The Washington Redskins wrapped up organized team activities this week and will have one more session of workouts before taking a final break before training camp begins. A three-day mandatory minicamp begins Tuesday; training camp in Richmond is slated to start July 26.
New quarterback Alex Smith needed this period more than anyone else, considering the load he’ll shoulder this season. He continued to learn the offense and build connections with receivers. Rarely are there any real criticisms of OTAs — there are no pads, and contact is limited — but Smith raved about the past three weeks. The three-time Pro Bowler, who’s going into his 14th year in the NFL, called it the most productive OTA of his career and waxed poetic about the competitive tone that Coach Jay Gruden set.
“We’ve had great work,” Smith told The Washington Post this week. “I think the biggest thing that’s jumped out at me is the work ethic of the team. How much these guys are willing to sacrifice and put in and commit themselves. I think that was apparent from the first day in the weight room when we’re conditioning and running on the practice field. The competitiveness. I think those are great qualities to have. I think you have to have them.
“OTAs are really geared toward quarterbacks and receivers and skill position players. So, it’s been nice to take advantage of that. We’ve gotten a ton of reps in. We’ll get the most out of an OTA that I’ve been part of.”
Smith and wide receiver Paul Richardson are the veteran newbies to the system, and both seemed to live up to expectations — as much as one can tell from the sterile workouts. Smith carried himself as a leader, was accurate with the ball and seemed to have an early connection with slot receiver Jamison Crowder. Richardson’s speed was evident from the first day.
The offensive rookies got plenty of work, too. Second-round pick Derrius Guice was explosive and energetic and was receiving plenty of reps with the first team by the third week. Third-round pick Geron Christian got a ton of work with the first team at left tackle with Trent Williams still out with injury. That was an invaluable three weeks for a rookie, being immediately thrown into the fire. Receiver Trey Quinn, the last pick in the draft, took to learning from Crowder and seems to have a legitimate shot at making the roster.
“We get a lot done every single day,” Smith said. “And I love that because I need it more than anybody. These guys have been in this offense, most of them. And I’m kind of playing catch-up. I love that. I love taking advantage of this time of year.
“I think we’ve gotten good work in. We started a good foundation for camp when we do get to throw the pads on and it does become real.”
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