The Washington Redskins officially wrapped up training camp today with their final open practice of the year.
Two more practices and a walk-through remain before the team plays its second preseason game — Saturday against the hosting Chicago Bears.
Here are some observations from the final day of training camp:
●Tough break for second-year pro Chris Neild, who was battling Chris Baker to back up Barry Cofield at nose tackle. The 2011 seventh-round pick recorded a sack in Thursday’s game at Buffalo, but he hadn’t seemed to have the camp that Baker was. Still, it’s unfortunate to see his season end this way. The Redskins will feel his absence in more areas than defensive line as Neild also played on the kickoff return team. The positive for the Redskins is that this year they have depth at nose tackle thanks to Baker’s development. Undrafted rookie Delvin Johnson (Marshall) is the other young nose tackle on the roster.
●It’s going to be interesting to see how this running back situation plays out. Tuesday featured more of Evan Royster and Alfred Morris, and again no Roy Helu or Tim Hightower. Helu missed a second consecutive practice with tendinitis in his left Achilles’ tendon. Meanwhile, Hightower remains limited as he works his way back from last fall’s ACL surgery. This Saturday probably would have been Helu’s chance to start, but now, who knows. With continued health and a strong performance Saturday, Royster could give himself more of an edge, and Morris could improve what once appeared to be long-shot chances of making the 53-man roster.
●Left tackle Trent Williams (bone bruise in his left foot) and right guard Chris Chester (ankle) went through positional drills. Williams then went through a portion of the team drills, but Chester watched. Both players dismissed any notions that they had suffered setbacks. Williams said he began feeling some soreness, so he called it a day to play it safe. Chester said that he too sat as a precaution. It’s still early to say whether either will play at Chicago. Jordan Black continues to get all of the first-team snaps at left tackle when Williams is out, and Adam Gettis starts at right guard in place of Chester.
●The first-team defense got a little fired up when Pierre Garcon caught a pass along the left sideline only to be knocked out of bounds around the 2-yard line by Madieu Williams. On the following play, Robert Griffin III tried a fade to Garcon in the corner of the end zone. Josh Wilson and Brian Orakpo had the wideout covered, and Garcon couldn’t come up with the catch. Two snaps later, the defense swallowed up Royster to keep him from scoring. Defensive players on the field and the sideline celebrated their stand with some rowdy cheers and high-fives.
●During another trip inside the end zone, the offense experienced success when Terrence Austin – battling for one of the final wide receiver spots – made a diving catch in the back of the end zone.
●Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and secondary coach Raheem Morris appear to be experimenting with their depth and versatility at safety. Brandon Meriweather remains the starting strong safety, while Williams continues to hold the free safety spot. But on Tuesday, Tanard Jackson, who has been competing with Williams, replaced Meriweather on some of the nickel packages. Previously in his career, Meriweather hasn’t been considered to be particularly strong in downfield pass coverage. Jackson could be the answer on some of those situations.