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:
Kerrigan is very talented, and is putting in a lot of time to improve his game. But especially with the loss of playing time, it may take a while for him to adjust to his new position.
2. Defensive end Doug Worthington is a moose.
Even though he’s only been in practice for two days, Doug Worthington has left quite the impression. A defensive end that played on the practice squads of the Steelers and Bucaneers last year, Worthington was a standout in one-on-battles between offensive and defensive linemen yesterday.
Twice during the exercise, he beat offensive guard Artis Hicks; once around him, and once through him. Hicks sat out practice today with what head coach Mike Shanahan called a mild concussion, and it likely happened during this drill.
Wow. I’m not sure how he fits into the grand scheme of things for the Redskins, but he could prove to be a productive project.
3. The Redskins have some young talent in the secondary
While DeAngelo Hall is the only player in the secondary that has played consistently throughout camp, there have been flashes of brilliance all over.
Several days ago, rookie defensive back Davonte Shannon launched himself several feet off the ground and came down with an interception. In each of the last two practices, rookie safety DeJon Gomes has jumped a route and come down with an interception. And Reggie Jones is playing out of his mind in the last three or four practices, blanketing whoever he’s on.
There is no locked-in starter next to Hall this season, and players will need to prove themselves on tape in the preseason. This could shape up to be a good battle and a position of strength in 2011.
Tags: davonte shannon, DeAngelo Hall, dejon gomes, doug worthington, reggie jones, ryan kerrigan
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