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Need to Know: Five things to watch during Redskins rookie camp

Need to Know: Five things to watch during Redskins rookie camp

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 16, 75 days before the Washington Redskins open training camp in Richmond, VA.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things I’ll be looking for at today’s rookie camp at Redskins Park.

The top picks—It’s hard tell much about linemen in a no-pads practice session but it will be interesting to watch Brandon Scherff at work. I presume they will line him up on the right side because that’s where he’s going to be playing. Preston Smith will normally line up against the left side of the opposing offense so they may not go head to head much. But I have to think they’ll move Smith around. Tough to get a good feel for the defensive front and power-blocking linemen without pads but it’s possible to get a feel for their technique and how they handle themselves.

Receivers vs. defensive backs—My eyes will be on Jamison Crowder, who could push Andre Roberts for snaps at slot receiver at some point this year. Does he run routes and catch with his hands like an NFL receiver does? He should be able to get some separation against fellow rookies but how well does he attack the ball when a catch is contested? And Jay Gruden seemed to be pretty excited about sixth-round cornerback Tevin Mitchel, we’ll see what the coach likes about him.

Tryout quarterbacks—The Redskins had planned on having Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday there but he apparently is no longer interested in playing football. Now the Redskins will line up with Anthony Neyer of USC and Hutson Mason of Georgia behind center. Mason started all 13 games for the Bulldogs last year and completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 2,168 yards and 21 touchdowns. Neyer is considerably less experienced; he did not attempt a pass in a game for the Trojans. It will be interesting to see what they have.

Running backs—I’ll be most interested in the biggest running back there and in the smallest one. Matt Jones nearly has linebacker size, but how well does he move? And I expect Trey Williams, the 5-7, 195-lb. undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, to put on a pretty good show and outrun some defensive backs and make an impressive move or two. There also is a curiosity factor in seeing former Alabama QB Blake Sims try out as a running back. That’s where he played as a freshman for the Crimson Tide so he’s not totally unfamiliar with it.

Undrafted gems—It is likely that two or three undrafted players who are not on our radar right now will crack the 53-man roster when September rolls around. I could pull out a few names like Virginia Tech safety Detrick Bonner (a tryout player) or Duke offensive tackle Takoby Cofield. But it’s better just to watch and see who stands out enough to get a shot at the next round. That’s OTA’s starting the last week of this month.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Rookie minicamp, Redskins Park. Two sessions, 10:25 and 3:25, both open to the media. Jay Gruden will speak to media after the first practice. Players are available after both practices.

—It’s been 139 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 120 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 31; Redskins training camp starts 75; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 131

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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