Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda breaks down the key plays and highlights from Day 6 of the Washington Redskins' 2016 training camp in Richmond, Va.
With head coach Jay Gruden wanting to focus more on special team evaluation, while also giving some of the veterans a lighter day after back-to-back padded practices, the Washington Redskins on Wednesday hosted the first special teams-only practice of training camp.
The Washington Redskins conducted their sixth day of training camp practice Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
"I wanted to go two days hard and then really hone in on special teams – punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, field goal, field goal block – and let the big guys maybe have a rest day," Gruden said on Tuesday. "A lot of times when you go three days, the third day is usually going to be a rest day for a lot of the veterans so I wanted to get something out of it."
Even though the practice session lasted just an hour, there were still a few noteworthy moments:
--Gruden said during Wednesday's press conference that one of the reasons the Redskins signed Dustin Hopkins in favor of Kai Forbath was because of his strong leg. Hopkins put that leg on display shortly after's comments, converting on eight of his nine field goal attempts including nailing a 63 yarder with plenty of room to spare. Hopkins also converted from 33, 40, 43, 45, 48, 50 and 53 yards, but pulled a 38-yard attempt wide-left.
--Hopkins also provided an extended look at how he could potentially approach kickoffs this season, as touchbacks will now come out to the 25-yard line instead of the 20-yard line. Some of his kicks landed within the five-yard line, forcing the returners to field the kicks. It will be interesting to see what direction teams go in this season when deciding how to pin their opponents back.
--Returning kickoffs from Hopkins were the typical faces of Jamison Crowder, Colt McCoy and Chris Thompson, but Bashaud Breeland, Keith Marshall and Dashaun Phillips also lined up deep.
--At punt return, Crowder, Ross and Thompson were joined by Will Blackmon, who has returned 72 punts for 636 yards and three touchdowns in his career, although his last return came in 2013.
--On the far field away from the special teams drills, some players went through conditioning work while the quarterbacks were joined by Gruden and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh for some back-end zone target practice using trash cans and training net. While the active quarterbacks were, as expected, more accurate, Cavanaugh and Gruden both connected on perfect throws at one point.