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Practice Notes: 2016 #SkinsCamp, Day 3

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Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 3 of the Washington Redskins' 2016 training camp in Richmond, Va.


Offense:

--While the weather impacted some of the wide receivers during 1-on-1 drills against the cornerbacks (a steady rain fell during parts of practice) it didn't impact the sure-handed Rob Kelley, who made numerous tough catches throughout the day. While Garçon isn't as flashy as the likes of Jamison Crowder or Jordan Reed, he's in many ways the team's most consistent receiver. On Trent Williams' first pass during the first period of unit drills, he found Garçon for a would-be first down after the Mount Union product used a dig route to get Bashaud Breeland off his side.

The Washington Redskins offense conducted their third day of training camp practice day, July 30, 2016 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va

--Cousins and Jackson yet again hooked up for a 50-yard touchdown during 7-on-7 drills, as the wide receiver blew past cornerback Josh Norman. Then later during the two-minute drill, the three-time Pro Bowler used a sharp post route to get past safety DeAngelo Hall that quite possibly could have been a touchdown reception. Jackson – in the final year of a three-year deal signed in 2014 – has been one of the brightest spots in camp so far.

--With the pads on, the coaching staff got a closer look at how the offensive line worked against a defensive line with quite a few new faces. During 1-on-1 drills between the offensive linemen and defensive linemen, players on both units received ample snaps. While Trent Williams stood out as he always does, another tackle that was difficult to move was Ty Nsekhe. At 6-foot-7, 335 pounds, the 30-year-old is an imposing force. A surprising roster selection last year, the Texas State product now appears solidified as the team's swing tackle behind Williams and Morgan Moses.

--It's no mystery that tight end Niles Paul is one of the most physical players on the team, and one play in particular on Saturday showcased that asset of his game. During one of the team's unit drills period, Paul caught a pass and then sped up field only to give Martrell Spaight a stiff arm that knocked him to the ground. After a quick scuffled ensued, the two shook hands and got back to work.

--The last period of unit work was the two-minute drill. Starting from its own 30-yard line, the first-team offense had 1:38 to move the ball into field goal territory. Cousins would complete the first two passes of the drive to Garçon and Reed before throwing away the ball on the third pass of the drive. Cousins would then find Jackson (for what could have likely been a touchdown during a game) and wide receiver Ryan Grant on back-to-back passes to set up a 43-yard field goal attempt for Dustin Hopkins. The Florida State product nailed his kick with ease. The second-team offense's drive stalled out after just five plays, though, when Colt McCoy was intercepted by Greg Toler.

--The running backs worked quite a bit on keeping the right body lean while running through the gauntlet on individual drills while being instructed by running backs coach Randy Jordan. He also wanted the unit – which is perhaps the youngest on the team – to keep their eyes up when going through the gauntlet. It's something the running backs have translated over to unit drills well. Through three days, the running backs have done well keeping control of the football, having yet to tally a fumble.

(Stephen Czarda)


Defense:

--The defense continued to look stout on Saturday, although DeSean Jackson continued to be its Achilles heel, a prevailing theme in this training camp. Bashaud Breeland kept up his hot start with another interception off Kirk Cousins, this time sliding down over the middle of the field on an underthrown ball. Linebacker Trent Murphy accounted for the second interception of the day to start 11-on-11 drills, jumping in front of a Cousins screen pass with both hands up. Greg Toler finished the day with the defense's third interception, running in stride with Colt McCoy and keeping leverage inside to haul in McCoy's throw.

The Washington Redskins defense and special teams conducted their third day of training camp practice Saturday, July 30, 2016 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.

--Gruden wanted to see the physicality on the field with the players putting pads on and that's what he got. From the first couple of snaps during team drills you could hear the pads and helmets popping. Some of the chippy play that had been festering manifested itself in the confrontation between Paul and Spaight, the first in a few other skirmishes likely to take place as the week progresses.

--The physical play was also evident during the action. Safety Duke Ihenacho, known for having a nose for the ball, ran in on some run plays to make tackles right up with line of scrimmage. Ricky Jean Francois got a little more aggressive with Rob Kelley after runs, trying to knock the ball out of his hands as he works on decreasing his fumbling. The coaches also instituted some 1-on-1 drills in which one player tried to get past a tackler in his way. Houston Bates and Martrell Spaight had the biggest collision of the bunch, falling to the ground, something that happened often on the slippery field.

--Bates continued to sub in at right outside linebacker for Preston Smith, who missed Friday and Saturday attending a funeral, and Jean Francois got some more opportunities with the first-team defense on the line.

--The defensive and offensive lines also had some 1-on-1 battles. Gruden mentioned prior to practice that he feels good about three or four of his defensive linemen, but that there are definitely a couple more spots open for competition, as they will likely rotate them throughout prolonged drives. Matt Ioannidis, who Gruden believes will develop as a nose guard, looked strong in his bull rush, Stephen Paea deposited a nice spin move against Spencer Long to get inside and undrafted rookie Anthony Lanier II, who boasts a lot of length for a three-technique, slipped past some O-lineman a couple times. Trent Murphy made some nice moves on Trent Williams, but, as is typically the case, they didn't faze the left tackle.

--Besides the Toler interception to end practice, the secondary struggled a little bit more in the 2-minute drill, where Cousins found a rhythm both in some short patterns to Ryan Grant and in a long, potential touchdown to DeSean Jackson on a post route.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)


Special Teams:

--Lane blocking continues to be a stressed point with special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica, who got a chance to instruct some trapping and tackling techniques for the gunners on punts. At this point in training camp, a lot of players on the fringe of the roster need to make a strong impression as the preseason comes into view.

--Dustin Hopkins made all four field goals at the end of practice from 33, 38, 41 and 43 yards, respectively. Defensive end Chris Baker was his most vocal during this final portion of practice, yelling right next to Hopkins to distract him. As is typically the case, it didn't work.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

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