Spring practices organized team activities if you prefer are not mandatory in the NFL, but attendance is preferred. Actually, in the case of Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan showing up or at the minimum being accountable is expected. Through two weeks of OTAs, so far, so good.Weve had some good work, guys are working hard, we got some competition thats what you look for in these OTA days, Shanahan said following Thursdays outdoor practice at Redskins Park. Weve got 100 attendance. If a guy has missed, its been an excused absence.On this day nose tackle Barry Cofield and safety Tanard Jackson were the only Redskins not in attendance and Shanahan said the pair was excused. Others on hand but not fully practicing included Leonard Hankerson (hip), Brian Orakpo (pectoral), Kory Lichtensteiger (knee), Adam Carriker (foot blisters), Steven Bowen (knee), Jonathan Goff (knee) and running back Tim Hightower, still recovering from Novembers knee surgery. Otherwise, it was an all hands on deck situation.If people want to improve themselves, then you have to practice, and we have nine weeks to get that in, he explained. Its normally three or four days a week. You dont always have it. Some guys dont come for one reason or another, but youre hoping people do come because youre all after the same goal, and I think weve talked about what that goal is.Shanahan expects Hightower, still recovering from Novembers knee surgery, back for training camp. Its pretty much on me, Hightower said.Things feel good, things feel strong. Its just a matter of me getting back in football shape and me getting comfortable with everything.Hankerson did drillwork on the side, though Shanahan said the second-year receivers hip is healed and the team is simply taking the cautious route before training camp. A similar protective tale was told by Orakpo, who sat out 11-on-11 drills. His left pectoral muscle, the one injured late last season, was wrapped but the Redskins top pass rusher downplayed the issue and expects to return to action soon. Were just taking it easy right now, taking a precautionary step, Orakpo said.Guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee) participated in individual and positional work, but expects to be ready for the start of training camp. Same long range forecast for defensive end Stephen Bowen, who sat out practice on Thursday. Shanahan said Goff, recovering from an ACL injury,had his knee drained and continues have some fluid in the knees, but hopes he will return to practice in a couple of weeks. Speaking of excused absences, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, told reporters he missed last weeks OTAs because of a family matter.
GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.
Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.
Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.
In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.
GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.
The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.
On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.
“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.
“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”
Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.