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Play of the day: Cravens showing why the Redskins drafted him

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Play of the day: Cravens showing why the Redskins drafted him

RICHMOND—During practice on Friday rookie linebacker Su’a Cravens flashed some of what the Redskins hope they see out of him when September comes around.

He had the two highlight plays of the day. On one, Colt McCoy tried to get a pass off to a running back. Cravens read the play and made a leaping interception. It could have been a pick six but it was hard to say since there were a lot of players and coaches standing where Cravens would have returned it.

A few plays later, veteran tight end Vernon Davis caught a pass in front of Cravens and turned upfield. The rookie made a quick move and punched the ball out of Davis’ arm, setting up an easy recovery for the defense.

Here is where the disclaimer that they were practicing without pads and it was the second day of training camp goes. Still, it shows why they got Cravens.

The Redskins drafted Cravens in the second round. That’s pretty high for a player who doesn’t have a set NFL position. If he is going to justify that draft pick he will have to make plays like he did on Friday.

The Redskins weren’t bad in the takeaway department last year. They recovered a league-leading 16 fumbles and had 11 interceptions. Their 27 total turnovers were eighth in NFL.

But NFL teams always want more takeaways. If they get two in a game they will wish they had gotten three. If they get three they will think they had a chance to get five.

More is better and if you can get a defender who can create turnovers in the second round it is well worth it.

Cravens has been playing mostly at inside linebacker during OTAs, minicamp, and so far at training camp. The idea is for him to learn the defense from the inside out before learning other positions. His exact role has not yet been determined. But they will put him in positions where he can make plays like he did yesterday and hope that good things will follow.

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Jay Gruden presser recap: Enough is on Chris Thompson's plate already

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Jay Gruden presser recap: Enough is on Chris Thompson's plate already

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.”

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

—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.”

MORE REDSKINS: FIRST LOOK AT REDSKINS VS RAIDERS

—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.”

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.

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

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).

RELATED: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS' WIN IN LA

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.

MORE REDSKINS: FIRST LOOK AT REDSKINS VS RAIDERS

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.