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Practice Notes: 2016 #SkinsCamp, Day 12

desean-jackson-day-12-660-350.jpg's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 12 of the Washington Redskins' 2016 training camp in Richmond, Va.


--After Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Jordan Reed (knee) did not participate in Thursday's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, both returned to practice on Sunday in full capacity. Crowder looked the same as he always has – catching passes in the slot for Trent Williams – while Reed ended practice with a touchdown reception with no time left on the clock for the offense. Starting from the 50-yard line with just 50 seconds left, Cousins went 5-of-7 on the drive, completing three passes to Reed and two to Chris Thompson.

--Trent Williams yet again did not practice during team drills, but Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said he is "very close" to returning. Ty Nsekhe took his spot at left tackle with the first-team unit. There was a slight scare when Nsekhe went down and grabbed his knee, but the Texas State product walked it off shortly after.

--Trent Williams did not practice either with a sore arm, replaced in the lineup at center by Spencer Long with Shawn Lauvao taking reps at left guard. Long for the most had a solid practice outside of one bad snap which Gruden remarked was "too late in training camp" to be happening. Austin Reiter, however, jumped Josh LeRibeus in the pecking order, at least on Saturday, taking reps with the second-team. LeRibeus worked with the third-team at center.

--Running backs coach Randy Jordan was particularly vocal with Keith Marshall during individual drills. On his first run through one of the drills that forces the running backs to get low and protect the ball, Marshall didn't go through as quick as Jordan would have liked. "Not good enough, 39. Accelerate!" Jordan remarked. During pass blocking drills, Jordan also walked Marshall through the drill and corrected him after his first rep.

--Speaking of the running backs, Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson both displayed shifty moves against the first-team defense. One run in particular for Thompson, which was set up by a beautiful block by Vernon Davis to clear space, really got Gruden's attention. Marshall, Rob Kelley and Mack Brown rotated in and out with the other units.

--The first- and second-team offensive units suffered the worst possible outcomes during the two-minute drill, as Cousins and McCoy were both picked off on their first throws. Nate Sudfeld, however, went 4-of-6 before the drill ended.

--As special teams drills were taking place, the quarterbacks worked on end zone passing. Two of the quarterbacks stood in the back of the end zone and acted as receivers while the live quarterback would go through an array of situations before trying to locate both targets. Cousins ended the session trying to complete passes over Sudfeld, as the 6-foot-6 quarterback had his arms extended all the way over his head.

--Undrafted wide receiver Kendall Thompson had perhaps the best catch of the day during team drills, extending out for a diving catch during team drills for about a 30-yard catch. Thompson played quarterback in college before making the move to wide receiver to extend his football life.

--One more injury note: Niles Paul (knee) did not practice but is close to returning. 

(Stephen Czarda)


--The defense had a strong return to the practice field after Thursday night's game, leaving head coach Jay Gruden slightly conflicted about how he should feel about the hot and humid day of work. He admitted at his press conference afterward that he was a glass half full kind of guy, which meant that even though the offense striggled to move the ball, he would take pride in the defense's work, specifically in their aggressiveness and creation of three turnovers.

--Su'a Cravens continued to show his athleticism Saturday working alongside linebacker Martrell Spaight. Both of them were able to sniff out a few run plays, like they did Thursday against the Flacons, and eased up on would-be tackles in the backfield. On one play, Spaight was part of an inside linebacker blitz that collapsed the pocket and created a would-be sack on Kirk Cousins. Even linebacker Terence Garvin made a nice collision in the backfield with running back Mack Brown after nose tackle Kedric Golston made an impassioned pep talk early into practice for the defense to step up. Gruden was quick to slap fives with Garvin and congratulate his instincts.

--The practice may have extended later into the day had the first and second team offense not thrown interceptions on the first plays of their 2-minute drills. Cousins began the session with a pass over the middle that cornerback Dashaun Phillips snuck in front of to end the first team's chance at a drive. Colt McCoy lined up the second team offense next and the same result occurred. Cornerback Greg Toler tipped a pass to the left and was easily grabbed by Cravens, who took it back for a would-be touchdown.

--That wasn't the only highlight of Toler's day. The veteran stayed stride for stride deep down the left sideline, leaped and tipped the ball to himself, collecting it on the way down with him. Toler has turned a lot of heads at camp, and while the team's additions after his signing seemed to threaten his place on the roster, he's made a strong case to backup Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland.

--While the pass rush is something that will likely continue to be scrutinized throughout the preseason and into the regular season without Junior Galette and any major names on the line, it looked strong on Saturday. At least several times throughout, linebackers crowded the pocket and got to Cousins and McCoy before they could release a throw. Spaight, Houston Bates, Preston Smith and Will Compton all had what would have been sacks or disruptions, helping to force bad throws and those interceptions. 

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

Special Teams:

-- One of the more entertaining punt return drills took place on the far end of the field on Saturday. While the drill is done at most practices, running backs coach Randy Jordan, who typically oversees it, played to the crowd and turned it into a competition. Jamison Crowder was first, and after each caught punt, he kept the ball with him, which forced him to catch each successive punt with his arms already occupied. The most footbalsl that he, Colt McCoy, and later Jamison Crowder could keep in their arms without dropping a punt was four, egged on by the crowd with each successful catch. 

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

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