redskins training camp. Knowledge of the playbook has him comfortable out on the field, and he said he feels like he has the best opportunity to make an NFL roster in Washington, despite the stockpile of talent around him.
- The kick returner competition rages on, as Josh Wilson, Niles Paul, Skye Dawson, Richard Crawford and Nick Williams continued to take reps at the kick return position today. Redskins fans got a look at Paul, Crawford and Dawson in the preseason opener, but don't be surprised to see the coaching staff mix things up next week against the Steelers. If one of the rookies is worthy of retention against the 53-man roster, he will have to show up in a big way this preseason.
Play(s) Of The Day: Defense
Even with the field position odds stacked against them, the defense came through at the end of practice, holding the rotating offenses to just two red zone touchdown in five tries.
The Redskins rotated quarterbacks and offensive supporting casts, beginning with quarterback Kirk Cousins. The offense picked up yards, but when a pass bounced off Roy Helu Jr.'s chest plate, the drive stalled inside the 15-yard line.
Rex Grossman was up next and was also able to move the ball, before a third-down throw landed incomplete in the end zone.
After a Pat White to Evan Royster touchdown pass, the defense clamped down on Kirk Cousins' squad again. On third-and-short, Cousins handed off to the running back who was immediately bottled up by London Fletcher, who celebrated his "tackle" for a loss with the enthusiasm of someone 20 years his junior.
Play(s) Of The Day: Offense
The plays of the day on offense were the two plays in which the offense was able to break through for red zone touchdowns.
The first was the aforementioned touchdown pass from Pat White to running back Evan Royster, who converted for the first 11-on-11 score of the day.
The second one game on the last play of practice, when Rex Grossman found Jordan Reed shooting across the middle near the goal line, and hit the rookie tight end in stride for the score.
Reed is still dealing with lingering foot and leg issues, but has looked comfortable and confident in the offense, which is unusual for such a young tight end. Hopefully the team will get a good look at Reed down the stretch of the preseason and have him healthy and available for Week 1 when games count.
The Redskins have their last day of regular training camp practice tomorrow, with a morning walkthrough and an afternoon practice. After that, the team will move into regular season preparation mode, with the team practicing once in the afternoon and falling into the game weekly schedule.
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