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Need to Know: Redskins getting players to buy in to special teams

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Need to Know: Redskins getting players to buy in to special teams

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 29, 25 days before the Redskins start training camp.

Three and out

—There was very little down time in special teams practices at Redskins Park. “We’re able to break up and [Special Teams Coordinator] Ben [Kotwica] does an outstanding job of utilizing everybody and getting the most out of his 10-15 minute allotments,” said Jay Gruden. “You see guys running around, all types of different areas, working tackling drills, cover drills, punting, kicking, protection, all that. You get all that taken care of and in order to do that, assistant coaches have to be part of it.” Gruden said that the process is helping to get players to buy in to the importance of special teams. The fact that has to be done is not good but it is a good sign that the team might have a good chance of turning it around on specials teams this year.

—We heard the word “multiple” used a lot regarding the offense, by Gruden and by Robert Griffin III in particular. “But after that, I think the good thing about our offense right now is we have multiple threats and the biggest key will be to distribute the ball, try to distribute it evenly and make sure everybody feels a part of the offense,” said Gruden. “Jordan Reed has had a great camp. Pierre [Garçon] had a great day today. DeSean [Jackson] has done his thing. Andre Roberts has done good things. There’s been other players. Ryan Grant had some big plays today. Alfred Morris is going to do his thing in the running game. [Roy] Helu has made some big plays. So it’s just a matter of getting people involved and getting excited about the game plan and knowing every play, there could be somebody different that could hurt you.”

—We’re hearing a lot about the defense becoming more aggressive and putting more of an emphasis on rushing the passer. This doesn’t just apply to the linebackers; it applies to the line as well. “We expect big things out of Chris and Jarvis, and they’re doing a much better job of getting off blocks and transitioning from a run-type of front to a pass rush on the playactions,” said Gruden. “Everybody down there, from all those defensive tackles, linemen are doing a good job. [Defensive end Kedric] Golston’s doing a good job - they’re all rushing the passer a lot better. They’re still maintaining their run gaps and playing good run defense also at their pad level but transitioning from a run-style stance to a pass rush isn’t easy for a lot of people but our guys are doing a good job.”

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Timeline

—It’s been 182 days since the Redskins played a game; in 70 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Training camp 25; Preseason opener vs. Patriots 39; Home opener Jaguars @ Redskins 77

In case you missed it

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.