Redskins training camp: Observations from Day 7

RICHMOND – The Washington Redskins got back to work today after receiving Tuesday off from coach Jay Gruden. Today’s session was a helmet-and-shorts practice, although some players elected to wear shells under their jerseys.

After all the fireworks from Monday’s full-pad, game-tempo-like practice, it was hard for the players to recapture that type of intensity today. But they all said it felt good to get back to work, and that they liked what they got accomplished.

The offense didn’t look nearly as crisp today as Monday’s practice, and it took about three-fourths of the session before Robert Griffin III and his receivers seemed to finally get back in sync again. The defense, meanwhile, looked aggressive and quick.

We’ll get Jay Gruden’s assessment of the practice session later this afternoon. Here are mine:

● Starting right tackle Tyler Polumbus was not in attendance this morning. No word on the reason for his absence, yet. He hadn’t had a known injury. Tom Compton took over on the starting line with Polumbus out. Mo Hurt got the second- and third-string snaps at right tackle.

● Second-year safety Phillip Thomas didn’t practice today because he tweaked his hamstring. He said it’s nothing major, and that he expects to get back in the mix in the next day or two. Thomas appeared to move fine as he did a series of running exercises with the team’s trainers on a side field. Backup outside linebacker Adrian Robinson also was held out of practice. Robinson said that he was “good to go” when asked if he was okay.

● Defensive end Doug Worthington remained sidelined, but like Thomas and Robinson, did some supervised running.

● Running back Evan Royster returned to action after missing the past three practices with a hamstring strain. Royster received a fair amount of action as he looks to make up for lost time. He appeared to have good acceleration, but late in practice, he did look a little stiff as he jogged back to the huddle. He said he started feeling some fatigue, but that he was glad to get back to work.

● Jason Hatcher remains on the physically unable to perform list, and there’s no update on when he’ll receive clearance to practice. Watching him run, there looks to be a slight hitch in his step. His initial sprints looked fine, but as he continued, his gait wasn’t as smooth. It could be a couple of weeks longer. The Redskins want to make absolutely sure that he’s as healthy as possible. Hard to say if he’ll play in the preseason. Fellow PUP list member Leonard Hankerson looks like he’s getting his explosiveness back. Today he did some sprints with a resistance band attached to him. The trainer stood behind Hankerson and held the leash-like band, which was secured around the receiver’s waist, and the wide receiver worked on getting off to faster starts.

● Pierre Garcon (hamstring) took part in initial drills after leaving Monday’s practice early. But the wide receiver didn’t do anything in team drills.

● Today’s practice had more of an OTA feel to it since there was no contact, and the results for the defense were mixed because the coaches did some mixing and matching at times with the starting linemen and outside linebackers, with second-team inside linebackers (Will Compton and Akeem Jordan) and second and/or third-string defensive backs. The starters did go at it off and on, however.

● Griffin missed on his first deep pass attempt of the day, overthrowing tight end Jordan Reed, who got a step on cornerback David Amerson, but did have a safety joining in on the coverage. The ball fell just out of Reed’s reach. A total of six arms were reaching out for the ball, so it very well could’ve ended up being an interception if the throw was about two feet shorter.

● Griffin rebounded a few plays later, connecting with DeSean Jackson on a 65-yard touchdown pass over cornerback Bryan Shepherd. With all the shuttling in of defensive backs, Shepherd has drawn his fair share of Jackson assignments, with the three-time Pro Bowler routinely coming out on top.

● Cornerback DeAngelo Hall fared better when facing Jackson. During a 6-on-8, red-zone portion of practice, Jackson lined up on the right and streaked toward the end zone. Griffin threw the ball to the back corner of the end zone, and Hall actually had better position underneath. But Jackson managed to leap and swat at the ball, knocking it from Hall’s grasp as the two came down.

● Later, Hall picked off an underthrown pass by Griffin 50 yards downfield. Pass protection wasn’t great, as Keenan Robinson came barreling in from the left edge. Roy Helu Jr. engaged, but Robinson shoved the running back backward and into Griffin’s path. Griffin got the ball off before receiving any contact, but the ball needed to have been thrown about two to three yards deeper for Jackson, who along with Hall had to slow up, to have made the catch in stride.

● Tom Compton struggled against Ryan Kerrigan during both one-on-one and 11-on-11 drills. He did a decent job of staying in front of the linebacker, but Kerrigan overpowers him. Compton also struggled with quickness against defensive end Chris Baker, who went wide and around to the left edge to get by the third-year tackle and into the backfield. Later, Compton got a little mixed up by a stunt by Kerrigan and Robinson. Getting first-team action is good for Compton’s development because although he’s gotten stronger, and understands the offense, there’s just a lot that he hasn’t experienced. With Compton thus far looking like the better of the two young tackles (Morgan Moses being the other), this looks like Polumbus’s job to hang onto.

● The punters went head-to-head today, and while both Robert Malone (third-year vet) and Blake Clingan (first-year pro) both boast strong legs, Malone appears to have the more consistent of the two, and he had a slightly better hang time.

● Bacarri Rambo made a play in pass coverage today while going against the second offense. Kirk Cousins had Aldrick Robinson streaking up the right sideline, and Robinson stuck up a hand to alert the quarterback to the fact that he had Richard Crawford beat. Cousins threw his direction, possibly a second too late, and Rambo read the direction of the ball and came to give help over the top and deflected the pass. Had he timed it just a little bit better, he may have been able to intercept it.

● Third-string linebacker Gabe Miller came up with an acrobatic interception of a Colt McCoy pass. The second-year pro – who this offseason converted from tight end to outside linebacker – had dropped back into zone coverage, but was looking and facing toward the inside when he realized McCoy had thrown the ball to Cody Hoffman, who was further upfield, running an out route. Miller twisted back to his left, stretched backward and snagged the pass.

● Rookie wideout Ryan Grant continues to have a solid showing. He’s not flashy, and isn’t a speedster. But he runs good routes, gets to where he’s supposed to be and doesn’t drop balls.

● At one point during 11-on-11 action, Griffin and his receivers missed opportunities on four plays as either the quarterback overthrew his targets, or the pass catchers let the balls go through their hands.

● Griffin & Co. did better during the “move-the-ball drill,” where the action is set up with down and distance just like a game. Griffin completed three straight pass attempts to move his team downfield. An incompletion followed, then a completion, one more incompletion and then a touchdown pass to Santana Moss.

● Cousins looked sharper during the move-the-ball drill. When the second unit got their turn, Cousins fired a laser of a pass down the seam to tight end Niles Paul, who outran the defenders and scored on a 75-yard pass play. Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti threw his cap in frustration because Will Compton and Adam Hayward had both left Paul open.

● Compton continues to see a lot of second-team action while Hayward, Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton rotate in and out depending on the day. Compton has seen most of his action at the ‘jack’ position behind Perry Riley Jr. But today, he was playing at the ‘mike,’ where he is responsible for making defensive calls. The 2013 undrafted free agent out of Nebraska spent almost all of last season on the practice squad, but aims to make the 53-man roster this year. As of yet, he, Jordan, Hayward and Sharpton don’t seem to have clearly distinguished themselves from one another. But Compton does seem to have made a couple more plays than the others.

● Cousins later completed a 10-yard strike to Aldrick Robinson in the back of the end zone. Robinson must’ve forgotten about the new penalty rule, because he dunked the ball across the goal post (impressive leap for a 5-foot-10 wide receiver) at the end of the play.

● Two plays later, Cousins went to Robinson again on a little dump-off just over the goal line, but Robinson dropped the ball.

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 has a walk-through scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Wednesday. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.

Also from The Post:

Griffin says zone-read plays remain in the offense

T. Williams stands out | D.C. Sports Bog: Williams trained with AP

Bog: Team launches ‘Redskins Facts’ campaign | Ads show up

Confident S Thomas catching coaches’ eyes

More NFL coverage: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats

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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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Mike Jones · July 30

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