Much of what the defense does on a daily basis in practice is hard to track in terms of progression and regression. Games are the only real indication of who is a defender, and who is a pretender.
But with that in mind, here are a few observations about young players finding their form:
1. Ryan Kerrigan is making up for lost time
The knee injury that sidelined him early in camp isn’t fully healed, but he looks comfortable playing in the brace for now. Kerrigan is going through an adjustment period to the pros, on top of a change of position and responsibility.
Kerrigan was a down lineman in college and didn’t play many snaps in coverage. He said that he’s been working hard with linebackers coach Lou Spanos to learn his responsibilities in coverage, but it’s still going to take some time to feel natural. Probably at this point, he’s best suited as a blitzing specialist from the linebacker position, or an extra man with his hand in the dirt.
Today during blitzing drills, Kerrigan was lined up against rookie running back Shaun Draughn. While there were times that Draughn was able to contain him, there were other times when Kerrigan mauled him en route to the quarterback.
The last play of the drill is one that Draughn won, and is shown below. In between the players, you can see the battle raging on: Read more »
Tags: davonte shannon, DeAngelo Hall, dejon gomes, doug worthington, reggie jones, ryan kerrigan
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The Redskins announced their first official depth chart of the season earlier today, and Tim Hightower sits atop the running backs list.
This isn’t a surprise, after the Redskins swung a trade to bring him to Washington (and incumbent Ryan Torain went down with another injury). Hightower represents an upgrade over anyone on the roster and provides durability to a position fraught with injury last season.
The only knock on him has been his propensity to put the ball on the ground, a Cardinal sin (pun intended) among running backs.
After practice today, head coach Mike Shanahan addressed what he sees when Hightower fumbles: Read more »
Tags: mike shanahan, tim hightower, washington redskins
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Standing on the sideline with my back to the fans every morning (inevitably blocking someone’s view), I get to hear the observations of the Redskins faithful.
Without fail, every morning I hear somebody ask during receiver drills, “Who the heck is No. 80?”
Meet Isaac Anderson, former Wisconsin Badger and undrafted wide receiver for your Redskins. He may not have the name, he may not have the hype, but so far he’s doing all the right things to stick around.
“I’m just trying to go out there and learn as fast as I can,” he said. ”I definitely made a couple plays in back-to-back practices. I’m starting to pick it up and it’s a lot better being here and getting the install than trying to catch up.”
With the addition of players like Santana Moss and Donte Stallworth to practice, snaps have decreased across the board. However, the presence of these players has only helped players like Anderson. Read more »
Tags: Isaac Anderson, rookie, washington redskins, Wisconsin
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This isn’t exactly Sonny Jurgensen vs. Billy Kilmer, but quarterbacks John Beck and Rex Grossman went into the preseason in essentially a two-horse race for the starting job in Washington.
So far, Grossman was unable to take the field for the first week, as he was held out until the new CBA was agreed to. The two competed for about two and one-half practices before Beck tweaked a groin, and has been limited ever since.
With Kellen Clemens returning from a funeral today, the quarterback quintet (with Marc Verica and Ben Chappell) was able to warm up as a group this morning before moving on to more intense drills. Beck (far left) and Grossman (near left) threw the balls to the other three, below:
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Tags: john beck, kellen clemens, quarterbacks, rex grossman
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The team pictured above is the Walker’s Hornets Tiny Mites team from southeast DC, and they came out to Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday to watch the Redskins play.
These first-graders were under the supervision of parents Leroy and Courtney, when I walked over and riled them up. After I asked for a good muscle picture, they all started shouting out “LaRon Landry!”
I guess his physique precedes him.
This group was a loyal bunch of Redskins fans, and were fascinated by the Redskins players scrimmaging on the field in front of them. This is probably the only practice that they’ll make it out to as a group, but the parents and coaches are hoping that the benefits will be long term.
“I told them to pay attention and learn something,” Courtney and Leroy both chimed in. ”Take something back home with you.”
As far as the Redskins are concerned, Courtney and Leroy were both pleased with the offseason pickups. ”Not really the sexy picks, but we needed to stop that,” Courtney said.
“It never works out anyway,” Leroy added, “and we hope it happens to Philly this year. They did all that and they won’t do nothing with it.”
Redskins fans seem to be genuinely excited about the low hype, Lunch-Pail Team that they’re putting together in Washington.
Tags: fan appreciation day, Walker's Hornets Tiny Mites, washington redskins
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No, seriously this time.
For more than a week, I’ve taken light-hearted pokes at the quietest competition in camp, the kicking position. I am here to report to you that the battle has actually, really, begun.
Today marked the first time that the kickers went head-to-head, kicking extra points after touchdowns at the end of practice. Results were somewhat rough.
After a Tim Hightower touchdown scamper, Shayne Graham punched the ball wide left. After a Ben Chappell to Keiland Williams touchdown, Graham Gano shanked the ball wide right, nearly hitting a reporter in the head.
Head coach Mike Shanahan was not about to have practice end on a pair of whiffs, and trotted Shayne back out there. This time he was able to put it through, and the competition was over for the day.
For those of you keeping track of this Graham-on-Graham crime, your tally should read Shayne 1, Gano 0.
In all seriousness, this practice was just the first of many opportunities for evaluating the talent of both kickers. For Shanahan, the clock on the competition starts now.
“We’ll evaluate the competition every day,” he said after practice. ”We put them into situations like end of the game, game-winning field goal. We’ll do that a number of times before we have to make our cut. We try to put them into situations and see how each guy reacts.”
Even though Shayne likely emerged with the edge today, it didn’t sound like he was particularly proud of his first showing, but not worried either.
“I feel like I was hitting the ball pretty well,” he said. ”It’s a matter of finding our timing, because timing really means everything. I’ve learned in my career over the last 11 years that you’re gonna miss some every now and then.”
“I don’t dwell on a missed kick,” he explained further. ”My last [practice] rep was 48 with 15 yards to spare.”
A 63-yard kick in practice would go a long way towards Shayne winning the job, but we’ll have to see.
Tomorrow’s special teams report will cover the Australian Saga of Sav Rocca.
Tags: graham gano, shayne graham, washington redskins
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