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Redskins OTA observations: RG3 sharper than last week

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Redskins OTA observations: RG3 sharper than last week

There are my observations from Wednesday’s OTA practice at Redskins Park.

11:15—Brian Baker is teaching the outside linebackers the best route to the quarterback. He has it painted on the grass, an arc that goes from the offensive tackle to the quarterback (as you can see in the picture to the right). There was one dummy set up as the tackle, another back as the QB. In between, Baker was there with some big padded arms. The onrushing linebackers needed to stay in that optimal path to the quarterback while dealing with the dummy and Baker’s attempts to knock them off stride. As one might expect, the player who was the quickest getting there was Brian Orakpo.

11:20—The defensive line is working nearby with Jacob Burney. They are practicing getting to the quarterback quickly and then stripping the ball away. I’ve seen that drill before. What was different was Burney emphasizing the recovery and securing the ball with both arms. “This is a running back,” said Burney, holding the ball as a back would in the open field. “This is how you hold it if you touch it once a year,” he said, this time with both arms wrapped around the ball.

11:50—On the first play of team drills, Robert Griffin III stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep pass that Jackson turned and caught. Now it needs to be said that Griffin probably would have been sacked and the ball hung up in the air for a long time.

A few plays later Adam Hayward was stride for stride with Logan Paulsen going down the middle. The linebacker didn’t see the ball coming but he saw when Paulsen was tracking it in a knocked it away.

The QB on that play was Kirk Cousins. Shortly after that he went down the middle again, this time to Andre Roberts on a crossing pattern. This one was good for a nice gain.

11:55—Chucky is in the house. Jon Gruden is on the sidelines talking to his former GM in Tampa, Bruce Allen, while watching his brother’s team go through OTAs.

12:00—Griffin and the offense got into the no-huddle look. There was lots of movement and pre-snap verbage but not much production. Griffin completed a few short passes and was sacked a couple of times.

12:05—The offense was more productive when they returned to huddling up after players. Jordan Reed got past both Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather and caught Griffin’s pass deep down the middle in stride.

12:10—Here is who lined up to field punts: Andre Roberts, Nick Williams, Rashad Ross, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk, and Santana Moss. Richard Crawford and DeSean were in the group but he didn’t field any punts.

Trent Murphy lined up to the left of the snapper on punt coverage. There’s usually a hole in front of the snapper since the punt return team can’t line anyone up over center due to safety concerns. That could give Murphy an opportunity to sneak down field sometimes and take a straight-line route to the returner.

12:20—An hour and five minutes in we got the play of the day. Griffin zipped a throw to Jackson, who was about 15 yards past the line of scrimmage near the sideline. Rookie Bashaud Breeland was in coverage but he couldn’t quite knock the ball away. Jackson grabbed it and went down the sideline for the touchdown.

12:30—Another long TD pass for Griffin. This one went to Reed who got past both Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather. Overall, a better day for the quarterback than the one he had last week. He was much more accurate and, perhaps, more in synch with his receivers.

Clark doesn’t call the defenses—that job belongs to Mike linebacker Keenan Robinson—but he is a constant stream of chatter mixing in keys and encouragement both before and after the snap.

12:35—Rookie receiver Ryan Grant got a good number of snaps with the first unit, which may or may not mean much of anything here in early June. But he did catch the last long TD pass of the day. He beat rookie free agent corner Blake Sailors and Griffin hit him in stride.

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Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

Jordan Reed one of four Redskins to begin training camp on PUP list

RICHMOND - Jordan Reed will start Redskins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. 

The team's PR informed the media that Reed is experiencing pain and soreness in one of his big toes. The move to PUP was characterized as precautionary and they want to ensure that issues don't linger into the regular season. 

DeAngelo Hall, Houston Bates, and practice squadder Kendal Thompson will join Reed on the PUP list. 

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER

For Reed, an integral part of the Redskins offense, there is a long history of injuries. In 2016, he missed time with a separated shoulder and a concussion.

Before Redskins fans freak out, remember Reed took part in minicamp and looked dominant. The PUP list also allows the Redskins to activate Reed once he's capable of practicing. 

Reed did not take part in voluntary OTAs with the Redskins in May, but was a full participant with the team at June's minicamp. 

Asked about injured players taking part in practice during Wednesday's press conference, head coach Jay Gruden opened up:

I think the injured guys are injured guys. We’re never going to change how we treat them. It’s the trainers’ job to tell us when they can go. I’m not going to keep a guy out of practice just because I think he might be injured. It’s up to the trainers and up to that player to let me know whether they can go or not. But like you said, we do have a luxury of having 88 or 87 healthy bodies where we can practice and function without somebody who is injured. That’s the trainers’ job​.

Expect much more on this development.

UPDATE:

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Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

Expectations won't change for Kirk Cousins, regardless of contract status

RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.

"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."

Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.

Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver. 

"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."

If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved. 

"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."

Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.

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