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Redskins training camp report, Day 3: First day in pads

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Redskins training camp report, Day 3: First day in pads

RICHMOND—The weather was a winner again today as practice was held under partly cloudy skies with temperatures that climbed through the 70’s as practice went on. Here are my observations:

—They were permitted to wear pads for the first time and most of the players were in shoulder pads, helmets, and shorts. The one exception was Ryan Clark, who wore football pants.

—They did special teams drills first, as they have been. Yesterday I asked Gruden why they did it that way. “A lot of teams have special teams in practice,” he said. “It just kind of disrupts the flow. Coach [Ben] Kotwica wanted to get the special teams done first – a big 15-minute period done first where they are focused in on it, they’re fresh, everybody’s involved in it and it’s worked out very well so far.”

—As you would expect, there was more contact with the pads on. The blocking on the kickoff return drills was almost live (although it was 2 blocking 2, not full team) and there was some hard contact made with the returner, though there was no tackling to the groud.

—Special teams assistant Bradford Banta was giving detailed instruction on forcing the opposing kickoff coverage team to commit to going one way and then setting up to run the other way. There was a lot of technical talk of spacing and moving the wedge.

—No changes on the second- or third-team offensive lines. Morgan Moses is still at left tackle and Tom Compton is on the right side.

—I don’t know how RB Silas Redd can make the roster; the numbers game at the position works against the undrafted free agent. But if he makes more runs like the nice one he popped up the middle during 11 on 11 work the coaches will have a tough decision to make.

—The play of the day was Robert Griffin III running a bootleg to the right and launching a deep pass to DeSean Jackson. It should be noted that undrafted free agent cornerback Courtney Bridget had the coverage.

—The defense made amends a few snaps later when they reacted quickly to a bubble screen to Jackson. A mass of bodies in burgundy shirts (the color the defense wears) corralled Jackson out of bounds.

—The play of the day on defense came from Chris Baker. Griffin handed off to Pierre Garçon on an end around. Baker shot into the backfield and got Garçon for what would have been about an eight-yard loss. That drew a very enthusiastic response.

—There were quite a few snaps with the first-team offense going against the second- and third-team defense. Mike Shanahan’s philosophy was to run the 1’s against the 1’s almost exclusively. Gruden doesn’t do it that way. "You’ve got to test them, see if they're any good,” he said yesterday. “You have got to put them in with the ones, you have got to put them in with the twos. You have got to mix and match, mix and mingle these guys. You can't just put them in threes against threes all the time because then you don’t know how good they really are.”

—DeAngelo Hall made a pretty easy pick-six of a Griffin pass that was intended for Jackson in the flat. Hall just sat on the route, jumped in, and made the pick. He rolled near the end zone and when Darrel Young approached him he flipped the ball over to Ryan Kerrigan, who stepped in for the TD.

—It was starting to get quite warm towards the end of practice and some sort of scuffle started to seem inevitable. It finally happened when Tom Compton and Darryl Sharpton got into it a little bit. No major punches were thrown and order was restored quickly.

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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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

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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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