One of the most encouraging developments from today’s Redskins practice actually came after the two-hour session had concluded and all but a handful of players had left the field and headed to the locker room.
Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins remained on the field to throw passes to rehabbing wide receiver Leonard Hankerson. Tight end Logan Paulsen joined in the action to get a couple of extra reps in. But Hankerson was on the receiving end of the bulk of the passes.
For Hankerson, now 9-1/2 months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL, Friday’s work represented the most extensive work he has gotten in with a quarterback. He has been running routes at a moderate pace since just before the start of camp. But those passes have been thrown to him by one of the strength and conditioning coaches.
Today, Hankerson appeared to run at full-speed, or as close to full-speed as your eyes would suggest as you watch a guy running routes without anybody near him for reference.
Hankerson said he felt “pretty good,” but that he could still tell he’s not totally there. He has yet to meet with Dr. James Andrews. He said last week that he expected to meet with the noted orthopedic surgeon this week, but that appointment has yet to take place.
It still wouldn’t be surprising to see Hankerson open the regular season on the PUP list. This is a crucial year for the receiver. He will be a free agent after this season. He understands the importance of not rushing back prematurely, because there’s so much at stake for both his immediate and long-term future.
- Today was a better day for Robert Griffin III and the offense as a whole. During the first 11-on-11 segment of the day, Griffin connected with DeSean Jackson for a 65-yard touchdown pass. Jackson was covered by cornerback DeAngelo Hall, and Hall tried to press Jackson at the line, but Jackson made him miss and got a good jump. He had about three to four yards of separation on Hall when the ball dropped into his hands.
- As noted yesterday, Gruden says Griffin has done a good job of handling the extra responsibility of making checks at the line. Griffin today talked about that new freedom and said he hasn’t felt overwhelmed at all by this, and that instead, he believes it helps him play with more effectiveness.
- On that same play, Tyler Polumbus had a key block, absorbing a bull-rush attempt by Bryan Orakpo so Griffin was able to step into his throw. Orakpo spent today’s practice rushing from the left side of the line. Later he tried blitzing on a stunt and dipped to the inside, going right at right guard Chris Chester. Chester picked up the blitz well on this play.
- The running backs and linebackers had mixed results in pass coverage drills. Roy Helu Jr. got Will Compton turned around so badly and made the catch that running backs coach Randy Jordan erupted in cheers then ran and slid on the turf and spun around and around, pretending to be Compton, and yelled, “Where’d he go? Where did he go?”
- There was plenty of trashtalk going around. Alfred Morris dropped two passes, the second of which came while being covered by Adam Hayward. Morris had position on Hayward, but couldn’t hold onto the ball. Hayward called out, “You don’t even have to cover this guy. He can’t catch!” Morris got in extra pass-catching work later in practice while the special teams segments were going on.
- Keenan Robinson gave a lesson to backup fullback Stephen Campbell as he came off the line in their 1-on-1 matchup. Robinson had some additional contact shortly after, and Campbell lost his balance and missed the ball. He told Robinson that he had engaged in too much contact. Robinson responded, “It’s within five yards. This is football, rookie! Five yards.”
- Lache Seastrunk had two drops in his reps during this drill.
- After his big catch from Griffin, DeSean Jackson seemed to fizzle. He dropped a swing pass from Griffin behind the line. The ball went through his hands, and it wasn’t a forward pass, so it was a fumble, which linebacker Trent Murphy made a diving attempt to recover before the ball rolled out of bounds. Later, Jackson miss-timed a throw by Griffin toward the corner of the end zone. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett ribbed Jackson, saying, “Will you catch something?” and then teased him about his height. Later Jackson let a pass go off his hands and up into the air. Hall plucked the ball from the air for an interception.
- That was the second wacky interception of the day from Griffin. The first came during red zone 6-on-7 drills. The throw went through the hands of Jordan Reed, off the hands of Keenan Robinson, then ricocheted off Ryan Clark’s facemask and into the hands of Hall.
- For the second unit, Santana Moss slipped by Will Compton on a slant during this same 6-on-7 red zone drill and caught a touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins. Safety Phillip Thomas was playing over the top, but was a few yards away. Haslett got on the second-year pro for not coming over to provide help in coverage.
- Seastrunk later dropped a pass in the end zone a couple of plays later.
- Griffin displayed good speed during the move-the-ball 11-on-11 drills. With pressure coming, he broke the pocket and sprinted to the outside and got to the edge before a defender could pick him up.
- The first and second offenses did a better job moving the ball during this segment, but neither managed to score a touchdown. On third-and-goal, E.J. Biggers had good coverage on Jordan Reed, and the tight end couldn’t get to a fade pass thrown by Griffin. “Yeah! Held ‘em to a field goal!” Chris Baker yelled as the starters jogged off the field. Backup safety Trenton Robinson capped his unit’s series when on third-and-goal, he broke up a Kirk Cousins pass intended for Aldrick Robinson in the end zone.
- The ALS ice bucket challenge reached has Redskins Park. Yesterday, Griffin accepted the challenge and was dunked by three of his linemen. Today, at the end of practice, coach Jay Gruden, owner Dan Snyder, general manager Bruce Allen and Joe Theismann gathered at the center of the field and the players circled around and dunked eight water coolers worth of ice water on them. Snyder challenged Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Theismann challenged Roger Staubach and Allen challenged the Redskins cheerleaders. Later, DeAngelo Hall, Trent Williams and running backs coach Randy Jordan accepted the challenge.