Robert Griffin III was the most accurate deep thrower in major college football last year. He completed 50.9 percent of his passes that traveled 25-plus yards. And rarely did he throw it up for grabs; his touchdown to interception ration on those deep throws was 20-1.The deep accuracy was one of the reasons why the Redskins gave up a lot to move up in the draft to secure his services. Their longest pass play last year covered just 51 yards, the shortest longest pass play of any NFL team. They had to try to put together sustained drives to score and that got them ranked 26th in the NFL in scoring with 288 points (18 pointsgame).Its great if Griffin can throw the ball a long way with accuracy but who is going to be on the other end of those RG3 spirals? Here is a look at some of the wide receivers who should be working on their go routes during OTAs.--Pierre Garon did have an 87-yard touchdown reception against the Bucs last year but that was on a Curtis Painter throw that was about 17 yards downfield. From the 13, he made the catch at about the 30, got past a defender who had a bad angle on him, and was gone. We probably wont see a lot of Garon going deep downfield. Garon and Griffin will hook up on some big plays this year but most of them are likely to be the result of the receiver picking up yards after the catch, not a deep pass.--Santana Moss may have lost a step or maybe even two but getting open deep is not all about pure speed. He has the smarts to break free downfield a couple of times a game, especially if Garon and Leonard Hankerson can draw the attention of the defense on a consistent basis.--Griffin could save Anthony Armstrongs career. As a 27-year-old rookie in 2010, he had a good rapport with Donovan McNabb and he averaged 19.8 yards on his 44 receptions. Last year, he and Grossman did not click on the field and the receivers production plummeted to just seven catches. If Armstrong can develop some deep ball chemistry with RG3 he could have an important role on the team. If he cant, he will be very much on the bubble when it comes to making the roster.--The Redskins dont quite know what they have in 2011 sixth-round pick Aldrick Robinson but they sure want to find out. They know hes fast and that hes willing to work and they hope they can turn those traits into productivity on the field. It could end up being Robinson vs. Armstrong for the final receiver roster spot. If Robinson makes it, look for him to be one of the surprise stories of 2012.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.
There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.
Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.
Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.
“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”
That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.
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Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.
“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”
We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.
RICHMOND - Everything seemed cool at the Bon Secours training facility when Jay Gruden left the podium on Wednesday, but that quickly changed when the Redskins released their Physically Unable to Perform list a few hours later. Jordan Reed landing on the PUP list was an unexpected bomber, a big deal even if the star tight end returns to the field quickly.
On Thursday, the Redskins will take to the field for their first day of training camp. There will be plenty of questions:
- When and why? Reed on the PUP list for the first day of camp does not mean Redskins fans should panic, but it also doesn't mean there isn't reason for alarm. Reed has a distinct injury history and it seems the team is being smart trying to handle an injury rather than let it linger. The Washington offense is at its best with Reed on the field. Jay Gruden will be asked about Reed a lot in his Thursday press conference; perhaps their will be some clarity.
- D-Line questions - Rookie Jonathan Allen should immediately help the 'Skins up front defensively, but beyond that, there are no sure things in the trenches. The Redskins added Stacy McGee from the Raiders and Terrell McClain from the Cowboys in free agency, and both are expected to have a significant role right away. Those guys have had productive flashes in their past, but injuries have been an issue. The Redskins need them to be good, and healthy, right away.
- Time to shine - Josh Doctson hardly had a rookie season as he dealt with Achilles injuries. He played just two games in 2016. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon gone, the Redskins need last year's first-round draft pick to produce in 2017. A strong training camp, develping chemistry with Kirk Cousins, could help calm fears about the revamped 'Skins offense.
Stay with CSN all day for updates from the Redskins first training camp practice of the 2017 season. Football is finally here.
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