RICHMOND – The Redskins are almost there. One more practice left of training camp, and then they return to Ashburn, where they will continue the preseason.
But first, some observations from today’s practice:
● Today marked the second straight day of 11-on-11 practices for Robert Griffin III, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur both said that the quarterback looked sharper on Thursday than he did on Wednesday. Griffin’s stat line suggested that. He went 14 for 15 for 179 (unofficially) yards and a touchdown on 21 plays. On Wednesday, he completed 7 of 10 passes on 16 snaps. Griffin had one rollout pass on Wednesday, but had two on Thursday as coaches continue to gradually ramp up the challenges they present him.
● The Redskins suffered a scare when linebacker Brian Orakpo left practice with a leg injury and was checked both on the field, and then in the trainers’ tent. Orakpo said as he headed to the locker room after practice that he didn’t believe the injury to be very serious, and the team announced a short time later that he had suffered a thigh bruise. Vic So’oto and Rob Jackson split time working with the first team defense in place of Orakpo.
● Place kicker John Potter got his shot at field goal attempts today, a day after Kai Forbath had an impressive showing. Potter doesn’t have the accuracy or distance that Forbath has in this department. He made his first six attempts from distances of 30 (twice), 34, 38 (twice) and 42 yards, although one 30-yarder and one 38-yarder just barely appeared to make it. Potter missed back-to-back attempts from 44 yards out. But, there’s no question about Potter’s leg strength on kickoffs. He boomed three kicks to the back of the end zone. It’d be shocking to see the Redskins keep two kickers, though.
● DeJon Gomes again worked with the first team at strong safety and appears likely to start there Monday night. Gomes should have had an interception off of Pat White. The ball came right to Gomes, but he dropped it despite not drawing any contact on the play. Had it been a game, White wouldn’t have gotten the pass off because Barry Cofield plowed through the line and would’ve recorded a sack.
● Brandon Meriweather took reps with the scout team defense as did cornerback Josh Wilson. David Amerson worked with the starters at right cornerback, opposite DeAngelo Hall. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said that if Meriweather had a setback, Gomes, Jordan Pugh and Reed Doughty all have experience and could be used there. The coach actually said, “We always have Reed. He’s plan B, C …”
● Richard Crawford returned to action after missing yesterday’s practice with a right knee injury. Crawford picked off two passes in his return.
● Chris Baker continues to gain comfort with the defensive end position. Today he generated good pressure, particularly on one play where he bull-rushed Tony Pashos into the backfield and then got a hand up and batted down a White pass.
● It’s still early to tell how this roster will be constructed at the offensive line position. It’s a lock that Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus are your starters. But a fair amount of questions remain about the backups. Adam Gettis and Tom Compton have made improvements in their second seasons. Kevin Matthews has worked as the primary second-team center, but both Lichtensteiger and Chester can play center as well. Offensive line coach Chris Foerster said today that Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood probably would not do well if asked to play left tackle, so it’s hard to envision as swing tackle candidates. But Tyler Polumbus as well as Compton can play left tackle if something were to happen to Williams. Maurice Hurt (knee) can play guard and tackle, but has to get healthy first. He’s been doing a lot of running on the side field with strength coach Ray Wright, but there’s no indication as to when he will be activated off of the PUP list. Foerster said “I know you’re trying to figure out how this thing is going to come together, but I am too. … It’s still too early.”<
● The Redskins practice 10:35 a.m. Friday, and at 10 a.m., General Manager Bruce Allen makes his first and only media availability session of the preseason.
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
● Friday’s practice — the final one of training camp — is at 10:35 a.m.
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