After feisty practice, Gruden might back off of the tackling


Safety Ross Madison loses his helmet as he tackles receiver Cody Hoffman during the Redskins’ first practice in full pads on Monday. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

RICHMOND – In training camp, there’s an increased risk of injury when teams practice in full pads. Players fighting for roster spots often are overzealous while trying to impress coaches. That’s a bad combination.

Not surprisingly, some Washington Redskins players were a tad too aggressive in full-contact drills here Monday. At times, collisions continued after coaches blew whistles. Although the extra activity apparently did not result in major injuries, Coach Jay Gruden plans to play it safe for the remainder of camp.

“We don’t want people going to the ground unnecessarily, [and] they roll into somebody not expecting it,” Gruden said. “Our job as coaches, their job as players, moving forward, is to make sure that when we’re not going live [tackling in full pads], we’re staying off the ground. That’s easier said than done sometimes. But that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Despite the risks associated with hitting in full pads, Gruden was pleased with what he observed. With many roster questions, Gruden is seeking answers.

“You want to try to take advantage of the days we can have full pads,” said Gruden of the activity that is regulated by the collective bargaining agreement. There is a limit to how many times you can go. When you [can] go, you might as well use [the days]. That’s my philosophy. We’re not gonna go crazy with the full pads … but this was a good time to do it.

“We’ve got a day off tomorrow. It was good to see some guys tackle, some guys we haven’t seen tackle. To see if some guys, who I’ve heard have trouble tackling, see if their form tackling is up to par. See how guys with the ball in their hands do with contact. In shorts, you just can’t tell. When it’s live tackling, you can get a feel for some of these young guys. That’s what it’s all about.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:
Washington’s only practice on Day 5 began at 8:35 a.m. Monday in Richmond. The afternoon walk-through is canceled, and the team is off Tuesday. Here’s our camp guide.

Also from The Post:

Redskins sign OLB Everette Brown

Lichtensteiger transition to center going well

Amerson out to provide stability, swag in Year 2

The Jay Gruden philosophy | Reid: Approach may be hard to maintain

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Jason Reid is a sports columnist with the Washington Post. He joined the Post’s Redskins team in 2007 after 15 years covering many beats at the Los Angeles Times.
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