Mike Shanahan looked at his team after 10 OTAs and two minicamp practices and said enough.Word that the third minicamp practice scheduled for Thursday might get called off filtered around Redskins Park on Tuesday. With the team having posted near-perfect attendance during the OTAs and with about a dozen players being spectators for all or part of Wednesdays practice, Shanahan decided to pull the trigger on that plan.Tomorrow, what were going to do is when the players get in, theyll get in around 7:30-8 a.m., well work out until about 9 a.m. and well run and well lift, Shanahan said after Wednesdays practice. Then, well have a couple hours of film, but were not going to practice tomorrow afternoon.Were a little banged up. Weve done a heck of a job throughout the offseason, all these OTAs. Tomorrow will be more of a workout, running and lifting, more of a meeting, but we wont go through what we did today.The players were not available for comment by the time Shanahan made this announcement but the decision undoubtedly got unanimous approval from the team.Well, make that a near-unanimous thumbs up. Robert Griffin III was not sharp at all during the two-hour Wednesday practice and he probably doesnt want to go into the six-week break between today and training camp with that performance to stew on.The next football activity at Redskins Park will come when Griffin and the other rookies report there in July 16. Its not really an early start to training camp, which will start on about July 26.Its just more a review of film, just going over the installation schedule, getting in a good lift, a good run, maybe a couple hours, not to overdo it, but to get some added time in meetings, a chance to ask any questions over the next month or five weeks, said Shanahan.Sometime between now and then, Griffin plans to get together with his receivers for at least a few days to get in some work.At least, thats what Shanahan has heard. I just read about it in the newspaper to be honest with you. Weve been going pretty hard here over the past five weeks, and these guys are going to work out over the next five weeks, he said. A lot of these quarterbacks and receivers will get together on their own, but you know the key is if they dont have the ability to get together, theyre working out and keeping on top of their business.
After making a late call to put Josh Doctson on the inactive list last week against the Giants, the Redskins are preparing to play without the rookie receiver on Sunday unless his Achilles injury dramatically improves. The team is practicing with Rashad Ross as the fifth wideout for Cleveland, a source told CSN.
"It was actually last minute. It was 11:30 a.m.," Gruden said of taking Doctson off the active list in New York and replacing him with Ross.
"He just didn’t feel comfortable, couldn’t push off the way he wanted to so we had to make that last minute switch."
Gruden explained the team has lingering concerns about Doctson's availability as he continues to battle an Achilles injury. The rookie did not practice Wednesday, and the coach said he will not practice again Thursday, though he added the injury could stretch much longer.
"It could be a possibility or a time that we put him down for a couple more weeks or a couple more days like we’re taking him off today, probably set him down tomorrow, see if that helps him a little bit," Gruden said. "This is new to everybody I think and the key is to get him healthy like you say. We are not trying to rush him."
Doctson has been active for two of the Redskins three games, and has two catches for 66 yards. He did show some of his ability on a long completion from Kirk Cousins against Dallas, though largely, Doctson and the Redskins have been frustrated by the injury.
"I am concerned. We’ve had all of the tests and there is really nothing there that we should be concerned about from a long-term problem, it’s just he is dealing with some pain," Gruden said. "We don’t know why it is but we have to try and figure out what it is and get it fixed."
For Washington, Ross likely will return kicks against Cleveland if Doctson is down. Active for the first time in New York, Ross had not practiced in that role throughout the week, and Chris Thompson and Will Blackmon shared the kick returning duties. With the Redskins preparing to play Ross, it means he can get the work returning kicks this week in advance of the Browns game. It also helps alleviate some of the workload from Blackmon, who will now be starting at free safety after DeAngelo Hall tore his ACL in New York.
Here are the salient points from Jay Gruden’s news conference on Wednesday:
—They want to get newly acquired center John Sullivan ready to play in a backup role this week. “He’s a very bright guy and I think he will be able to help this team in the long run.”
—Gruden said that the plan to cover the offensive line with two starters out is still being developed. He said that he wants Arie Kouandjio to get a “taste” of starting a left guard, which didn’t sound like much of a commitment to have him start. The door was left open for the possibility of Trent Williams starting at left guard although Gruden didn’t seem to like the idea of moving him.
—The team is doing well getting into the red zone and Gruden said that figuring out how to get the ball into the end zone rather than settling for three is “very high” on the list of concerns.
—There are injuries in the defensive backfield, too, but Gruden is not “overly concerned” about them. He likes the flexibility of the group and think that they can fill in with DeAngelo Hall on injured reserve and Bashaud Breeland out for at least this week.
—Jordan Reed has yet to catch a touchdown pass this year in part because teams are defending differently in the red zone. “Yeah, we are seeing a little bit more zone probably and when they play zone, sometimes they bang him when he gets off the line of scrimmage or they send an extra guy to him which is good. It should open up some other people but we just haven’t found the open guy consistently.”
—Will Josh Norman follow Terrelle Pryor, the Brown’s No. 1 receiver who had 141 yards receiving last week? “We’ll have to wait and see.” I wouldn’t expect an answer on this until game time but Pryor is not yet the caliber of receiver who would warrant be trailed by Norman. That’s not really his game, anyway. He is much more effective as a zone corner.