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Practice Notes: 2016 #SkinsCamp, Day 2

sua-cravens-day-2-practice-660-350.jpg's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 2 of the Washington Redskins' 2016 training camp in Richmond, Va.


-- Rob Kelley began Friday's 11-on-11 drills with a nice, clean run up the middle, though the ease with which he rushed through the defense couldn't be said for the offense as a whole during the afternoon. Jones continued to show his development as the lead back, racing several more times into the secondary with some hard cuts, but for the most part the offense couldn't find a rhythm, or the end zone, and made some mental mistakes.

-- Most notably those came from Colt McCoy, who was picked off twice near the end of practice. The first came on a wobbly high throw down the left sideline that was scouted and picked off by cornerback Jeremy Harris, and the other came on a short floater in the middle of the field that Su'a Cravens sniffed out for a pick. Unlike Thursday, the offense primarily was forced into short passes, bubble screens and check downs. The occasional deep passes were occasionally dropped (once by Rob Kelley) or batted away.

-- On one play, the defense swallowed up the pocket, forcing Cousins to run towards the sideline where he faked as though he were stepping out of bounds and then proceeded to sprint upfield at the last second, running for an extra 40 yards to the applause of the crowd. Cousins had his most precise sequence during 7-on-7 drills where he completed three passes in a row – two short passes to Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and about a 25-yard pass to Jackson crossing over the middle.

-- While we didn't get to see running back Keith Marshall too much during spring workouts, he showed off his speed on Friday, particularly on a draw play that highlighted his quick feet, weaving between linemen and bursting up the middle. It's still difficult to tell exactly how productive the running backs and offensive line is without pads, but head coach Jay Gruden said the team will start wearing them tomorrow pending poor weather.

-- The same shiftiness could be applied to Jamison Crowder, who caught everything that came his way – in traffic and in the flat -- from Cousins. He mentioned the confidence he's gained in his sophomore season and the desire to score more touchdowns in 2016. If Friday was any indication, he's on the right track. On a particular receiver screen, he caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, made a quick cut inside and then flew up the seam, which made defensive backs assistant Aubrey Pleasant take notice. Ryan Grant also made a handful of grabs today, including a tough catch and toe drag by the sideline.

-- On the offensive line not much changed from Thursday. Arie Kouandjio continued to take reps at left guard with the first and second teams while Spencer Long switched between left guard with the first team and center with the second team. As was evident in the way Jones ran the ball, the starting offensive line seems to really be gelling as a unit in its blocking duties.

-- Cousins ended practice on a high note with a strike to tight end Vernon Davis, who ran a medium post route towards the right side of the field. The ball was punched out by Cravens as he sprinted towards the end zone, but it bounced right back into his hands. 

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)


--Bashaud Breeland and Su'a Cravens led a Redskins defense on Friday afternoon that got the better end of the offense more times than not. On the first 1-on-1 of the session between wide receivers and cornerback, Breeland matched up with Jamison Crowder, who ended up using a quick comeback route to get the Clemson product off balance. But Breeland would respond. In the final rep of the period, Trent Williams tried to find Jackson for one of his classic deep bomb touchdowns. At the last minute, though, a diving Breeland knocked the ball away.

Check out images of safety Su'a Cravens during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.

--Cravens, meanwhile, recorded an interception and forced a late fumble on tight end Vernon Davis. During one of the unit periods, quarterback Colt McCoy tried to flick the ball to second-year running back Mack Brown. Instead, Cravens jumped the pass and picked it off for a would-be touchdown. Then a few minutes later, Davis – an 11-year veteran – caught a pass in front of Cravens before racing up field. But the rookie would poke the ball free. It's the sort of play the coaching staff constantly preaches about, playing until the whistle blows.

--Speaking of interceptions, cornerback Jeremy Harris recorded the first interception of the day when he grabbed a deep pass intended for Colt McCoy. Harris, 25, played in the Redskins regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys last season.

--With Preston Smith not participating in Friday's practice with an excused absence, Houston Bates worked with the first-team defense opposite Ryan Kerrigan at outside linebacker. His signature play of the day came when his pressure on a Kirk Cousins rollout forced a pass to be thrown away.

--Perry Riley Jr. debuted in a practice session for the first time since last December when he suffered a foot injury. He was the last inside linebacker to go through the unit's individual drills and sprinkled in some action with the first- and second-team defenses, but showed no linger affects from his injury.

--One of the defensive linemen that stood out during 11-on-11 drills was Stephen Paea. While Paea is known for his strength (he shattered the NFL Combine record for bench press reps in 2011 with 49) the 310 pounder showed quite a bit of burst. When the speedy Keith Marshall got in for the offense, he tried to run through the right side of the line, but Paea came off the line from the right side and stopped him for what would have been a minimal gain. Later, Paea quite possibly could have tallied a sack against Cousins. While Cousins sprinted down the sideline (defensive line coach Robb Akey got on Paea about finishing plays), it was a play that showed Paea can contribute to the pass rush some, too.

--One more cornerbacks note. Greg Toler had a beautiful pass defense on an attempted long pass during for rookie wide receiver Valdez Showers during 7-on-7 drills. It was the kind of play that could go a long way in a crowded cornerbacks room.

(Stephen Czarda)

Special Teams:

--Not much changed with the special teams from the first day of camp, as the same returners got action during punt return drills. One interesting practice change, though, was that some of the returners fielded balls with towels tucked beneath both arms. Rashad Ross told that it is to help with technqiue and to prevent potential fumbling issues.

(Stephen Czarda)

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