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Practice Notes: 2017 OTAs, Day 2

josh-doctson-otas-2017-day-1-660-350.jpg's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 2 of Washington Redskins 2017 OTAs.


–For the first time since early last season, 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson was a full participant in practice. Doctson, of course, was sidelined for the final 14 games last year with an Achilles injury, but said that is now an afterthought. The TCU product was full speed but also tried to "maintain," knowing there's a few months before preseason action takes place. The 24-year-old caught the first pass of the afternoon from Trent Williams on a comeback route against Josh Norman. Then later in practice during the final set of 11-on-11 drills, Doctson had a nice double move that shook cornerback Dashaun Phillips for a sizeable gain.

–Rob Kelley was the first running back to work with the fist-team offense, but Chris Thompson and Mack Brown also rotated through as well. Head coach Jay Gruden noted that Kelley has slimmed down some since last season as he's figured out some of the necessary eating habits to be an NFL player, particularly at running back where careers are often short these days.

–Speaking of the running backs, position coach Randy Jordan worked the group through a series of pass blocking drills. The focus was on keeping the backs' arms "high and tight" and having good hip movement. Washington, of course, likes to throw the ball quite a bit, as Kirk Cousins ranked sixth in pass attempts last season with 606.

–Cousins started out 7-on-7 drills by completing back-to-back deep bombs to Ryan Grant and Maurice Harris. Harris' catch could have been a touchdown grab. While there isn't a pass rush during these sessions, Cousins locked in on both young receivers and perfectly placed the ball into their hands with Josh Norman in coverage.

–Running back Rob Kelley, tight end Jordan Reed and tackle Trent Williams were absent from the voluntary practice session, but Gruden said all three have been working out and staying in shape while away from the team facility.

–Without Williams present, the first-team offensive line was right tackle Morgan Moses, right guard Brandon Scherff, center Spencer Long, left guard Shawn Lauvao and left tackle Ty Nsekhe. Ronald Patrick, meanwhile, was the second-team center with rookie Chase Roullier working with the third-team unit. Patrick spent a majority of the 2016 season on Washington's practice squad after starting 25 games while at the University of South Carolina from 2010-13.

–One more general note from the offense: it is clear just how much bigger some of Washington's weapons are this season including 6-foot-4 wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr., 6-foot-3 wide receiver Brian Quick and 6-foot-5 tight end Jeremy Sprinkle.

(Stephen Czarda)


–All the players that didn't strap up helmets for medical reasons belonged on the defense. As expected, rookie defensive backs Fabian Moreau and Montae Nicholson worked off to the side along with DeAngelo Hall, all of whom are recovering from injuries from the past season. They mostly did some running drills with strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart. Linebacker Martrell Spaight worked to the side as did linebacker Houston Bates, who spent most of his time on the bicycle and is working his way back from a torn ACL.

–Linebacker Junior Galette took part in individual drills and got reps with the second team defense at outside linebacker during 11-on-11 drills. Head coach Jay Gruden initially said he'd like to take it easy with Galette, hoping for him to stay healthy this offseason after two consecutive Achilles heel tears, but admitted afterward that Galette looks like he's healthier than he thought at this point.

–During individual drills it's fun to watch defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, who is extremely passionate about coaching up his position group. He seems very detail-oriented in the way he coaches up his players, not letting them finish a drill until they get it right. Later, during special teams, he helped work with Jonathan Allen, who seems very receptive to learning as much as he can as he practices with the third team defense this week. He got some good pushes on the line during team drills, but it's hard to distinguish too much about his ability getting to the quarterback or stopping the run right now.

–The first team defense primarily consisted of players on the team last year, with a few exceptions, including newcomer at safety D.J. Swearinger, working alongside Su'a Cravens, making his transition back to strong safety after spending his rookie year at linebacker. For the first couple of snaps during each 11-on-11 session, linebacker Will Compton and Mason Foster took over the inside linebacker positions. Eventually free agent signee Zach Brown replaced Foster after a couple reps and in some sub-packages. Up front, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier II and Joey Mbu started with the first team. In OTAs, these combinations get switched out frequently, however, and soon Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee and Matt Ioannidis got their opportunities as well.

–It should be a fun few weeks watching the start of Josh Norman and this revamped secondary take on the Redskins' offensive weapons. With Terrelle Pryor Sr. posing a height advantage, both Norman, Bashaud Breeland and Jonathan Allen, who occasionally hopped around to safety on a few plays, had their best moments double-teaming the big receiver.

–Players attested to the technique work that new defensive backs coach Torrian Gray is teaching. He introduced some new drills that differed from last year emphasizing blitzes. Cravens seemed to be pretty fluid as he navigated strong safety, moving around both sides of the defense, but is unable to show off his hitting for now. Norman, meanwhile, said he expects to be playing in more off-coverages, which will allow him to make some more plays around the football.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

Special teams:

–The highlight for punter Tress Way came as he kicked off to the side with longsnapper Nick Sundberg, lofting a punt that settled onto the one of the light standards inside the Indoor Training Facility. Returning duties haven't changed on the other end. Jamison Crowder led a return group that consisted of Chris Thompson, Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon and rookie James Quick.

–Dustin Hopkins got some field goal work in at the end of practice. He began from the 20-yard line and moved back a few yards after each kick, hitting 6-of-7 kicks, the furthest of which came from 50 yards away.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

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