Before the Redskins offseason program gets too far in the rear view mirror, lets take a look back at what we saw, which was three OTAs and two minicamp practices, and see what we learned.Keep in mind the usual caveats here, that the workouts are held with no contact in helmets and shorts while the actual games are played in full pads with a lot of contact. And, because there are no pads and more contact you can tell a lot more about defensive backs and offensive skill positions than you can about other players, soHere are some takeaways, in no particular order.The competition for backup cornerback spots will be fierce. I thought this going in but it became more apparent every day that there is some talent vying for jobs there. One day Richard Crawford was flying around knocking down passes, the next week it was Chase Minnifield. And it was apparent that Kevin Barnes isnt going to give up his job without a fight. It looks like those players plus Brandyn Thompson and Morgan Trent will be battling it out for two, maybe three roster spots behind DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and Cedric Griffin.The depth at running back is shaky. That is not so much in terms of talent but in terms of health. By the end of camp sixth-round pick Alfred Morris had to take a majority of the snaps as Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr., and Evan Royster all were spectators due to injuries. Perhaps this is one of those situations where they would have been in there if it was the regular season but there still is some concern. Availability will be the watchword at this position in 2012.Robert Griffin III has a long way to go. He has come a long way but that is just a start. It takes time, reps and more reps until the mind believes and can break down what the eyes see. Until what takes place in the classroom meshes with what he sees on the field, RG3 will have good and bad plays and good and bad days. He had his share of both in May and June.Pierre Garon will make your jaw drop several times this season. The Redskins really havent had a receiver who can make one-handed stabs of the ball on a regular basis in quite some time. Garon is one of those guys who can do that. His one-handed grab in the end zone during minicamp was the highlight play of the spring. Certainly, it is much more important for Garon to be productive from play to play than it is for him to make circus catches. Still, fans should get some thrills along the way in any case.Dont be surprised if Aldrick Robinson is a surprise player. Or something like that. With no offseason program to prepare last year, Robinson looked overwhelmed in training camp. He was so unsure of himself that his speed never was on display. That changed this year and Robinson has a good shot at making the roster and contributing.Neil Rackers and Graham Gano will battle for the kicker spot until the final cuts. It looks like Rackers is better from short distance and gets good height on his kicks. Gano can hit from a longer distant but he is inconsistent from short range and his low kicks are prone to being blocked. The early prediction here is that Gano hangs on but I wouldnt bet a dime on it.
Here is a recap of Jay Gruden’s press conference on Wednesday:
—The injuries are covered in a separate post here. Jordan Reed was the only non-participant. Gruden said his status is “wait and see.”
—Gruden doesn’t see them playing Chris Thompson more than they do now. He noted that in addition to being the third-down back he also returns kicks and comes in on second and long plays. “It’s important for us to keep him healthy,” said Gruden. “He’s not a guy that I personally want to give him 30 carries a game.”
—In a year, Matt Ioannidis has gone from being on the practice squad to being a key member of the defensive line. Gruden was impressed with his play against the Rams. “Against the Rams, he played very well,” he said. “He had pressured the quarterback four or five times, he hawked down Tavon Austin on a jet sweep, which was a big play on the first play of the game. If he gets out of there, it could’ve been a 70-yard touchdown.” Gruden said that work in the weight room with help from fellow DL Ziggy Hood helped in Ioannidis’ transformation.
—Gruden said that the Rams game might have been the best of Jordan Reed's career despite gaining just 48 receiving yards on six catches. “Yeah, Jordan was awesome,” he said. “I thought he had the best all-around game he’s had in a while. I think, not just route-running, but blocking. He was outstanding in blocking. Had a key block on the touchdown Chris Thompson had on the second series of the game, was physical and did a great job.”
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—The Su’a Cravens situation was dismissed rather quickly. The Redskins will not be adding another safety to the roster. “No, we have Fish [Smithson] already as our fifth guy on the practice squad and he’s doing a good job, so we’re OK at safety spot,” said Gruden. “As far as Su’a’ is concerned, we just have to put it behind us, move forward and let him take care of his personal life and let us take care of this season.”
There were a lot of wounded Redskins on the practice field on Wednesday as the team started preparations for their game against the Raiders on Sunday.
One injured player was not on the field. Jordan Reed was out with a chest injury. Obviously, there is concern but Jay Gruden said that it is too early to rule him out of the game.
A half dozen players were limited: RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder), OT Morgan Moses (ankle), S Deshazor Everett (knee), and LB Mason Foster (shoulder).
While none of the injuries seems particularly serious, they still could affect each player’s status for the game.
Foster suffered a separated shoulder during the game, popped it back in, and continued without missing a snap. He said that said that he was letting the athletic trainers handle it. “I’m going in, getting my treatment, doing what they tell me to do,” he said.
Kelley suffered a rib cartilage injury in the second quarter on Sunday. He said that the pain was very high that day but that it has subsided since.
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