RICHMOND – The Redskins got back to work on Monday after a day off on Sunday, and they slogged their way through two waterlogged sessions in front of a crowd of 4,133, according to the team.
Monday marked the first of three final practice days leading up to the preseason opener.
Jay Gruden said he feels good about the progress his team is making, but admitted that the lack of health in the secondary concerns him because he’d like those starters to develop some chemistry.
Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights from Monday’s action.
- Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver both returned to action after missing time late last week with groin injuries. Meanwhile wide receiver cornerback David Amerson (shoulder), DeSean Jackson (shoulder), receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring), safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring), linebacker Trevardo Williams (hamstring), tight end Logan Paulsen (toe) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (knee) all remained sidelined.
- Backup inside linebacker Will Compton didn’t practice and now joins the injured list with a hamstring strain.
- Tight end Niles Paul injured his left shoulder late in practice and afterward walked off the field with trainer Larry Hess to receive additional evaluation.
- Rookie Brandon Scherff twisted his ankle midway through team drills and did not return. Scherff had his ankle tapped, but watched the remainder of practice. He took part in some of the offensive line drills that followed practice and said, “I’m fine. I’m fine,” as he headed to the locker room, while moving a little gingerly. During the first series without Scherff, Spencer Long lined with the first team. During the second series, it was rookie Arie Kouandjio at right guard.
- Inside linebacker Keenan Robinson didn’t take part in the final defensive series while being evaluated for a possible head injury. Robinson, however, said he felt fine as he left the field after signing autographs post-practice.
- Junior Galett took part in individual drills for the first time since signing with the team on July 31. Galette called it “a blessing” to be back in pads. Aside from a drill against a tackling dummy, Galett didn’t take part in any contact action. He appeared to move well, however, even as he dropped into coverage and changed direction back and forth. He appears to have good speed and fluid hips.
- Hall continues to work his way back into form. He appeared a little stiff, and at less than full speed as he took his turn in the pass coverage/tackling drill that required him to drop-step and run back to his right, change direction and run back to his left and then charge forward and take the tackling dummy to the mat. Hall also was a step slow while covering Pierre Garcon on a crossing route. Robert Griffin III hit Garcon in stride (one of his best throws of the day), but Hall wasn’t close enough to contest the throw. He still has some soreness in his groin/hip, so that’s understandable. Hall still wants to play Thursday night at Cleveland, however.
- Defensive end Stephen Paea recorded six sacks for the Chicago Bears last year, which is a lot for an interior lineman, and it’s easy to see why. Paea has a great first step off the ball. He also has quick hands, and that enables him to win a lot of battles in the trenches. We’ve seen him stop running backs behind the line multiple times during camp. Monday’s team run/run defense drills were no different. Paea lined up alongside Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher and seemed to have the quickest burst of any of the three.
- Ricky Jean Francois isn’t a starter, but he’ll have a key role in the defensive line rotation. He’s the first off the bench, rotating in to spell Paea at left end at times, and Hatcher at right end other times. Jean Francois also sees a fair amount of action in nickel packages.
- Center Kory Lichtensteiger isn’t the biggest lineman at 6-foot-2 and 296 pounds, but he makes up for it with technique and an ability to adjust quickly. Monday in a matchup against Knighton, who’s about two inches and probably around 80 pounds heavier (don’t believe that 354 listed weight for a second), Lichtensteiger got knocked backward, but then Knighton tried to swim past the center. Lichtensteiger quickly re-positioned himself and managed to bump Knighton off target, and the big nose tackle never made it to the quarterback. Later, during one-on-one blocking drills, Lichtensteiger faced backup nose tackle Robert Thomas, who is listed at 6-3, 325 (but probably weighs more as well). Thomas knocked Lichtensteiger back a couple steps on the slippery field, but Lichtensteiger dug in, widened his base, got lower and won the leverage battle. Thomas couldn’t budge the center after that and wound up getting stood up.
- As mentioned before, Griffin and Garcon connected on a crossing route that saw the quarterback get the ball out quickly and lead the receiver perfectly. The two connected several more times throughout the day. Griffin again hit Garcon in stride, this time on a 50-yard touchdown pass. Garcon had gotten a step on Culliver and caught the pass over his shoulder. Griffin also had three other first down passes to Garcon – once on a slant and two other times on out routes just beyond the sticks.
- It’ll be interesting to see how things play out with the running back and pass protections. Chris Thompson served as top third-down back Monday since Matt Jones was nursing a sore knee. Thompson allowed a sack by Culliver when he didn’t recognize the cornerback coming on a blitz in time. Whether it’s Morris, Jones or Thompson, there’s not a lot of experience at all in the blitz-picking department between those three.
- Converted cornerback Quinton Dunbar made a nice play Monday, breaking up a Colt McCoy pass intended for Evan Spencer. Dunbar said the hardest thing for him is remembering he can’t touch receivers after five yards. But Monday, he did a good job of riding Spencer’s hip, timing the pass and jumping the route in time to swat the ball away.
- Rookie inside linebacker Martrell Spaight got some extra action Monday with Compton injured and Robinson being checked for a head injury. Spaight ran the second defense Monday, and then late in practice, he took over for Robinson, and seemed sure of himself while making the calls. Spaight’s best play came when he read the backfield and met Thompson in the hole and stopped him with a good, hard tackle.
- Things could change between now and the start of the season, but it appears that the first kickoff unit will feature a few starters as well as a few rookies. Working as the first unit the last few days are safety Dashon Goldson, safety Akeem Davis, tight end Niles Paul, linebacker Will Compton (although he was out Monday), linebacker Adam Hayward, linebacker Terrance Plummer (an undrafted rookie filling the spot of injured safety Jeron Johnson), rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett, fullback Darrel Young, safety Trenton Robinson and cornerback Justin Rogers.
- Jarrett had a highlight on defense, picking off a Kirk Cousins pass intended for wideout Reggie Bell.
- Kai Forbath talked earlier on Monday about needing perform with greater consistency, and later in the afternoon, he had his best showing of camp, going 4 for 4 with makes from 33, 35, 43 and 45 yards out. Competitor Ty Long went 3 for 4 with makes of 43, 46 and 48 yards. He missed from 45 yards out.
- Griffin got in some extra post-practice work, as he usually does. But today, he worked with his dad, RGII. The Griffin men strolled onto the field once the quarterback had finished signing autographs. The elder Griffin played the role of pass-rusher, forcing his son to force him to step to avoid the rush and make a throw. An equipment manager served as the pass-catcher.
More from The Post: