Redskins get a glimpse at how an elite NFL team practices

August 5
New England quarterback Tom Brady waves Monday at the first of three joint Patriots-Redskins practices in Richmond. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
New England quarterback Tom Brady waves Monday at the first of three joint Patriots-Redskins practices in Richmond. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

All eyes were on Tom Brady — even though the New England Patriots quarterback didn’t do anything unusual.

A capacity crowd at Redskins training camp in Richmond welcomed the three-time Super Bowl champion passer with a roar when he started 11-on-11 drills Monday. There were plenty of Patriots fans lining the fields, but Redskins fans sensed something special, too.

At the first of three joint practices before the teams will meet in Thursday’s preseason opener, the crowd hushed every time Brady threw a pass. And he delivered.

Brady completed 5 of 6 in his first series against the Redskins’ starting defense, 2 of 3 with a deep touchdown in the next drive and 5 of 6 in the final series. Overall, Brady completed 12 of 15 with two drops and a score. Without a real pass rush — as quarterbacks aren’t touched in camp — Brady spread the field.

“Nothing’s better than Tom and Peyton [Manning],” Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “Watch Tom’s demeanor in the huddle.”

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III didn’t see Brady often, as they worked on opposite fields until team drills began. Griffin then stood behind the Patriots and watched Brady work — talking with offensive coordinator Sean McVay as if they saw something they might try.

Griffin didn’t lose the home fans to Brady, though, throwing long balls to DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed. The option run that worked well twice last week against his teammates was stoned by the Patriots, though.

Mostly, the two teams kept to themselves. It was the same drills in the same fashion — only occasionally going against a different opponent. Perhaps the lone intense moment came when the Redskins’ offensive linemen faced off against the Patriots’ defensive linemen. The drill surely left Washington guard Spencer Long with a sore throat when a New England defender grabbed him high.

This is Redskins defensive lineman Kedric Golston’s ninth season in Washington, so he was interested in seeing another team’s approach to training camp.

“We’re just trying to see their tempo and how they run their systems,” Golston said. “It’s just business as usual.”

As for deciphering how well the team did against anyone not named Brady, Washington left tackle Trent Williams echoed several teammates’ uncertainty. The Redskins didn’t game-plan these practices against the Patriots.

“We didn’t scout them or anything so we were going out there blind,” Williams said. “We run basic stuff.”

The Redskins saw evidence that an elite NFL team does the same things they do — just better. It’s not a hard lesson to learn.

Read more from Rick Snider:

A guide to RGIII having a successful season

For Redskins, tough camps are hit-or-miss

At Redskins training camp, the thrill is gone

Read more Redskins from Express:

Rookie Morgan Moses making the transition from left to right tackle

Linebacker Keenan Robinson could be the new man in the middle

10 training camp storylines to watch

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