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Redskins practice report, Day 12: A strong day for Forbath

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Redskins practice report, Day 12: A strong day for Forbath

RICHMOND—The Redskins returned to Richmond and so did the rain. There was some pretty steady rainfall for about the first half of practice but it tapered off for the latter part of the session. Here are my observations.

Robert Griffin III had an up and down day. In fact, it probably was more down than up. His first pass attempt of the day came as he was moving to his right and it was about a three-quarters overhand delivery. Griffin might have had WR Pierre Garçon on the sideline but the pass was off the mark, giving the receiver no chance. A few plays later, Garçon beat CB DeAngelo Hall on a crossing pattern and Griffin’s pass was on the money. For most of the day, he was on the money with his feet set and throwing a short pattern. Later in some simulated game situations he missed his first two, overthrowing Ryan Grant and leading Evan Spencer by too much over the middle. He finally nailed one, a dart to Andre Roberts.

Joe Barry was getting on OLB Preston Smith during a run blocking drill, using salty language not suitable for this site. The rookie was getting moved off of the ball and Barry was trying to get him to use the proper technique to get loose. Smith wasn’t the only front seven defender struggling; despite the fact that the drill strongly favors the defense since they know what’s coming the offensive line did pretty well in the drill.

Colt McCoy worked with the second unit, Kirk Cousins with the third. On defense, the Redskins finally had their starting cornerbacks, Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall, back on the field together.

—Cousins has been pretty good at avoiding interceptions compared to how he performed in training camp last year but he threw a bad one today. He rolled to his left and then threw back to the right. Safety Kyshoen Jarrett tracked the ball from the moment it left the QB’s hand and easily picked it off. A bad decision and bad throw by Cousins, no two ways about it.

—Starting RT Morgan Moses had a tough time with OLB Trent Murphy during one on one pass blocking drills. The two second-year players squared off three times and Murphy won all three matchups. All Moses could muster on the third try was a shove that Murphy easily beat.

—Moses and Preston Smith squared off twice. On the first snap Smith got around Moses, forcing the offensive lineman to reach out and hold. The second time Moses just stonewalled Smith, whose feet kept moving but the rookie wasn’t going anywhere.

—With RB Matt Jones out with a minor knee issue, Chris Thompson got some additional work. He is learning to be a more patient runner, relying on more than just his speed to pick up yardage. Jones did take part in some individual drills.

—There were some apparently minor injuries suffered by two offensive starters. OL Brandon Scherff rolled his ankle on a running play and TE Niles Paul suffered a shoulder injury and left the field with athletic trainer Larry Hess. We will provide updates when they are available.

Kai Forbath has a tough time kicking field goals on Saturday, missing two of five from usually makeable range, so Jay Gruden gave him another shot today. He was much better, going four for four from 34, 36, 43, and 45 yards. A couple of his kicks were no doubters, traveling far over the net that extends to the top of the goal posts and going right down the middle. Ty Long, the other kicker in camp, also boomed some but he went wide left with one from 40 yards.

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.