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Need to Know: Five things we've learned from Redskins training camp

Need to Know: Five things we've learned from Redskins training camp

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, August 13, 20 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 224 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 28 days.

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.

Days until:

—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 6
—Redskins @ Rams (9/17) 35
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 42

Five things we’ve learned in training camp

RICHMOND—As we head into the last day of practice here before heading back up to Ashburn, let’s take a look back at some of what has happened and what we have learned.

—I haven’t done any sort of comprehensive studies or anything but I don’t think the Redskins have suffered significantly more injuries than any other team. Looking at this injury tracker, the Redskins have eight names on it. Scrolling through, it looks like some have more, some have fewer. Sure, it’s bad to lose Trent Murphy for the season in the first quarter of the first preseason game. But they do have some depth at the position so the impact is lessened. And, yes, getting Jordan Reed back to practice would be a big plus. But the evidence doesn’t support any assertion that the Redskins are particularly hard hit on the injury front either in terms of sheer quantity or severity.

—Even if Samaje Perine was playing well it would be tough for him to beat out Rob Kelley for the starting job at running back. Kelley is having that good a camp. He had very limited action in the preseason game but he showed growth there as well. He managed to hold on to a pass when he got smacked after catching a check-down toss from Kirk Cousins. Receiving was an issue for him last year and if he has that ironed out he will be a more versatile offensive weapon.

—Terrelle Pryor continues to impress. On Saturday, he used his length to allow Kirk Cousins to throw a pass that only Pryor, not defender Josh Norman, could catch. Pryor goes deep, he goes over the middle, he gets in there to catch shorter passes in traffic. Everyone wants to see him do it in games—Cousins’ lone pass to him against the Ravens was off target—but it’s so far, so good for Pryor in camp.

—Jay Gruden does not have his team engage in much contact in training camp. They ran a modified Oklahoma drill on their first day with pads but the ball carrier and defender started off too close to each other to generate enough speed for a big collision. They haven’t run it in the two weeks since. They did let the third team run a scrimmage with live tackling but that was maybe a dozen plays and there weren’t any loud hits. This has led to charges that his camps are too soft. Perhaps they are, but some hamstrings and other soft tissue injuries aside they have not sustained very many serious injuries in practice. But until the Redskins win at least a playoff game or two, Gruden’s camp tactics are fair game for criticism.

—The Washington defense should be better this year. The two linchpins of the improvement will be D.J. Swearinger and Zach Brown. Swearinger is a natural leader who is making plays all over the field. Brown has the speed and athleticism that has been missing from the inside linebacker spot. If Jim Tomsula can assemble an effective line rotation the unit will be noticeably improved.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Redskins training camp practice blog, Day 12—Pryor continues to shine

Cousins to play vs. Green Bay

One strange turn in Redskins preseason opener

The Redskins week that was—Doctson, Galette injuries, roster cuts

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Top 5: Redskins players and positions to watch vs. Packers

Top 5: Redskins players and positions to watch vs. Packers

The Redskins stumbled out of the gate in their preseason opener after falling to the Baltimore Ravens 23-3. Washington showed very little offense as they struggled to move the ball for most of the game, while the defense suffered some key injuries.

Kirk Cousins and company look to rebound in their second preseason game as they host the Green Bay Packers this Saturday at 7:30 PM. 

CSN's Julie Donaldson and former NFL GM Charley Casserly give their top five players and positions to keep an eye on in the Redskins second preseason game.

RELATED: FOSTER, BROWN TO START VS. PACKERS, GRUDEN SAYS.

Charley Casserly Top 5:

5. Matt Ioannidis: "I like Ioannidis. I thought he played the best of the rest of the defensive lineman. He's a high motor guy, he gives you effort, he's quick."

4. Deshazor Everett: "I thought he played well the other night. I thought he covered well, I thought he was aggressive against the run, he made good tackles."

3. Outside Linebackers: "Hey Preston Smith, this is your opportunity. This is a big year for him because hey, we drafted a guy. Anytime we draft a guy, the pressure is on."

2. Kirk Cousins: "He's got an advantage here. Green Bay is down, two of their top three corners aren't playing. This passing game should be in sync this week."

1. Offensive Line: "This offensive line did not play last week...you got to come out, dominate the line of scrimmage, control the line of scrimmage, and set the tone for the game."

Julie Donaldson's Top 5:

5. Nico Marley: "He has a lot of heart. He's making a name for himself... this guy has more to show for us than just being Bob's grandson, but I want to see can he do it again..."

4. Deshazor Everett: Cc'd: Casserly's comments

3. Samaje Perine: "There were so many expectations for him, he looked a little bit lost. I'm kinda hoping those are just nerves..."

2. Offensive Line: "If Kirk Cousins is going to have any success, or anybody that goes behind him, if that run game is going to have any success then we need to get that o-line in sync."

1. Colt McCoy: "We are one injury away from Coly McCoy taking over this team."

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Josh Doctson looks good to go, new starters at LB and other practice notes

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AP

Josh Doctson looks good to go, new starters at LB and other practice notes

Josh Doctson looked like a first-round pick in Richmond, at least, until a hamstring injury knocked him off the Richmond practice fields for a few days. On Thursday, back in Ashburn, Doctson again showed his considerable talents.

Taking the field for 11v11 drills for the first time since he injured his hamstring. Doctson made three catches from QB Kirk Cousins. He showed the same fluidity and smoothness in his routes that he flahes in Richmond. 

Leaving the field, Doctson said he felt good. After practice, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Doctson "looked good." Gruden added the plan is to see how Doctson looks in warmups before the Packers game Saturday (6:30, CSN) night and then the team will decide if the second year wideout will play or not. 

Other notes and observations:

  • In season, the media gets to watch very little of NFL practices, especially in the time leading up to a game. Since Thursday's practice was still technically a training camp session, reporters got to stay and watch as the Redskins prepared for the Packers by running their scout team offense and defense. Cousins and the starting Redskins offense went up against the faux-Packers squad, complete with Dashaun Phillips dressed in a yellow penny playing the role of Ha-Ha Clinton Dix. It was very interesting to watch, and shows that the Redskins will be better prepared for Green Bay this week than they were for Baltimore last week. 
  • Thursday's practice also went much shorter than many of the recent sessions, another sign that the Redskins were treating the Packers game like a normal week. The team skipped the bulk of individual drills, 7v7 and cut down on special teams work. 
  • Deshazor Everett missed the practice session with a personal issue, per Gruden. The coach added that Everett is "okay."
  • Working in drills near the goal line - against the scout team - Cousins looked dialed in. He fired touchdowns to Vernon Davis and Terrelle Pryor.
  • Kendall Fuller has locked up the nickel cornerback role. It also looks like the four down linemen in nickel will start with Jon Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan. There will be plenty of changes and rotations among that group though.
  • Gruden announced after practice that Zach Brown and Mason Foster will start at the linebacker spots vs Green Bay. The team showed that duo in drills, which meant Will Compton got pushed to the second team. When that group was on the field, rookie Montae Nicholson tipped a pass at the goal line. Compton came up with it for the INT. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

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