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Practice Notes: 2018 #SkinsCamp, Day 5

practice-notes-tc-073118's Jake Kring-Schreifels and Grant Cohen break down the key plays and highlights from Day 4 of the Washington Redskins' 2018 training camp in Richmond, Va.


-- Tight end Jordan Reed suited up in pads but ultimately didn't practice on Tuesday, getting another day of rest from the coaching staff. Ty Nsekhe also got a planned day of rest. Wide receiver Brian Quick, however, was back on the field (calf) and looked sharp, grabbing several passes of varying degrees of difficulty throughout the day. He's continued to look good during the first week of practices, much like Maurice Harris, who stood out on the second unit. During team drills he made a particularly impressive grab running a seam route against Fabian Moreau, getting enough leverage to peel back towards the middle and jump to make a catch over the corner.

-- Running back Chris Thompson got more involved during team periods today, working mostly as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Head coach Jay Gruden said in his morning press conference that he anticipates Thompson being "full-go" sooner than later, and Thompson seemed to confirm that on the field. The running back played in what he estimated 12 snaps, and said after practice that he's still a little wary of cutting on his right leg while running routes, a mental hurdle he'll eventually have to jump. Though he didn't want to test it, he made a nice grab on a high screen pass from Kevin Hogan in which he batted the ball to himself and continued to still make the play work. It's a good sign that he keeps taking steps forward and returns to the form before being injured last November.

-- In other injury recovery news, right tackle Morgan Moses continues to get more reps during team periods, this time playing throughout the majority of the first half of practice, and a little bit near the end. He mentioned at the podium that he's still getting adjusted to quarterback Alex Smith, whose versatile skillsets alone have expanded the playbook in the hopes of exploiting opponents with Smith's running ability. Already, the Redskins have been incorporating more college-style option-plays in the backfield, where Smith will run parallel with a running back and decide to keep or pitch the football. It seems to be beneficial, too, with such a diverse group of running backs able to make defensive players miss in space.

-- Not to keep repeating what's already been stated numerous times throughout the first four days of camp, but Smith looks extremely comfortable with wide receiver Jamison Crowder. He started off the first team drill grabbing about a 25-yard pass working an underneath route, made available thanks to wide receiver Josh Doctson taking a safety deep with him on a fly route on the opposite side of the line. The defense got frustrated with how open Crowder became, a running theme as Smith has hit him multiple times on quick slants and dig routes. It should be noted that Trey Quinn also started to flash a little on Tuesday with the third unit, catching a couple passes in which he needed to tap and drag his toes before being pushed out of bounds.

--It's still a learning process for tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and the rest of the depth chart. Without Reed in the lineup, he got a few more opportunities, and some miscommunications, with Smith under center, but it does seem like the Redskins want to integrate him more into the passing game when possible.

-- Jake Kring-Schreifels


-- Tuesday's practice saw the return of second-year linebacker Ryan Anderson. The former Alabama standout was limited in the first practices due to back spasms, but was immediately thrown into the second team during 7-on-7 drills and full team skill work. With the linebackers focusing their individual work on shedding blocks and keeping their eye on the football, Anderson translated that over with a strong performance during 7-on-7 drills that resulted in him getting some reps with the first team. The 6-foot-2 linebacker's training camp focus is to make himself a better player than he was last year, making progress towards that goal in his first official day in Richmond.

The Washington Redskins conducted their fourth day of training camp practice Sunday, July 29, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.

-- Linebacker Mason Foster was limited in participation with a stomach muscle strain. Foster didn't participate when the team came together to run their sets, but Zach Vigil took over the responsibility. Vigil was the most active during the linebackers' individual work drill of practicing pass coverage, where he gave receivers little room to go for extra yards and even broke up a pass targeted to rookie running back Derrius Guice. The 27-year-old was active in the first team defense, transferring the outstanding coverage in group work to the team setting by making options limited up the middle in the pass game. Filling the hole temporarily, Vigil held his own and made significant contributions to the Redskins defense.

-- Pass defense communication was something that turned into a struggle for Washington's secondary, which finished the first round of the first team's segment allowing a 20-yard reception to Jamison Crowder. After the second team got their turn on the field, the defensive backs turned it around. The pass defense did a much better job of making options difficult for the offense in the second round of full team plays, with quarterback Alex Smith being forced to throw the ball out of bounds for incomplete passes. Safety Montae Nicholson's pass defense showed significant improvement on Tuesday, limiting wide receiver Paul Richardson Jr.'s catches while breaking up a few passes as practice went on. Nicholson finished off his day by reaching Smith in the red zone at the end of practice, which would have resulted in a sack.

-- Cornerback Quinton Dunbar showed a high-level of energy when he was in Tuesday's practice, having the most noticeable intensity while the defense was on the field. After showing solid coverage during 7-on-7 drills by limiting his receiver's receptions, the former Florida wide out finished the team's red zone segment by snagging an interception targeted to Robert Davis from the 5-yard line. Dunbar was also seen talking to wide receiver Josh Doctson after the red zone segment, likely looking for ways he can improve guarding receivers.

-- The defense focused primarily on putting pressure on the quarterback. With the Redskins calling for more blitzes in the second round of full team drills, that resulted in more difficulty with the passing game. Even though there weren't as many picks by the defense as previous practices, Tuesday saw the quarterback having to move outside of the pocket more than any other practice. Different defensive groups were working on shedding blocks to reach the ball carrier, which carried over when the team met as a collective unit.

-- Red zone defense was one of the more eye opening parts of the team's fifth practice. Prior to Dunbar's interception, the first team defense forced a three-and-out with an incomplete pass, short run and a quarterback rush that would've resulted in a sack. The defense brought more pressure in these situations, sending Nicholson from the first team to force Smith out of the pocket. 

-- Grant Cohen

Special Teams

-- Ben Kotwica had the unit work on kickoff responsibilities. One thing I've noticed is that running back Kapri Bibbs is always the leader of the pack when the group runs down to the end zone. Kicker Dustin Hopkins closed out the day making all five field goals, the furthest hitting from 40 yards away.

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