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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 1

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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first full training camp practice with warm temperatures and high humidity. The CBA prohibits practicing in pads until the players have had three days to get acclimated so they wore just helmets and shorts today.

—Special teams drills were up first. Tress Way is unchallenged as the team’s punter and he showed why with several booming kicks.

—During a defensive line drill, Terrance Knighton took a moment to pose for a picture with a fan who was permitted to be on the sidelines. I’m not sure if that says anything good about his focus during practice. We’ll see if it’s more than a one-time thing.

—The defensive line practiced knocking the ball out of the carrier’s arm. Robb Akey was emphasizing doing it before the runner knows you're there. Have never seen that emphasis.

#Redskins DL practicing punching ball out. Coach emphasizing knocking the back out before carrier knows he is there.

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on Jul 30, 2015 at 12:29pm PDT


—After that the linemen went to hit the two-man sled. These drills required for the sled to stay in one place. To do this they needed two large men and several cinder blocks on the back end of the sled.

—In the first session of 11 on 11 drills Colt McCoy had two nice passes for touchdowns. One was to fullback Jordan Campbell, who beat LB Martrell Spaight. The other was to TE Je’Ron Hamm, who beat S Kyshoen Jarrett. Both throws covered about 30 yards and were thrown with touch and accuracy.

—On Robert Griffin’s first pass he dropped back, hesitated a half beat, and threw sidearm and off target. There still is work to do.

—Even through undrafted rookie RB Trey Williams is listed at 5-7, 195 he doesn’t look small on the field. He finished off one run with a nice stiff arm. I’m not sure if there is room for him on this roster but he’s worth keeping an eye on.

—We nearly had our first scuffle of camp. Jordan Reed didn’t like how DeAngelo Hall bumped into him after a reception. They exchanged words but teammates intervened before the altercation got physical.

—Griffin did warm up as practice went on, firing some nice passes. He hit Jamison Crowder downfield with a bullet.

—They went back to special teams and with one group rookie DL Preston Smith was lined up as the second man in from the right end. At 6-5, 270 he would be scary to see running downfield towards a potential blocker. I will keep an eye on this when preseason games start.

—Even the fifth overall pick in the draft is subject to discipline. Brandon Scherff jumped early on one play and ran a lap around the field to do penance. That was interesting but I’ll be really impressed if I see Trent Williams do it.

—Kirk Cousins did not have a good day. In seven on seven drills he was tipping off his passes, looking straight at his primary receiver before the snap. A few of us in the media were calling out who the ball was going to before the snap and we were right way more often than not. Later in full team drills, he threw an interception to Jarrett over the middle. There was no indication why he threw the pass where he did.

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Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

Jay Gruden disappointed by firing of Scot McCloughan, yet optimistic for 2017

It's never easy to say goodbye to a well-liked coworker, especially when that employee has been fired. In the NFL, that's no different. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden opened up about the departure of former GM Scot McCloughan while speaking with reporters at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix.

"I was disappointed. I liked Scot. I liked working with Scot. He’s a good person, and a great talent evaluator," Gruden said.

The highly publicized demise of McCloughan as Redskins general manager made plenty of headlines, but as far the organization goes, Gruden believes the team is still in good shape.

"Any time you lose somebody that you become close with, whether it’s a coach or a GM or a player it's disappointing but at the end of the day in pro football, anybody that’s been around it long enough understands, change is going to happen and you have to react and adjust to it and move forward with a positive outlook," Gruden said.

Part of that positive outlook stems from moves the team has made this offseason.

Offensively the franchise brought in a big new weapon in receiver Terrelle Pryor. Paired with 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson, assuming he's healthy, the Redskins could have two dynamic pass catchers to offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. On the defensive line, Gruden thinks new players Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee can emerge as solid players with high upside. Further, Gruden made clear he thinks new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula will make the players on the 'Skins roster into better defensive linemen.

For many fans it's hard to remain optimistic after the controversy that surrounded McCloughan's ouster, but on the field, there's little reason to expect the 'Skins to slide.

In 2016, the team finished one game out of a playoff berth, losing a disappointing final game to the Giants to seal that fate. In 2017, Gruden expects to be right back in the playoff hunt.

"I think everybody in this organization has a positive outlook," Gruden said. "We are going to miss Scot, obviously, but we’re also positive that we can get things we need to get done to be successful."

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

Peter King, Ian Rapoport say Redskins can't afford to let Kirk Cousins get away

After he signed the franchise tag a couple of weeks ago, the speculation, rumors and, for some fans, panic around Kirk Cousins has largely quieted down.

The Redskins can ink their quarterback to a long-term deal any time between now and July 15, but talks may not pick up until summer rolls around. A trade can also occur, but no recent reports have indicated that one is in the works.

Therefore, it currently looks like Cousins and the franchise that drafted him back in 2012 will be together for at least one more season. And according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, that's a wise choice by the Burgundy and Gold.

"I think they did the absolute right thing in making sure Kirk Cousins is gonna be their quarterback this year," King told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay at the NFL owner's meetings in Phoenix. "I absolutely, unequivocally would not trade him. That's a white flag." 

As for why King wouldn't move on from No. 8, his explanation was very simple.

"You don't get rid of a guy who's got the second-most passing yards in football over the last two years," he said.

MORE REDSKINS: WILL JAY GRUDEN'S ROLE IN DECISION-MAKING EXPAND THIS YEAR?

Finlay also gathered input on the Redskins' and Cousins' relationship from the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who's another major voice in the league's media. Rapoport first stated that he would be "beyond stunned" if the 28-year-old was not in D.C. for the 2017 campaign and then laid out how he envisions the year unfolding.

"I do not believe he will sign the extension before the season," he said. "So, he's going to go out there, play on another one-year deal, bet on himself like he did last year. You hope it's the same thing. And then we'll see, because I know there's some talk about him not signing an extension — I'm not so sure about that. Everyone has a price, right?"

"If they offer him $25 [million] a year, Andrew Luck's deal, I would imagine plans would change pretty quickly, right?" Rapoport continued. "So you get to the end of the season, assess where you are, assess the value and see if you can make a business deal. It's terrible to have to pay so much money to your quarterback. The only worse thing is not being able to pay so much money to your quarterback." 

King and Rapoport are clearly both in agreement that losing their rising signal caller would be a huge blow to the Redskins. But while King says Washington should keep Cousins because of his production, Rapoport took a different route when concluding how the negotiations will end up.

"Really good quarterbacks never leave their team. It just never happens," he said. "So I would think there's a way to work this out."

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