RICHMOND – The Redskins were dealt a blow to their strong safety depth today when it was learned that Phillip Thomas will miss all of the season with a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot. With Brandon Meriweather still working his way back into form, Thomas had begun seeing time with the first team, and likely would’ve seen significant playing time this season.
Without Thomas, Reed Doughty moved up a spot on the depth chart. (That guy always winds up on the field, doesn’t he?). Meriweather took part in 11-on-11 drills for a second straight day, although he didn’t receive as heavy a workload as he did on Monday. After taking all of the first-team snaps during the first round of 11-on-11 reps, Doughty took over, and Jordan Pugh saw some time with the first team as well.
The Redskins kept six safeties last season (Meriweather, Doughty, Madieu Williams, DeJon Gomes, Jordan Bernstine and Tanard Jackson, who wound up being suspended and was replaced by Pugh). They have Meriweather, Rambo, Doughty, Pugh, Gomes and Jose Gumbs on the roster now. We’ll see if they look to add another guy to compete throughout the preseason.
● Doughty and Pugh appear likely to platoon at strong safety if something happens to Meriweather. Meriweather seems better in the box of the two, although he has made some plays in pass coverage as he did today, breaking up a deep pass for Aldrick Robinson. Pugh’s athleticism seems to better suit him in pass coverage. Today he jumped a route on a Rex Grossman pass for Pierre Garcon, and took it to the house. Pugh’s awareness isn’t always as on-point as Doughty’s. Coaches know Doughty will always be in the right spot. Example: A play today where Pugh got mixed up and floated around 15 yards from the line looking for someone to pick up when he should’ve been in deep coverage to provide DeAngelo Hall help over the top on a pass to Robinson. Fortunately for the defense, Robinson dropped the pass after beating Hall. But Pugh appears to be a quick learner. On the next play, after getting an earful from Raheem Morris, he was in the right position and broke up a deep pass for Garcon, and nearly picked it off.
● Cornerback Ryan Mouton (hamstring), tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi (ankle), wide receiver Donte Stallworth (hamstring) and linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy (shoulder) all watched practice. Wide receiver Devery Henderson (funeral) is expected to be back on the field Wednesday.
● Wide Receiver Josh Morgan was carted off to the locker room with cramps in his legs after practice. Morgan was doing a TV interview up on the TV tent hill here at the facility and trainers were summoned. Morgan was helped onto a cart and he then laid down and rode down the hill and to the facility’s back door.
● Today featured a more spirited practice with Robinson and defensive backs Chase Minnifield and Gumbs getting into a significant scuffle, and Minnifield later getting into it briefly with wide receiver Chip Reeves. Garcon and Hall had a couple pad-popping collisions, but those two didn’t allow their tempers to flare. “Just competition, Hall said.
● Cornerback Richard Crawford injured his right leg somewhere around the knee area while going up for a pass intended for Lance Lewis. Crawford came down awkwardly on it and hobbled off to the sideline, where he later had the knee checked by trainers. Crawford briefly returned to action, but when he went up to defend another pass and landed on the leg, he came up gimpy again. He said after practice that he was on his way to having his knee examined more extensively.
● Alfred Morris has been working to improve his pass protection skills, and today he stuck Perry Riley on a stunt off the right edge with a hard block and kept the linebacker from getting to Kirk Cousins on one play in 11-on-11 action. Had it been a game, however, it wouldn’t have mattered, because Brian Orakpo had beaten Trent Williams and would’ve hit Cousins on his blind side.
● Williams still has his wrist in a club cast during practices, and it remains apparent off and on in practices that he is still in serious pain. You wonder how effective he will be if he’s unable to grab and really use that left hand.
● Brandon Jenkins had a nice play, blitzing from the left outside linebacker spot, swimming past third-string right tackle Jeremy Trueblood and coming around to strip Grossman of the ball as the quarterback looked for an open receiver downfield. Granted, it was Trueblood, who hasn’t exactly shined, but Jenkins’ athleticism and natural pass-rushing skills remain evident.
● Tight end Niles Paul is a superhero fan, and yesterday, we wore a Spiderman T-shirt under his jersey and pads. Today, it was a shirt that looked like the upper body of the Incredible Hulk. Paul had his jersey rolled up and stuck underneath his pads, so it looked like he was the true owner of a green Hulk six-pack.
● Fred Davis remains the lead tight end, but Paul and Logan Paulsen have been rotating as the second tight end in those two-tight end sets. Today, Paul seemed to get more snaps as the No. 2 tight end.
● And lastly, the numbers you’ve been waiting for: Robert Griffin III went 12 for 15 in seven-on-seven snaps today. The scuffles ate up precious minutes in the timed seven-on-seven segments and prevented the quarterback from getting his usual quota of 17. Griffin’s prettiest pass was a 35-yard strike down the center of the field to Paul. The dart hit Paul in stride. Now, would Paul have hung onto it in a game? Hard to say. Rambo closed in just after Paul snatched the ball from the air and would’ve lit the tight end up. Darrel Young had a drop, Pugh broke up a pass for Garcon, and the other incompletion was the overthrow to Robinson on the scuffle play. Griffin is eager to ramp up his activity, but he hasn’t let that cause him to become impatient as he reads defenses. He still has done a good job of not forcing things. If he doesn’t see an opening downfield, he goes to a checkdown.
● Today was supposed to be his last day of non-11-on-11 action for Griffin. Shanahan still remains unclear as to how much action the quarterback will receive in those segments. But teammates say it doesn’t matter. “It feels like he’s already been out there a lot,” Hall said. “But, we’ll try to get a couple picks tomorrow if he’ll be out there.”
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● Chase Minnifield and Aldrick Robinson’s scuffle at practice.
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