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Need to Know: Redskins training camp arrangement is wagging the dog

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Need to Know: Redskins training camp arrangement is wagging the dog

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 16, the day the Washington Redskins start minicamp.

Wagging the dog

The Redskins announced their Richmond training camp schedule for 2015 and there is a significant change from the way they did things last year.

The full practices, the ones with pads and hitting and full speed action, will be held in the afternoon, most of them starting a 3 p.m. In the morning they will do a walkthrough. Last year they had the full practices at about 8:30 a.m. and the walkthroughs in the afternoon.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden liked having the heavy work in the morning, before the summer heat really started to bear down. He also liked the cycle of going over material during meetings at night and then getting on the field and practicing it in the morning. Richmond is also more like to see a line of thunderstorms roll through in the afternoon and it’s better to have a walkthrough lost to the weather than a full practice, which can’t be made up. Unlike Redskins Park, the Bon Secours training canter does not have an indoor practice facility.

It is believed that one of the reasons for the change is attendance at Bon Secours. Last year fans were showing up in large numbers in the morning for the more entertaining full practice. But since the walkthrough is as exciting to watch as growing grass, fans were not staying. With no reason for fans to stick around there were few people around to get lunch at the various concession stands that were set up inside and outside of the games. The city had a difficult time making its $500,000 payment to the Redskins.

So, it appears that the flipping of the practice times was done at least in part due to the financial arrangement the Redskins have with the city. The change happened even though last year’s schedule was probably best for football reasons.

The Redskins’ arrangement with Richmond nearly created another situation that was not in the best interest of the football operation. As of a couple of weeks ago, the Redskins did not have any joint practices with another NFL team scheduled. Why not?

“Well, last year, we practiced against New England because we played them Week 1 [of the preseason] at home,” Gruden said last week. “You know, this year we didn’t have that luxury. So it’s hard to get somebody to fly into Richmond and we couldn’t really go anywhere else because of our commitment to Richmond.”

Houston had previously arranged to practice against the Saints but when New Orleans cancelled, the Texans made the call and will be headed to Richmond. Had the Texans been able to stick with their original plan the Redskins would have been out of luck.

Joint practices are becoming very popular around the NFL; it seems that the majority of NFL teams are taking part in at least one. They give the team a chance to face unfamiliar players and break up the tedium of training camp.

So since the arrangement with Richmond, which calls for 15 days of practice to be held there, precludes the Redskins from visiting another team’s facility for practice is is turning what most teams believe is a valuable part of training camp into a “luxury”. Add that to the practice time changes and you have what should be football decisions being made, or at least influenced, by financial and other non-football factors.

Of course, it should work the other way around. There are some advantages to having training camp in Richmond but if we continue to see the tail wag the dog the Redskins would be better off terminating their agreement and going back to having their training camp at the team facility in Ashburn.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Minicamp practice 1 p.m.; defensive assistant coaches available after practice, approx. 2:45; Jay Gruden press conference after practice.

—It’s been 170 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 89 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 44; Preseason opener @ Browns 58

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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With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

With one catch, Josh Doctson proved just how dangerous he can be for the Redskins

LANDOVER, Md. — It took a while, longer than likely anyone expected, but Josh Doctson's first career touchdown catch may just have been worth the wait.

In the third quarter of the Redskins' 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night, Kirk Cousins lofted a deep ball from a bit beyond midfield toward Doctson, who was being boxed out by David Amerson. And as the pass made its descent, Amerson went up to go snag it.

There was just one problem for the corner: Doctson went up and got to it first.

The result? A 52-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 in favor of the hosts but, far more importantly, opened — quite forcefully, too — everyone's eyes to the sheer talent No. 18 possesses.

MORE: WHY THE DEFENSE'S EFFORT WAS SO ENCOURAGING

"I just made the play," the second-year wideout said afterward, about as nonchalantly as he made the TD look even though it absolutely wasn't. "It was pretty simple to be honest."

Against the Eagles and Rams in Weeks 1 and 2, Doctson suited up for Washington's offense but wasn't involved at all. And in the early going vs. Oakland, it again looked like he'd walk off the field with the same statline as an inactive player, on the verge of facing more questions about why he isn't producing. 

But that all changed on one jump-ball, which is exactly what his head coach has been anxiously waiting for.

"I think it was some relief for him," Jay Gruden answered when asked about the highlight. "I think the players have seen him do that in practice quite often but nobody else has... It wasn't a perfectly thrown ball, but to give him a chance where he can go up and make a big time catch, hopefully we'll get more of that."

RELATED: REDSKINS PLAYERS SIT AND KNEEL DURING ANTHEM

Doctson's QB, who gestured toward him during the post-score celebration as if to say There's the dude you've all been hearing about for months, certainly appreciated it.

"I do like Josh's ball skills and his ability to catch the ball up in the air and I thought, 'You know what, I'm going to give him a chance, they have been asking me to give him that chance and let's give it to him," Cousins said.

As fans of the team know all too well by now, Doctson isn't someone that can be counted on yet. He's oft-injured, and the grab he made over Amerson, while spectacular, was just the third of his career. 

But that sequence provides hope that many more similar to it will follow if he continues to stay healthy and gains more of Gruden's and Cousins' trust this year. He's still far from validating his 2016 first-round selection, but it's now obvious he has the skills to distance himself from those who so badly want to label him a bust.

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Redskins offense finally clicked, but their defense is why you should be thrilled

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins offense finally clicked, but their defense is why you should be thrilled

LANDOVER, Md. — It'll be tempting to focus on the Redskins' offense as you bask in the glow of their 27-10 Sunday night win vs. the Raiders. In fact, it'll be tempting not to just spend Monday at work watching that graceful Josh Doctson grab over and over again. 

But don't be too distracted by how well Kirk Cousins and his unit played, because it was the defense's effort that should have you most excited throughout the week as you talk about the now 2-1 Burgundy and Gold.

Allow Jay Gruden to explain how proud he is of the group that dominated throughout the Week 3, nationally televised matchup against an AFC favorite.

"I think it was as good a defensive performance that I've seen in a long time by anybody," the head coach said in his press conference. "To hold that offense with Marshawn [Lynch] and Derek [Carr] and [Michael] Crabtree and Amari Cooper... the list goes on and on. 0-11 on third downs. I mean, it's a great tribute to Coach Manusky and the staff, but the players were executing."

MORE: QUARTER-BY-QUARTER BREAKDOWN OF THE WIN

Trying to select a defensive player of the night? Write down about 10 names, toss them into your favorite 'Skins hat, mix them up and choose one. Odds are, you'll find a deserving player.

Montae Nicholson hauled in his first career interception on the Raiders' first passing play. Kendall Fuller notched his first pick, too. Preston Smith and Jonathan Allen, meanwhile, both posted a sack and were around Derek Carr on plenty of other occasions. And you could make a compilation of Zach Brown and DJ Swearinger's hardest hits, and it'd probably run a few minutes featuring just their tackles.

The Raiders came into D.C. as one of the league's most productive offenses through two contests. They left, however, with just 128 total yards, never able to find any momentum against an opponent that was flying around from beginning to end.

"D-line was going out there and just attacking, hunting, eating," Fuller said afterward. "I remember just being on the sideline — just all the DBs — just telling them how much we appreciate it. The linebackers helping them in the run game, helping us in the pass game. So just all three levels, all three phases of the game."

"We just got our butt kicked," Carr stated matter of factly.

Coming into the season, it was expected that the Redskins' offense would author complete performances like the one they did at home vs. the Silver and Black. Turning over a rising young QB a couple of times, manhandling a premier offensive line and coming up with clutch red zone stands, though?

Those are the types of things that could make the 2017 season a special one. And those are the types of things that make the defense's showing the best part of an excellent overall victory.