Mike Jones gives his top three takeaways from Day 6 at Redskins training camp
1. Encouragement for Reed, Crowder: Jay Gruden said Jordan Reed’s visit with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte yesterday revealed “nothing earth-shattering” in the tight end’s sprained big toe and “everything looked pretty good.” Reed, meanwhile, continued to increase his activity on Wednesday.
While the bulk of his teammates went through the special teams practice on the main field, Reed jogged a series of pass routes, catching balls from backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld. There’s still no timetable for Reed’s return, but the fact that he was back out on the field doing work for a third straight day is a good sign.
Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins’s other favorite target, Jamison Crowder, also took steps forward in his recovery from injury. The slot receiver hasn’t practiced since last Friday because of a strained hamstring. But Crowder was back on the field Wednesday. Because it was a special teams practice, much of the work was conducted at jogging pace. But Crowder fielded punts and then ran routes on the side field. Afterwards, he said he felt good.
2. Special teams ticket: While Washington’s top draft picks are in the process of carving out key roles for themselves, whether on defense or offense, special teams represents the golden opportunity for later-round draft picks and undrafted free agents to make the squad.
Guys to keep an eye out for as they get a crack at action on the first special teams units: fifth-round pick Robert Davis, young journeymen Earl Wolfe IV (cornerback) and Zach Vigil (inside linebacker) and seventh-round pick Josh Holsey (cornerback). Eventually, third-rounder Fabian Moreau (cornerback) and fourth-rounder Montae Nicholson (safety) should contend for leading spots on special teams, as well. For now, neither have received the green light to take part in team drills as they recover from injuries. Davis has great size at 6 feet 3 inches and 217 pounds. But he still has strides to make as a receiver. However, if he can display versatility as a gunner, blocker, tackler and return option, he can significantly increase his chances of making the roster as the sixth receiver.
3. Galette progress helps Williams: Redskins fans have yearned for the day that pass-rusher Junior Galette begins wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, but Achilles’ tendon tears in each of the last two seasons have prevented that from happening. Aiming to return to action for the first time since 2014, when he played for the Saints, Galette has displayed almost daily improvement.
First, the progress involved him regaining his explosive ability. Now, Galette seems to have gotten his burst off the ball back, so much so that he has started winning pass-rushing battles with Trent Williams. The Pro Bowl left tackle still wins the majority of the face-offs. But the last few days are the first time that Williams has really been legitimately challenged in practice since … two years ago when Galette first signed with Washington.
Asked today what he has seen from Galette, Williams said, “A lot of speed, explosive, elusive — all the same qualities that made him one of the best pass-rushers in the league.” Williams welcomes the challenge and said that a healthy Galette will better prepare him for opponents because now he has big, strong types like Preston Smith and a smaller, speed rusher in Galette to practice blocking. “It helps me a lot,” Williams said. “It’s a change-up. … Two totally polar opposite types of pass-rushers. The change-up helps me tremendously.”
It’s that time of year again
For the third summer in a row, Junior Galette, a highly-regarded pass rusher when he was with the New Orleans Saints who has yet to be healthy for a regular-season game for Washington, is standing out.
“Where he used to be” was 22 sacks over the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He missed 2015 and 2016 because of preseason Achilles’ tendon injuries.
Meantime, another player who arrived with high hopes and has been beset by injury is attracting attention too:
And while we’re on injuries:
Brandon Scherff on deer fajitas; Cousins on ‘Hamilton’
The Pro Bowl right guard sat down with Mike Jones to discuss his offseason, and how it involves a love of the Midwestern outdoors, different ways to eat deer and camping.
Meantime, the D.C. Sports Bog chronicles quarterback Kirk Cousins’s attempt to rap parts of “Hamilton.”
Williams praises newcomers, and defensive line
Left tackle Trent Williams spoke with reporters after the morning session, and had good things to say about rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety D.J. Swearinger, who was added through free agency:
We’ll start off, as usual, by taking one fan question from Twitter.
Master Tesfatsion: Before he was promoted to defensive coordinator this offseason, Greg Manusky used the outside linebackers on a rotation in his first season as the position coach. I’d expect for Manusky to do the same this year with the depth Washington has there — Ryan Kerrigan, Galette, Preston Smith, Trent Murphy and Ryan Anderson.
Murphy will be suspended the first four games of the season, but there are still four quality pass rushers available. Kerrigan is a lock to start. Galette has been the most impressive outside linebacker of the bunch. He still has that burst off the line of scrimmage, with the quickness and strength to bend around offensive linemen, like Williams, to give the Redskins a weapon on the opposite side of Kerrigan.
Honestly, it would be difficult for me to give Smith more snaps than Galette at the moment. Smith had a good bull rush on Williams during Tuesday’s practice for his best one-on-one repetition yet, but he lacks the variety of pass moves and consistency that a healthy Galette can bring to the team.
Anderson will have a good opportunity to receive snaps in a limited role during the first four games, but it’s hard to see him getting playing time on defense once Murphy returns from suspension. He might be limited to just special teams, unless there’s an injury at outside linebacker, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Anderson should have time to develop throughout his first NFL season.
What you missed
The Redskins will have their typical walk-through at 10:35 a.m., but their 3 p.m. practice will be focused on special teams. Williams will speak to members of the media following walk-through, while Coach Jay Gruden will be at the podium before practice.