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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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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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