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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 7: Reed impresses again

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Redskins training camp practice report, Day 7: Reed impresses again

RICHMOND—The Redskins did not wear pads. They were coming off of three straight physical practice before their day off and the Texans are coming into town  for what is likely to be a tough three days.

—The defensive coaches want their players to jump on a ball that’s on the ground even when it’s there as the result of an incomplete pass. It certainly can’t hurt and you never know when something might appear to be an incompletion from one defender’s angle but it’s not. Better to jump on it than let it roll on the ground.

—Injured cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (knee) and David Amerson (shoulder) did some rehab work on the side. Breeland had a brace on his injured right knee (sprained MCL) but he is able to walk and put weight on that leg. If he is ready in the lower range of the 4-6 week estimate he could be back in time to get into preseason game No. 4 against the Jaguars. Terrance Knighton missed practice with the flu.

—I think it should officially be his middle name—Jordan “If He Can Stay Healthy” Reed. He put a nice double move on Duke Ihenacho during one-on-one coverage drills. The safety stayed close, though, and Reed had to turn around and make the grab in the end zone. Kirk Cousins’ pass was about the only place it could have been. He has done something impressive almost every day of camp but everyone knows he can play, it's matter of how many games he is able to show up for.

Martrell Spaight had good coverage on Chris Thompson but the back made a good catch and was able to turn upfield.

—The first play in full team drills was Alfred Morris up the middle, just like it is almost every day. I think the defense is detecting the pattern as they stuffed it again today.

—A few snaps later Morris got around the right end and the crowd cheered. However in a live drill Keenan Robinson, who flew over from his inside linebacker spot, would have nail Morris for about a two-yard loss.

—On his first pass during team work, Robert Griffin III had Reed wide open but the pass was too high. Later in the same session he heated up, hitting DeSean Jackson deep down the middle. The receiver found a soft spot in the coverage and Griffin fired the ball to him about 20 yards downfield. All in all it was a so-so day for Griffin, who misfired on several passes.

Jerrell Powe got a lot of snaps at nose tackle. He has the size to be effective (6-2, 331), but he just doesn’t have the quickness or power to be a front-line player. I think he has a shot to make the team if the coaches decide that they would rather have a true nose tackle to spell Knighton rather than using Chris Baker or Kedric Golston.

Ryan Grant caught a medium pass from Colt McCoy and turned up the sideline. It looked like safeties Trenton Robinson and DaMon Cromartie-Smith had a bead on him but Grant found another gear and cruised past them. Speed is not supposed to be a great asset of his but he found some there.

Brandon Scherff looked good in one-on-one drills against Stephen Paea. Once it looked like the defensive end had the slip on him but Scherff recovered and got in front of him. One local analyst, a former NFL player, said that he was satisfied that Scherff will be able to hold his own once the games start.

—Rookie Arie Kouandjio had a similar battle with Ricky Jean-Francois. The veteran lineman initially had an advantage on him but Kouandjio recovered and executed the block. Not everyone has that recovery ability and having it give Kouandjio an edge.

—The same player turned analyst who liked Scherff was not nearly impressed with Trent Murphy. He said that Murphy had great burst at Stanford and you could nhear his initial contact with the blocker on the sideline. Murphy seemed to be much more tentative today.

—Reed made a nice, one-handed catch of a short McCoy pass. It would not have gained much but it was still an impressive athletic feat.

—Reed wasn’t the only tight end who made an athletic catch of a McCoy pass. On one throw Je’Ron Hamm turned around, jumped, and gathered in the pass for a gain of about 15 yards.

—Both in walkthrough and during the main practice the first-team offensive line featured Scherff at right guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle. The coaches say that it is to prepare for injuries down the road. But there is a possibility that it will become permanent so the situation bears watching.

—The crowd of 5,006 almost had something to cheer about a couple of times but Griffin misfired on a deep pass to Pierre Garçon and Rashad Ross couldn’t catch up with a long one from McCoy.

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The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

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Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 23, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 49 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 18
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 27
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

The Redskins by the numbers

5.01—The average yards per carry against the Redskins on first down last year.

I have noted this before but I took a closer look and it’s even worse. In 2016, four running backs—Isaiah Crowell of the Browns, DeAngelo Williams of the Steelers, Jordan Howard of the Bears, and Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys—gained over 100 yards against Washington on first down alone. It took Elliott two games to get there but the other three made it in one. If the Redskins don’t get this fixed (this is the second year in a row they have been last in the league here) their defense won’t get much better.

3.85—The Redskins average offensive gain per carry on first down.

This is not a very good performance here — the average is 20th in the NFL. But it does represent a significant improvement from 2015, when they were last in the NFL at 3.3 yards per carry. One difference was negative plays. Two years ago, they had 63 first-down plays go for no gain or a loss of yards. Last year they had 48 such plays. Rob Kelley, who was fourth-best in the league as a rookie last year at gaining yardage after being contacted behind the line, can claim a lot of credit.

8—The number of opponents’ fumbles the Redskins recovered this year.

A total of 17 other teams recovered more fumbles than the Redskins did last year and their recoveries were exactly half of what they were in 2015, when they had 16, the most in the league. It wasn’t surprising that their recoveries fell. The numbers crunchers say that fumble recoveries aren’t “sticky,” meaning that there tends to be a lot of variance for each team each year. And that makes sense as a lot of recovering fumbles is the bounce of the ball.

But it should be noted that the Redskins forced just 22 fumbles last year after forcing 36 in 2015. You have to get the ball on the ground to recover it and the Redskins could do a better job of forcing fumbles in 2017

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.

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