The run of good weather at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center ended yesterday afternoon, as the skies opened up for a rainy chilly afternoon in Richmond.
However, players and coaches alike were pleased with the practice, as lightning stayed away, allowing the team to practice for the full alotted time in less than ideal conditions.
This was the first rainy practice the team has completely weathered since 2011, before completion of the indoor practice facility at Redskins Park.
Last year, the team lost its only game in the rain, a lopsided 12-27 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. In the game, Redskins receivers were charged with a whopping 12 drops.
As head coach Mike Shanahan pointed out, the Wednesday rain at practice gave coaches the opportunity to adjust how the team plays in the rain. It also gave qaurterback Robert Griffin III and other injured players a chance to plant and navigate on a clicker field than usual.
The team performed well considering the circumstances, but did some miscues, turnovers and misthrown passes could certainly be attributed to the rain. Shanahan said the practice provided good film for the coaches to reinforce ball security lapses. With more rain in the forecast for Thursday, the players could have an instant opportunity to correct their mistakes.
Here are some other observations from today's portion of practice that was open to the media:
- The highlight performance in 1-on-1 drills at the start of practice was watching veteran receiver Santana Moss run routes against cornerback E.J. Biggers. Biggers held his own on several plays, but in general Moss' route running and cuts on the wet surface won the day, allowing him to get open for several "touchdowns."
- Rain did not keep Robert Griffin III away from the field, as he jumped in and took an increased number of snaps in red zone 7-on-7 drills. Right off the bat, he threw touchdown passes to Aldrick Robinson and Dezmon Briscoe, setting the tone for a competitive full-team session.
- Griffin III also threw an interception to a leaping cornerback Josh Wilson at the 5-yard line, a rare miscue in the red zone made possible by a great athletic move by Wilson. Cousins also turned the ball over in the red zone, rolling out of the pocket, throwing for Nick Williams and instead finding Chase Minnifield.
- One of the more interesting moments of practice occurred when the team flipped the drill around, allowing the offense to work with 70 yards of the field in front. Looking downfield, Robert Griffin III found Aldrick Robinson in a 1-on-1 matchup with Richard Crawford, and let the pass fly. Both the receiver and defender came down with the ball, but because of his better positioning, Crawford came away with the ball. Robinson trotted back to the huddle and appeared to apologize to Griffin III, who consoled his teammate and patted him on the helmet. Veteran moves by two youngsters.
- During 11-on-11 drills, Kirk Cousins had a pass batted at the line of scrimmage that ended up in the outstretched hands of linebacker Will Compton for the interception. Compton is fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot, but finding himself in the right place at the right time and fighting for the football should go a long way in his favor.
- It wasn't all a one-sided affair in practice, as the defense was again caught offsides on a pair of hard counts by Kirk Cousins, who has inspired an offsides penalty in each practice this week.
- Rookie receiver Nick Williams has also shown a physicality much bigger than his 5-10, 184-pound frame. Including his work on special teams, Williams earned praise from his position coach Mike McDaniel on offense after his run-blocking downfield during full-team drills. Doing the dirty work for teammates will go a long way with this coaching staff.
- Full-team 11-on-11 drills got off to a slow start for the offense, who fumbled the ball (recovered by safety Bacarri Rambo) and had a Kirk Cousins pass intercepted by cornerback E.J. Biggers. But miscommunication also allowed some receivers to get wide open, as tight end Niles Paul caught a red zone pass from Rex Grossman and walked into the end zone.
- Receiver Lance Lewis continues to look comfortable in the offense, drawing on his experience as an undrafted free agent signee in camp last offseason. Lewis ended up being waived off injured reserve last year and bouncing around between the AFL and CFL trying to find a job. Keeping his NFL dreams alive, Lewis is back for round two after the Redskins coaching staff wanted to see what he could do this offseason. So far, he is making the most of his opportunities, performing well in 1-on-1 drills and fighting for the football during full-team drills.
Play(s) Of The Day: Offense
It wasn't an easy day on offense, but that doesn't mean it was without success. The Redskins have an X-factor tight end in Logan Paulsen, as he is both the team's top blocking tight end as well as a vastly improved receiver.
Paulsen has grown more comfortable as a receiver in each of the last two seasons, but showed consistency getting open and hauling in passes in traffic today, impervious to the rain.
At 6-5, Paulsen is the biggest target on offense and he uses his body to present a clean target and get open. Even with Fred Davis and Jordan Reed added to the mix this year, don't expect Paulsen to disappear from the offense.
Play(s) Of The Day: Defense
It's difficult to say which turnovers were a product of the weather and which were great individual performances, but veteran safety Reed Doughty had a good day regardless.
During full team drills, it was Doughty who knifed into the backfield and bottled up Alfred Morris before he could find the edge. During full team drills, it was Doughty who stepped up and deflected a pass intended for Paulsen before it could arrive.
His top play of the day was on an adjustment he made to a 60-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Aldrick Robinson deep downfield. Doughty was the deep man on the play and was the only defender in the vicinity. Recognizing that he was beat on the play, Doughty closed and knocked the ball away from Robinson's outstretched hands for a touchdown saving play.
The Redskins will be back at it again tomorrow, working every day through Friday in anticipation of Saturday's Fan Appreciation Day. For more information on the event, check out the schedule page.
Both practices are available to fans tomorrow, with walkthrough beginning at 10 a.m. and practice scheduled for 3 p.m. As always, fans are encouraged to arrive early and bring your official training camp pass.
An unnamed Redskins player and head coach Mike Shanahan will hold press conferences each day, streamed live on Redskins.com.
For your official source of training camp news, follow along @Redskins.