Mike Jones gives his top three takeaways from Day 9 at Redskins training camp in Richmond.
1. Scare for Josh Doctson: Second-year wide receiver Josh Doctson gingerly made his way to the trainers tent and remained there with his right leg propped up for much of Sunday’s practice. After the session ended, he walked slowly to the locker room, wearing a towel over his head, with head trainer Larry Hess. The Redskins later reported that Doctson strained his right hamstring.
Through eight practices, Doctson had impressed in Richmond, making up for lost time after missing all but two games last season because of Achilles’ tendon injuries. The hamstring injury is a setback in that the time on the sideline will prevent Doctson from practicing the next few days and puts his availability for Thursday’s preseason opener in question. But the Redskins probably are breathing a sigh of relief after hearing the nature of this injury and that it isn’t related to the mysterious Achilles’ tendon strains that plagued Doctson last season.
The Redskins should have a better idea of the severity of Doctson’s injury Monday.
2. Patterns developing on defense: The situation could change between now and the start of the regular season, but the starting lineup on defense is beginning to take shape.
For a third straight day, Phil Taylor got the nod at nose tackle when the first-team defense took the field. Taylor was a first-round pick in 2011 but hasn’t played since 2014 because of knee injuries that required surgery. Taylor tried out with the Redskins during the 2016 season but didn’t receive an offer from the team until the offseason. He has steadily rounded back into football shape and has drawn the praise of his coaches for his strength and mobility. Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis and Ziggy Hood have all seen time at nose tackle, but Taylor could be emerging as the defense’s starter.
Taylor’s three-day stretch at nose is the longest such stretch that any defensive line player has spent at any position, while defensive line coach Jim Tomsula continues to alter lineups and rotations on a daily basis. Inside linebackers Will Compton and Mason Foster have also been receiving first-team nods during 11-on-11 drills. Zach Brown has rotated in with Foster on nickel packages, and Compton and Foster seem to be the starters inside.
3. Strong day for the defense: A day after the offense got the better of the defense, especially in the red zone, it was the defense that shined Sunday, particularly in the trenches.
The defensive line produced more pressures and hurries in 11-on-11 action than it had at any point thus far in training camp. The offense was without Trent Williams (abdominal bruise), but the other starters were in place. The defensive linemen fired off the ball, got good penetration on pass-rush attempts and clogged running lanes. Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy also flew into the backfield and made plays behind the line. Fellow outside linebackers Ryan Anderson and Junior Galette did a good job of setting the edge.
During one-on-one drills, rookie Jonathan Allen shined the brightest, using a blend of speed and power to beat blocks and overpower offensive linemen. Second-year pro Matt Ioannidis displayed great improvement from last year as he won his matchups with Brandon Scherff three different times Sunday. Ioannidis bull-rushed the third-year Pro Bowl guard into the backfield and into the quarterback twice. Last year, Ioannidis didn’t have the strength to contend with Scherff or many of his other veteran teammates.