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Practice Notes: 2018 OTAs, Day 5

053018-ota-practice's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 5 of Washington Redskins 2018 OTAs, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.


--While there's been a lot of attention placed on second-round pick Derrius Guice, third-year veteran Rob Kelley once again took the majority of first-team reps in practice while leading the position group through individual drills. Kelley, who is looking slimmer than he has in years past but wouldn't comment on his offseason diet, admitted that having multiple quality running backs on the roster has given him motivation. "It's our job to create our own value on this team," Kelley said. "So that's what I'm doing."

--The biggest catch of the day in terms of both quality and reaction was a touchdown reception by second-year wide receiver Robert Davis, who leapt up over cornerback Joshua Holsey to snag a catch in the corner of the end zone during 11-on-11 drills. Davis spent the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad after a record-breaking career at Georgia State but is looking to be a mainstay on the active roster this fall.

--Another wide receiver who made a long reception on the day was rookie Cam Sims, who caught a long gainer during third down drills. With Colt McCoy given enough time within the pocket, he found Sims between cornerback Ranthony Texada and safety Quin Blanding. At 6-foot-5, Sims is two inches taller than any other wide receiver on the roster.

--McCoy also ended the day by hitting veteran wide receiver Brian Quick for a one-yard touchdown on a fade route over Greg Stroman. The perfectly placed ball received compliments from safety D.J. Swearinger, who was watching from the sidelines.

--As for Alex Smith, he continued to test the defense on 50-50 balls as he tests out exactly what he has on offense with deep threats like Paul Richardson Jr. and Josh Doctson. "That's just him trying to get to know his receivers, you know?" said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. "At the end of the day, we don't know if these guys can come down with the ball unless we give them some opportunities"

--The offensive line groupings remained the same as last week, as Geron Christian and John Kling served as the tackles with the first-team while Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe and T.J. Clemmings rehab from injuries suffered last season.

--With Chase Roullier and Tony Bergstrom serving as the centers for the first- and second-team units, Demetrius Rhaney anchored a third-team offensive line that included four other players without regular season experience. Rhaney, who was signed mid-season last year, has appeared in 33 career regular season games with one start.

--In terms of the tight ends, Vernon Davis once again led the way for this position. The 34-year-old's highlight play of the day was a touchdown reception from Alex Smith in a move-the-ball situation, as the quarterback backpedaled before throwing a dart to Davis.

--The Redskins had one new player on the field Wednesday after signing tight end Garrett Hudson earlier in the morning. Hudson comes to Washington after a three-year career at the University of Richmond in which he recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards and was named a first-team All-CAA selection in 2017.

(Stephen Czarda)


--With the addition of Daron Payne in the first-round this year, the defensive line continued to be the Redskins' primary defensive revamping area. And this week, unlike last, spectators got a little taste of what a potential starting line combination could look like, as Payne took on the nose tackle role flanked by Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis. Ondre Pipkins, Ziggy Hood and Anthony Lanier II would later slide in with the second team defense rotation. Safety D.J. Swearinger said it's a little early to see how an improved line is affecting the back end of the defense, but he's been impressed with some of the young guys taking on double teams and fighting their way to the backfield. One particular flash moment came when fifth-round pick Tim Settle nearly intercepted a Colt McCoy pass over the middle, batting the ball down with both hands and showing off some of his athleticism.

--Another nice block at the line of scrimmage came from linebacker Preston Smith, who knocked away a screen pass from Alex Smith. The outside linebacker position seems to be pretty straightforward, and for the second consecutive week, Smith and Kerrigan started team drills before conceding to Pernell McPhee and Ryan Anderson.

--The secondary seems to be getting more comfortable with each other, and that starts with the play-callers in the back. Safety Montae Nicholson is benefitting from having a full offseason to adjust to learning the playbook and pairing his physical talent with a better understanding of the defense. Defensive backs coach Torrian Gray during a red zone drill praised Nicholson for feeding an audible to cornerback Josh Norman before the ball was snapped, a little detail that Nicholson will become better at over the next couple of months. The other starting safety, D.J. Swearinger, said communication has been stressed even more this year, and made a nice pass defense on a deep ball from Smith to tight end Vernon Davis down the sideline.

--The younger cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Greg Stroman are looking strong and learning some lessons as they match up with different sized receivers. Moreau helped produce an interception caught by safety Deshazor Everett early on during 7-on-7's, diving to bat up a pass, thrown toward wide receiver Robert Davis, so that Everett could jog over and collect the turnover. Moreau had tight coverage on Davis throughout most of practice, though Davis got revenge against cornerback Josh Holsey in the corner of the end zone on a full team drill. Stroman finished practice allowing a perfectly placed touchdown pass to Brian Quick, just out of his reach. But that didn't take away from the fact that he played tight coverage for the majority of the day, whether he was lined up outside or in the slot against speedy types such as Trey Quinn.

--The only real injury note concerned defensive lineman Phil Taylor Sr., who worked on the rehab field (he's still gaining back strength in his quad) with the majority of offensive linemen. Linebacker Zach Brown was absent from practice for the second consecutive Wednesday, though head coach Jay Gruden isn't concerned, reiterating that OTAs are optional.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

Special Teams:

--Once again, kicker Dustin Hopkins took an off day from field goal tries, but the field goal blocking unit got some more work. In what seems to be a new drill instituted by special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica, players lined up and ran around the edge of the line to dive into a pad, attempting to block a nerf football being kicked by backup punter Sam Irwin-Hill. It's a good exercise to practice angling and extending hands while the nerf cushioning prevents them from worrying about any injurious repercussions.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

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