Redskins minicamp: Observations from Wednesday’s practice

The Washington Redskins concluded their minicamp on Wednesday. Tomorrow, many of the players will depart for their offseason home or summer vacation destinations.

Mike Shanahan expressed encouragement by the work that his players had gotten done during these offseason practices, and said that he felt like his younger players had benefited the most, and that the bulk of them will now enter training camp with enough familiarity with the systems that they are now poised to compete for key roles.

Giving a closing assessment of the team’s offseason program, Shanahan said, “You have the first couple weeks [of minicamp] where you’re learning the offense and defense, and the next two weeks, you’re putting them in situations where you’re moving the ball, you have two minutes, you put them in second-and-long situations, red zone, four-minute – just different scenarios that you see during the season,” Shanahan said. “And at the end of camp, you feel like at least collectively, that you could go out and almost play a game. That’s what you’re looking for. It’s very important to get a lot of these young guys, who aren’t used to the terminology, aren’t used to the system, it gives them a chance to compete when we go to Richmond. Hopefully over the next five weeks, they can study their playbook, they can do the things you’re hoping they do when they have some time off, so when they do come in, they don’t have to think, they can react, and they can have a chance to make our football team.”

Some observations from today’s practice:

  • Robert Griffin III, Fred Davis, Jordan Reed, Josh Wilson, Pierre Garcon, Chris Thompson, Keenan Robinson, Brandon Meriweather, Jordan Bernstine, Josh LeRibeus, Ron Brace and Jacolby Ashworth continued to work on the side as they work their way back from their injuries.
  • Defensive end Doug Worthington missed practice after suffering a biceps tendon injury on Tuesday, and Shanahan said that he could need surgery to repair it.
  • Rookie tackle Xavier Nixon missed today’s practice to tend to a “family issue,” Shanahan said.
  • Wilson, Garcon and Thompson faced off for a 40-yard dash race. Wilson initially stumbled at the start, and so Garcon slowed up, and Thompson did shortly after. The trio re-started, and this time Wilson got a good start and won the race. It didn’t really look like Garcon was going all out, however. But that didn’t stop Wilson from celebrating. He looked back at Garcon near the finish and then raised his index finger and bounded around at midfield.
  • LeRibeus appears to be sidelined moreso because of conditioning reasons than injury at this point. LeRibeus admitted earlier this offseason he had gained quite a bit of weight. He suffered a hamstring injury. Shanahan said it led to a groin injury, and that his advice to LeRibeus was to make sure he was absolutely healthy, and in the best shape possible before returning to action. LeRibeus has done quite a bit of running during these offseason practices, but still appears to have some pounds to lose. Shanahan said, “He’s just got to get back into football shape.” The coach also said, “I hope he’s full speed ahead once we get to Richmond and has a chance to compete for a starting job.”
  • After working with the first team in Tuesday’s practice, rookie defensive backs David Amerson, Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo flip-flopped roles with E.J. Biggers, Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes, who had worked with the second team on Tuesday.
  • Biggers continues to get a significant amount of work in the slot. He played right corner in the two-corner sets, and then when against three-receiver sets, he moved to nickelback, and Richard Crawford played on the outside opposite DeAngelo Hall. Jim Haslett said he hasn’t settled on his nickelback for this year, but is simply giving Biggers and Crawford a lot of snaps there to evaluate them since he knows what Hall can do there.
  • Redskins coaches remain impressed and encouraged by the progress that the rookies have made, however, and although Haslett said he’s not sure if that rookie trio will start, he expects them to contribute significantly.
  • Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris praised the rookies as well. Morris said that at this point, Rambo is further along in his understanding of the defense than Thomas. Thomas missed one week of offseason work because of Fresno State’s graduation. During that week, Morris got a lot of one-on-one time with Rambo and then with Amerson, which has enhanced their development. He said that Thomas arrived and has spent a lot of time picking his brain, and that of assistant secondary coach Richard Hightower, and isn’t far behind.
  • Roddrick Muckelroy for now is the top backup to London Fletcher, but it’s expected that Keenan Robinson will compete with him in training camp, and that Bryan Kehl is a possibility, Haslett said.
  • Rookie Brandon Jenkins has made strides as he transitions from defensive end to outside linebacker. Haslett says that Jenkins can help the team in pass-rushing situations and that he hopes to find opportunities to get him on the field at the same time as Kerrigan and Orakpo. The coach says Jenkins has natural pass-rushing abilities and can make an impact.
  • Throughout the offseason Tom Compton has worked as Trent Williams’s backup at left tackle. Nixon has worked as third team left tackle. Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood have rotated with the second and third units behind Tyler Polumbus.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @john_keim (starting July 1) | @D3Keith | @Insider | @PostSports

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mark Maske · June 12, 2013

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