RICHMOND — The Washington Redskins got back to work today after receiving Friday off to rest up and recover from Thursday’s preseason opener.
The players practiced in shells and went at a more moderate pace compared to some of the other practices we’ve seen during camp.
Jason Hatcher received clearance to practice after spending the first two weeks of camp on the physically unable to perform list. He passed his physical Saturday morning, and then joined his teammates on the field in the afternoon.
Hatcher said he was excited to be back on the field, but added that he still has a long way to go.
That was evident watching him. He only went through individual drills, but he appeared to still have a slight limp as he ran. Hatcher also wasn’t as quick off the ball during a drill conducted on the blocking sled.
On the drill, a defensive player lines up across the sled, which features three individual pads, and a helmet attached to the center pad. Defensive line coach Jacob Burney stands on the back of the sled and yells, ‘Set, hut!’ and using a handle, shifts the helmet to the left, or to the right. The defensive player is supposed to fire out of his three-point stance and hit whatever pad the helmet is over. So, it’s a drill on sliding laterally, exploding forward and shooting with the hands.
Kedric Golston was in line in front of Hatcher, and he shot off the line, slid over and exploded forward at a quick enough pace that it basically looked like one fluid movement. Set-hut-bang (right). Set-hut-bang (left). Hatcher still is working on getting his explosiveness back. He was more jerky, and not as quick. At the signal, he slid over, then shot forward. Two distinct moves, and not as fluid. Chris Baker, Jarvis Jenkins and Chris Neild all also looked quicker and more explosive at this drill.
That’s not a knock on Hatcher, just an indication as to where he is right now. Coach Jay Gruden said he will be brought along slowly. This week is nothing but individual drills, then next week, if his knee responds favorably, Hatcher will go through individual drills, and some team drills, and if that goes well, he’ll take part in full game-simulation drills and shoot for the third game of the preseason at Baltimore. It could wind up being the fourth preseason game before he plays, however. The Redskins want to be smart about this and don’t see it necessary to rush their prized free agent signing.
- The Redskins didn’t have Ryan Clark (hamstring), Phillip Thomas (hamstring), Roy Helu (mild knee sprain), Chris Thompson (mild ankle sprain) or tight end Mike Caussin (knee) in practice today.
- Less than an hour after going through a workout for secondary coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Bruce Allen, safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith signed his contract and hit the practice field. He’s got great size at 6 feet 2 and 203 pounds. He clocked a 4.56-second 40-yard dash time coming out of UTEP. Having spent the first four years of his career in Pittsburgh, he’s familiar with this defense. He said after practice that former Steelers teammate Ryan Clark helped him connect some of the dots today. Cromartie-Smith was signed because the Redskins don’t know how long Clark’s hamstring will keep him out, Gruden said. He ran with the second unit today, and Bacarri Rambo started at free safety. It will be interesting to see how Cromartie-Smith tackles, and if he can make this a legitimate competition with Rambo.
- Pierre Garcon returned to action today, and had a touchdown catch from Robert Griffin III during 11-on-11 red zone drills.
- DeSean Jackson took part in individual drills, but watched the remainder of practice, and late in the session iced his ankle in the trainers’ tent.
- Aldrick Robinson picked up where he left off in Thursday’s game. He beat DeAngelo Hall up the right sideline for a 45-yard reception from Griffin. Robinson later had a 15-yard touchdown reception, beating Rambo this time. Later still, he had a narrow miss. Griffin riffled the ball into him as the receiver ran across the back of the end zone. But the ball zipped right through Robinson’s hands for an incompletion.
- Tight end Niles Paul had a 30-yard catch from Griffin. Paul had beaten Rambo in pass coverage.
- David Amerson almost had an interception off of Griffin. He tried to jump a comeback route by Santana Moss, but couldn’t quite make the catch and instead broke up the pass.
- Moss did have a highlight. He dusted Tracy Porter and caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins.
- Porter later redeemed himself by picking off a tipped Cousins pass and returning it for a touchdown. Backup tackle Tom Compton showed some impressive speed as he tried to run the cornerback down. He couldn’t quite get the angle on Porter, however, and the defensive back zipped by for the touchdown.
- Griffin found himself under some pressure today during the move-the-ball drill. He started things off with a completion to Andre Roberts, then had a would-be sack as Brian Orakpo got into the backfield. On the next play, Griffin had to throw the ball away to avoid a sack. Griffin then completed another pass to Roberts, dumped the ball off to Alfred Morris on a screen and then would’ve been sacked again as Orakpo and Jarvis Jenkins both got into the backfield and held up. Logan Paulsen tipped a pass to DeAngelo Hall for an interception, then came an incomplete pass with Griffin under pressure, followed by the 15-yard touchdown pass to Robinson.
- Trent Williams didn’t quite look like himself out there today. He was battling a stomach bug and at one point actually lost his lunch on the field. He kept practicing, but had a couple of breakdowns in protection, which was understandable.
- Tight end Jordan Reed also had a stomach bug, but didn’t practice.
- Rookie wide receiver Ryan Grant continues to display a knack for getting open. He just always seems to find an opening in the coverage, and then makes good catches. Not sure I’ve seen him drop a catchable ball this camp.
- Running back Lache Seastrunk is a different story. He received more opportunities today with Helu and Thompson out, but he had a couple of drops. He needs to make plays if he wants to have a chance to stick. He did make one grab on a ball thrown behind him. That was after two drops earlier in the practice.
- Evan Royster was used on a screen play and displayed as good a burst of acceleration as we’ve seen from him. He continues to say that given the opportunity, he can prove his capabilities to this coaching staff. The way he took off today certainly looked good.
- Richard Crawford hasn’t made a lot of plays in camp, but today, the third-year cornerback (attempting to make a comeback from knee reconstruction) had a nice pass breakup on a Colt McCoy pass intended for Cody Hoffman.
- Hoffman had a tough day. He made a catch later, only to have Chase Minnifield drill him hard from behind. The ball popped out and into the hands of outside linebacker Everett Brown.
- Kai Forbath and Zach Hocker continued their competition for place-kicking duties. Forbath went 4 for 4 today with makes from 40, 38, 43 and 51 yards. Hocker matched him by going 4 for 4 as well, with makes from 45, 38, 43 and 51.
- The Redskins practice at 8:35 a.m. on Sunday, and then have a 4:10 p.m. walk-through.