Quick Links

Practice notes: A limited RG3 still draws cheers

rg3-camp-richmond_0.png

Practice notes: A limited RG3 still draws cheers

RICHMOND—Here are a few observations on the Redskins’ first full training camp practice on July 25, 2013.

—Per the CBA rules, the Redskins were not in full pads today; those are not permitted until the fourth day of training camp. Some of the players wore shells (light shoulder pads) but for most it was helmets and shorts.

—Robert Griffin III ran onto the field at a pretty fast clip and, of course, the crowd cheered.

—While the players are stretching, we spotted a couple of unfamiliar jerseys. Two players were signed to replace the waived Jordan Bernstine and Devin Holland. The replacements turned out to be CB Ryan Mouton and safety Jose Gumbs. At one point during stretching someone was having Gumbs look at a stack of papers, leading to speculation that he was signing his players contract out on the field

—All quarterbacks took some work making handoffs out of the Pistol formation. It has been said that Eli Manning could run an offense out of the Pistol so there’s no reason why Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman can’t.

—Playing against no defense, Griffin pulled the ball out on a Pistol fake and took off around the left side. He looked pretty confident running and, no surprise here, the crowd cheered.

—Since Griffin is not participating in the full team drills, the individual and position drills are getting much more scrutiny from the media and the fans.

—Griffin’s knee may be hurting but his arm is in fine shape. He tossed a long rainbow to Devery Henderson, who made a nice grab over his head. The Griffin threw a dart to Pierre Garçon on the sideline.

—Chris Thompson was on the field, good news for him. He looks like he has some zip after breaking a few runs into the open.

—During team drills, Cousins tossed up a wounded duck deep. Bacarri Rambo came up with the interception. It was the kind of pass that certainly should have been picked off but the Redskins haven’t always come down with those.

—They did a lot of punting during special teams drills. Back fielding punts were Richard Crawford, Skye Dawson, Nick Williams, and DeAngelo Hall. Crawford is the clear leader to get the job at this point.

—The Redskins had someone using a handheld camera to film the returners catching the ball. The catch is an underrated aspect of the return as a clean catch can get the returner off to a quicker start. Perhaps they are studying this to try to improve technique.

—Griffin looked sharp in seven on seven drills, completing his first four passes before a drop by Garçon. His arm is a lively as ever.

—Garçon extended nicely to grab a pass over the middle and then put on a burst of speed as he turned upfield. It was just a quick glimpse of why the Redskins were 9-1 with him in the lineup.

—Update: Santana Moss joined the punt returners during the second round of punting practice.

—The second-team offensive line from left to right was Xavier Nixon, Josh LeRibeus, Kevin Matthews, Adam Gettis, and Tony Pashos. I was wondering where Tom Compton was until I saw him lining up with the first team at left tackle for a few series.

—If you come to training camp, it is likely that you will be disappointed by the running game. It just isn’t going to look sharp. That’s because the zone scheme relies on the offensive linemen throwing cut blocks on the backside. They aren’t going to do that to their teammates in practice so the pursuit is going to clog up the running game. The result is an ugly running game in practice.

—The highlight play came on a long bomb to Aldrick Robinson. DeAngelo Hall was right with him until the receiver shoved him away with two hands and made the catch. Hall was not happy but he just jogged back to the line. You have to think that there will be some retaliation coming from Hall at some point. Best served cold, as they they.

—Niles Paul knows that he has to catch the ball if he’s going to get snaps at tight end. He made a couple of lunging grabs towards the end of practice, it appears that he has been practicing.

Quick Links

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

Robert Kelley, Su'a Cravens, Colt McCoy among Redskins who'll have new numbers in 2017

The next time Robert Kelley plows over a helpless linebacker, he'll do it with a new number on his uniform.

The second-year running back is switching from No. 32 to No. 20, according to Redskins.com. And he's not the only returning player who'll take the field in 2017 with a new pair of digits.

Su'a Cravens will no longer be No. 36 for Washington. Instead, he'll change to No. 30. DJ Swearinger will be taking over No. 36 after coming over from the Cardinals, a number that he reportedly purchased from Cravens for $75,000

Then there's Colt McCoy. McCoy has donned No. 16 for the past three seasons, but he's throwing it back to his college days and will now rock No. 12.

MORE REDSKINS: THE ULTIMATE REDSKINS DRAFT PREVIEW

Finally, second-year corner Kendall Fuller only spent one year with No. 38. As he hopes to improve in his sophomore campaign, he'll be doing so with No. 29.

As for the free agents, Terrelle Pryor will be replacing DeSean Jackson in more ways than one when kickoff rolls around. Not only will the ex-Brown have to shine as a top receiver for Kirk Cousins like Jackson did, but he'll also be sporting Jackson's No. 11.

New linebacker Zach Brown, meanwhile, is now No. 56, linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain are Nos. 92 and 97 respectively and Brian Quick will keep No. 83 from his Rams days.

For a complete list of all the changes, click here.

RELATED: IS REUBEN FOSTER WORTH THE RISK?

Quick Links

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

christian_mccaffrey_running_usat.png
USA TODAY Sports Images

How big a need do the Redskins have at running back?

Do the Redskins have a draft need at running back? It depends on who you ask.

Jay Gruden seems to be very happy with incumbent running back Rob Kelley. Here is what he had to say last month about the second-year back, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, last month:

“Oh, man, I love Rob Kelley,” Gruden said. “I thought he played great. You throw a rookie free agent into the fire like that and see him play and compete. Not one time did I feel like it was too big for him. Not once. That’s a hell of a thing to say for a kid out of Tulane who only had a couple of carries his senior year. He came right in, he competes on every play.”

[Related: Full Redskins Seven-Round Mock Draft]

Kelley played in 15 games last year and rushed for 704 yards and scored six touchdowns. He started the last nine games and if you project his numbers in this games out over a 16-game season you get about 1,050 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s not Ezekiel Elliott or Le’Veon Bell production but it’s good for a team that is going to rely mostly on the pass.

Gruden also praised third-down back Chris Thompson and backup Mack Brown. In a telling sign, he acknowledged that 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones is still on the roster but he didn’t have much good to say about him.

Why, then, do you see so many draft analysts listing running back as one of the team’s most urgent needs? Mark Maske, who is the Post’s national NFL writer but also a former Redskins beat reporter, has them taking Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey in his mock draft. “There certainly are issues on defense for the Redskins,” writes Maske. But there also is a need at running back.”

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said that the Redskins “obviously” need a running back as his rationale for mocking Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to Washington at No. 17.

So, what is it? Is Kelley adequate for the Redskins’ needs considering they call pass plays on over 60 percent of their offensive snaps? Would they run more often if they had a back like McCaffrey or Cook? And if they did run more would the offense improve?

I think that running back is like several positions with the Redskins. If they have to get through the 2016 season with what they have they will be OK. But if there is an upgrade on the board when they are on the clock they won’t hesitate to make the pick if he’s the best player available.

We will see what happens if, say, McCaffrey is still on the board when the Redskins pick at No. 17 and top defensive targets like Rueben Foster and Haason Reddick are off the board. That will be the true test to see how committed Gruden and the rest of the organization are to Kelley, Thompson, and company. 

More Redskins: When the talent is there, Bruce Allen has looked past red flags before