Washington Redskins

Quick Links

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

redskins-line-stretch-camp-2015.png

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.

Quick Links

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Defensive line

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Defensive line

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Stacy McGee, Phil Taylor
Other roster locks: Terrell McClain, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier
On the bubble: Matt Ioannidis, A.J. Francis, Joey Mbu

How the defensive line compares:

To the 2016 Redskins: The addition of Allen is a boost but the losses of Chris Baker (free agent) and Ricky Jean Francois (released) can’t be overlooked. Second-year players Lanier and Ioannidis should improve and Hood will be a rotational player instead of a starter, a role better suited to his ability. Andi new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will get the most out of them. The key to improvement will be McClain and McGee. If the two free agents live up to their contracts the line should be better than it was last year. If not, they will struggle again. Slightly better

To the rest of the NFL: But let’s not mistake an improved Redskins D-line for one of the better units in the league. While it’s tough to compare a 3-4 line to a 4-3 front, it still would be quite a leap for the Redskins to move from the bottom of the pack to the lower middle. Tomsula inherited a multi-year rebuild; one draft pick and a couple of free agents are not going to transform the line into a force. Bottom third

RELATED: 2017 OUTLOOK: WIDE RECEIVER

2017 outlook

Biggest upside: Since I used his name in conjunction with that of Dave Butz above, that has to be Allen. He has both the physical ability and the mental makeup to be a very, very good one.

Most to prove: Nearly every player on the line has something to prove but only Phil Taylor has been out of football for the last two years. He has worked his way up from a brief retirement to a futures contract with the Redskins to a roster long shot to a probable starter. But he still only has 21 preseason snaps under his belt and he has a long way to go before he reestablishes himself as a legitimate NFL player.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: The only rookie with a realistic shot at making the roster is Allen. His Nick Saban-Alabama background has him well prepared to handle the scrutiny that comes with being a top draft pick and the expectations that come with playing in a place like Washington.

Bottom line: The best-case scenario here is that Taylor anchors the line in the middle, Allen’s learning curve is short, Lanier contributes six sacks in a nickel role, and the rest of the players make up a good rotation. Anything more would be a big bonus. Anything less would be back to being one of the worst defenses against the run.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Phil Taylor:

Well, I’ll tell you, I was in Cincinnati for three years when he was at Cleveland and I know what a force he can be at nose. He was tough to deal with, he really was. We had him for a workout, and I didn’t even know he was on the streets. His knee looked better. He was in good shape. He had a whole offseason and did some good things. I think his body is finally back to where he feels really good. He’s moving around, he’s active, he’s strong, so I like where he is right now. He’s just got to continue to maintain it.

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.

Quick Links

Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

roullier_stretching_ap.png
Associated Press

Long's injury gives Redskins' backup center Roullier an opportunity

Let’s be clear here.

The Redskins’ loss of center Spencer Long for two weeks due to a knee injury is not a good development.

Long is going into his second year as the starter and he still has a lot to learn. Although he should be back for the games that count, he could have benefitted from the 30 or so snaps he would have taken against the Bengals in the team’s third preseason game this Sunday.

Also, the Redskins’ offensive line has struggled this preseason, especially when blocking for the run.

Another half with the full starting unit playing together would have helped them work on those problems. The third preseason game is supposed to be a dress rehearsal and it’s tough to have one of those if you don’t have all your lead actors.

RELATED: COULD REDSKINS PURSUE RETIRED JETS' CENTER?

However, in the NFL one’s player’s bad fortune can be an opportunity for another. Chase Roullier was a sixth-round pick of the Redskins. With Kory Lichtensteiger retired and John Sullivan departed to Rams, Roullier became the backup center by default. While many expected the Redskins to make a move for a veteran backup center, they have kept Roullier running with the second-team offense through OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the first two preseason games.

He was a bit shaky against the Ravens in the first preseason game but he was solid against the Packers on Saturday. It should be noted that Roullier will be facing the Bengals’ defensive starters on Saturday, not backups and players whose names will soon appear on the waiver wire as he was in the first two games.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

The competition that Roullier will face, however, is one of the upsides here. If the Redskins need their backup center during the season, their opponent is not going to pull its starter and line up a reserve player against him. He will be facing starters. The Redskins organization should have a pretty good idea of what they have in Roullier after a half against the Bengals’ front-line players.

Again, it would be better if Long was there for the line to work on its game. But the Redskins will have a chance to make the best of a bad situation by finding out if they are set at backup center or if they will need to pull the trigger on finding a veteran option.

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.