Observations from Day 1 of Redskins training camp


RICHMOND — The Redskins wrapped up their first day of training camp practices on Thursday and get back to work Friday with a morning walk-though and another practice in the afternoon.

The Redskins announced that 4,000 fans attended the morning walk-through on Thursday, and that 6,100 attended the afternoon session. It wasn’t clear how many of those fans were repeat attenders. But those are the numbers that the turnstiles generated, the team said.

● At this early point in camp, the depth chart could change a number of times, but here’s where things stood on the first day:

Offense: QB-Griffin as the starter in 7-on-7’s and other positional drills, and Cousins as the starter in all team action and the bulk of the walk-through. The rest of the first team: LT Trent Williams, LG Kory Lichtensteiger, C Will Montgomery, RG Chris Chester, RT Tyler Polumbus, RB Alfred Morris, FB Darrel Young, WR Pierre Garcon, WR Josh Morgan. Fred Davis and Logan Paulsen rotated at tight end.  … Tony Pashos worked as the second-team right tackle, with Jeremy Trueblood playing with the third team. … The running backs vying for time behind Morris saw time in this order: Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Keiland Williams, Tristan Davis, Chris Thompson, Jawan Jamison. Morris is the unquestioned starter, and the rest are all battling for that backup/third-down back role.

● On defense: LCB DeAngelo Hall, LDE Jarvis Jenkins, NT Barry Cofield, RDE Stephen Bowen, LOLB Ryan Kerrigan, ILB London Fletcher, ILB Perry Riley, ROLB Brian Orakpo, RCB David Amerson, SS Brandon Meriweather, FS Bacarri Rambo.  … Chris Baker rotated in at both left end and nose tackle with the first team. He played at left end on the second unit, and Chris Neild lined up at nose tackle … In nickel situations, E.J. Biggers joined the starters, covering the opposing slot receiver.

Robert Griffin III Robert Griffin III runs on to the field at training camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

● It was obvious that Griffin has made improvements in his mobility in the past month. When we saw him last – at the tail end of offseason practices, where he worked on the side – Griffin displayed a slight hitch as he jogged and ran. He insisted it was because of the brace. However, in today’s action, he looked much more smooth, and faster as he rolled out and took off running on plays. Unlike late last season, where Griffin did a lot of throwing off of his front foot because of his injured right knee, he is back to planting firmly on his back leg. His passes have good velocity and accuracy.

● Griffin ensured that he garnered the highlight of the day, and it was on a play that he wasn’t even supposed to be involved in. Late in practice, Bryan Kehl picked off a Rex Grossman pass and ran down the sideline. Young chased Kehl downfield, and Griffin, who had been standing with the rest of the observing players, took off and joined the chase. Young knocked the ball loose, and Griffin scooped it up and turned and jogged back upfield. After crossing the 50-yard line, Griffin sat the ball down and pointed toward the end zone with dramatic flair, signaling a first down. The fans erupted in cheers of praise.

● Lichtensteiger, Chester, Josh LeRibeus, Kevin Matthews and Tevita Stevens are competing for backup center duties. Those five, along with Montgomery, opened practice by snapping to the quarterbacks. Matthews, the son of Bruce Matthews, got the bulk of the second-team work during team action, and Lichtensteiger slid over to center with the third unit. LeRibeus worked primarily at backup left guard on Thursday.

● It’s hard to say that the right tackle situation has gotten any better. It’s still early. Polumbus is a hard worker and is more comfortable after playing there for a full year, and the team brought in Pashos and Trueblood to compete. But all three appeared to struggle today. Ryan Kerrigan and Brandon Jenkins both got the better of Polumbus, using speed and strength to get by him at different times. It’s hard as a 6-foot-8 guy to get low and get leverage against pass rushers at times. Both linebackers were quicker with their hands and got lower. Trueblood really appeared to struggle with his footwork, and easily got knocked off balance by pass-rushers. He, too, is a tall tackle at 6-9. Pashos is working his way back into form after a year off because of injury, but didn’t react to the rush well, either.

● Exiting the offseason practices, coaches said that Rambo (sixth round) was ahead of Phillip Thomas (fourth round) in his development, and that appears to still be the case. While Rambo opened the camp as the first-team free safety, Thomas spent time alternating with Reed Doughty as second- and third-team strong safety. Late in the afternoon practice, Doughty took over as starting strong safety in place of Meriweather. Rambo is a natural free safety, and that’s where the Redskins appear to have the biggest need. The expectation is that Meriweather will start at strong safety. Rambo seemed to be around the ball with great frequency on Thursday, and a couple times he would’ve laid out receivers with downfield hits had these been contact practices. Rambo recorded the first interception of camp, picking off a deep pass by Cousins. Rambo said his familiarity with Washington concepts because Georgia ran many of the same coverages has been a big help.

● After opening camp on the PUP list, Josh Wilson received clearance to practice Thursday afternoon. Coach Mike Shanahan said he knew that Wilson was in shape, but there were questions about his strength following surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder. Wilson was taken into the weight room where he lifted for trainers, and then received clearance. He didn’t practice fully despite his clearance, however. Wilson took part in positional drills, but watched for 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 action. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out in the secondary. Will Amerson remain the starter at right corner and Wilson take over on the slot receiver? Or, will he work his way back and reclaim his starting job and then move into the slot versus three-receiver formations? Last season Hall served as nickel back, but he has worked almost exclusively on the outside. Biggers, meanwhile, has seen significant time in the slot.

Biggers showed good speed downfield and hung right with Aldrick Robinson (one of the fastest guys on the team – he ran a 4.35 40-yard-dash coming out of college) in pass coverage. Biggers broke up two different Kirk Cousins passes intended for Robinson.

● The Redskins signed a pair of defensive backs Thursday afternoon – hours after releasing Jordan Bernstine, who couldn’t pass a physical as he is still rehabbing from tearing ligaments in his knee last season, and Devin Holland. The team added Ryan Mouton, a former Titans third-round pick out of Hawaii in 2009, and safety Jose Gumbs, who had brief stints with the Chiefs and Saints last year. Gumbs actually was seen signing his contract while stretching out on the drill field just before the afternoon practice began.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @john_keim @Insider | @PostSports

What’s ahead:

The team will practice on Friday at 10 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.

We’ll post Mike Jones’s Day 1 observations first thing in the morning.

More from The Post on the NFL and Redskins:

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Orakpo says contract situation will ‘work itself out’

Robert Griffin III on board with plan for him to skip preseason games

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Wilson and Hurt open camp on PUP list; Ss Bernstine, Holland waived

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Our complete guide to training camp in Richmond

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 25, 2013

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