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Practice Notes: 2016 #SkinsCamp, Day 9

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Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 9 of the Washington Redskins' 2016 training camp in Richmond, Va.


Offense:

-- The offense was put into some situations nearly right away by the coaches beginning around its own 40-yard line, saddled with 1 minute and 52 seconds on the clock. Head coach Jay Gruden shouted out downs and distances but didn't need to yell as much as run to keep up with the first team offense. Trent Williams fired off six straight completions, the last of which was a strike to wide receiver Ryan Grant in the end zone up the left seam, leaving 37 seconds on the clock. Cousins looked sharp, in command and appeared to know exactly where he wanted to throw the football throughout the drive.

The Washington Redskins offense conducted their ninth day of training camp practice, Sunday August 7, 2016 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va

-- Under Colt McCoy, the results were near the same. He hit Valdez Showers on a wide receiver screen and then threaded the needle to Niles Paul for a first down. A few more short passes got the offense within field goal range and ended with a Dustin Hopkins make to culminate the drive. Sudfeld, who was intercepted three times on Friday, didn't fare too much better after two of his throws were batted away and couldn't complete a first down.

-- In these situations, Spencer Long took snaps at left guard with the ones, while Lauvao worked with the second team. Arie Kouandjio shifted around a little and played right guard with the second team after he struggled a bit during the 1-on-1 drills. Lauvao appears to be moving better and looked strong in those drills mixing in with the first team after a few snaps to start practice.

-- Coaches provided the offense some different kinds of situational team drills to close practice, too. A few started with third-and-shorts deep in its own zone, prompting the punting team to get adjusted to being backed up by the end zone. The others finished on the opponent's 20-tyard line and progressed deeper into the red zone. Cousins found success with a touchdown to tight end Vernon Davis over the middle after a drive earlier saw Jamison Crowder miss a corner touchdown throw that hit him in both hands. Niles Paul aided Colt McCoy with a nice jump ball touchdown that he hauled in over linebacker Mason Foster, spinning around to make sure both of his feet were in bounds.

-- Some of the young wide receivers continued to look sharp during team drills on Sunday. Maurice Harris, already turning some heads, made a few nice grabs including a deep catch down the right sideline as Cousins rolled to his right where he outran the defense. Dez Stewart is another that's been a favorite target of quarterbacks Colt McCoy (he connected on a deep cross early into practice) and Nate Sudfeld, especially over the middle in the red zone.

-- Injury notes: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder dressed in shorts and did some fast jogging in the end zone as he works to recover from a hamstring issue. Head coach Jay Gruden said he may miss the Atlanta game, but not much more beyond that. Left tackle Trent Williams participated in individual drills but stayed out of team drills while tight end Jordan Reed was on the field with his thumb taped up after he sprained it during practice last week. Wide receiver Reggie Diggs was also held out with some soreness in his knee.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)


Defense:

--Even though Trent Murphy bulked up during the offseason to play defensive end, training camp has provided a glimpse of a potential tweener role between the line and his original position of linebacker. On Sunday, Murphy saw action mostly at outside linebacker. He also worked with the outside linebackers during individual drills, something he hinted he'll continue to do based on what the Redskins want out of him in nickel package situations.

The Washington Redskins defense and special teams conducted their ninth day of training camp practice Sunday, August 7, 2016 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.

--The outside linebackers position is, of course, headlined by the steady Ryan Kerrigan, who had one of his stronger practices of training camp. The six-year veteran pressured Kirk Cousins throughout the day, forcing him to throw a deep pass far out of bounds and would have recorded a sack on the quarterback on a 3rd-and-8 play from the offense's own 15-yard line.

--Ziggy Hood, Stephen Paea and Murphy flashed during 1-on-1 offensive line vs. defensive line drills. Hood in particular looked strong, beating Brandon Scherff, Cody Booth and Josh LeRibeus on different occasions while Paea – who is regaining form from a turf toe injury suffered last December – showcased his strength during the drill. Murphy's highlight came when he beat tackle Al Bond on three consecutive reps, using a different pass rush move each time to get to the quarterback.

--Cornerback Quinton Dunbar has shown marked improvement at the cornerback position after making the move last summer. Dunbar showed range to stop the shifty Keith Marshall for a short gain on one of his running plays. A few plays before that, the University of Florida product forced an incompletion on a short pass to Colt McCoy.

--While the first-team offense was able to drive 62 yards in just six plays for a touchdown during the two-minute drill period, the second- and third-team defensive units got the better end of the offense. For the second-team defense, Will Blackmon stalled the offense on a 3rd-and-2 play inside the defense's own territory, swatting down a Colt McCoy pass to force a field goal. The third-team unit, meanwhile, allowed just five yards in four plays, as Carlos Fields and Corey Crawford recorded back-to-back passes defensed.

--The team ended the day with a best-of-three series on the two-point conversion, which head coach Jay Gruden noted the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Redskins' Week 1 opponent, like to use a lot. The defense would win the affair, forcing two incompletions.

(Stephen Czarda)


Special Teams:

--With Jamison Crowder once again sidelined, T.J. Thorpe worked as the Redskins' primary punt returner. Signed by Washington just one day before training camp opened, Thorpe was a lethal returner during his time at the University of North Carolina. He earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2011 after leading the league with 26.7 yards-per-kick-return average (13th nationally) and breaking the school record for kick return yards (960).

--Tress Way shows no signs of losing strength in his punts any time soon, as he continued to boom punt after punt down the field on Sunday. The fans in attendance were awestruck by how perfect the spirals are on his kicks, too.

--Dustin Hopkins continued his strong training camp performance, too, nailing all of his field goal attempts (29, 32 and 53 yards).

(Stephen Czarda)

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