Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels and Andre Earls break down the key plays and highlights from Day 3 of the Washington Redskins' 2018 training camp in Richmond, Va.
-- For the past couple of days, defensive players have been talking about playing fast and physical, and Saturday, we saw it manifest as they strapped on shoulder pads for the first time. The biggest news of the day, however, came during head coach Jay Gruden's morning press conference – Daron Payne will be out two to three weeks with an ankle injury, after it was stepped on at practice yesterday. Gruden didn't seem too concerned. The head coach also reported that linebacker Ryan Anderson would be out with back spasms, and hopes to have him back Sunday. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who didn't dress but watched practice from the sideline, received a veteran's day off.
-- Linebacker Zach Brown has been day-to-day with a quad strain, but practiced fully today without any serious issues. He was seen taking a portion of the first team reps, rotating in for Josh Harvey-Clemons in nickel-package situations. Also something to watch was Gruden eying defensive stalwart Matt Ioannidis closely during team stretches, making sure that he was 100 percent before 11-on-11's.
-- Defensive lineman Tim Settle was definitely a contender to step in and take some of Payne's first-team snaps, but instead the line rotated with a combination of Ioannidis, Phil Taylor Sr., and Jonathan Allen. Anthony Lanier II sprinkled in on team reps, too, bookended by Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith.
-- As far as the defensive backfield was concerned, the first teamers performed as expected. Josh Norman, and D.J. Swearinger were their usual active selves, serving as leaders for the back end of the defense. Towards the end of 11-on-11's, Norman, with the help of Quinton Dunbar and Montae Nicholson, had a good pass defense against Paul Richardson Jr. on a long ball from Alex Smith.
Check out these images of the Redskins reaching out to their younger fans Friday July 27, 2018, at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
-- The second teamers also didn't disappoint. Today was quite a day for young cornerback Danny Johnson, who gave quarterback Colt McCoy fits during 7-on-7 drills, hauling in an interception on a ball intended for receiver Robert Davis. It seems as though the first teamers are gravitating towards him and recognizing his efforts, as he was seen having a sideline strategy meeting with Norman shortly after his big play. This year's fourth-round pick Troy Apke was also playing pretty aggressively today, as he nearly had a pick on a long-ball from McCoy.
-- Andre Earls
-- Even with the pads on, Morgan Moses got some more work at right tackle today as he transitions back from surgery. He started team drills and then dipped in and out during the end of practice, occasionally bookending the line with a combination of Trent Williams (similarly being sparingly used), T.J. Clemmings and John Kling. With the pads, it was easier to see what kind of holes and opportunities the line gave running backs, which started off running the ball well. Samaje Perine turned some heads running through a gaping hole up the middle, followed by some more explosive runs by Byron Marshal and Derrius Guice.
-- Tight end Jordan Reed got some good work in during 7-on-7 drills, catching a couple passes from Smith. Throughout passing drills, Reed has looked sharp in his cuts and seems to be progressing each day. It' also worth noting that Jeremy Sprinkle has gotten more opportunities to catch the ball and connected on several passes Saturday. With a healthy Reed to start the season, and Vernon Davis complementing him in the passing game, Sprinkle is someone to watch for the rest of camp to observe the extent of his usage.
-- The more you watch Alex Smith, the more you start to see all of his attributes on display. Near the end of the first segment of team drills, Smith was flushed from the pocket but kept his eyes downfield looking to make a play happen. When nothing became available, he scrambled up and towards the sideline for about five yards. Later, targeting Paul Richardson Jr., he made a pretty throw in between coverage, placing a pass over Fabian Moreau's head and just in front of Josh Norman to connect on the sideline.
-- It's also abundantly clear that Smith likes throwing to Jamison Crowder. Throughout the last half of practice, the team scrimmaged and used the length of the field. Right before breaking, Smith connected with Crowder three consecutive times for about 10 yards on each pass, before connecting with Josh Doctson to complete the day. Earlier in practice, Smith hustled over to Doctson to encourage him after the two completed a crossing route on third down. One of Smith's characteristics is his supportive nature on just about every completion, and Crowder mentioned Friday that he appreciates his leadership style in the huddle, where he persistently gives praise and reminds everyone to stay sharp.
-- All of the second unit wide receivers are having a solid camp so far. Maurice Harris has looked crisp in his cuts, and he and Robert Davis have provided some solid targets for Colt McCoy, who complained in jest at the end of practice that the defense had been holding onto them for the majority of their final drives. Brian Quick has also provided some quality reps out wide. It should be a good competition to see how the coaching staff fills out the depth chart there.
-- No field goals today, though Dustin Hopkins did kick some nerf balls at the end of practice so that special teamers could get more practice running around the edge and diving to block kicks.