In Washington, we havent yet seen what Mike Shanahan would do if he had the chance to run up the score on another team. Most of the 11 wins in his two seasons have been decided either in the final seconds or in overtime. The need for Shanahan to decide if he should sit on the ball or continue to pile up points has not come up.That has not always been the case. He was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers in their 49-24 pasting of the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. During that game, Steve Young threw a Super Bowl record six touchdown passes.But according to Young, Shanahan didnt want him to stop there. During a charity event over the weekend the Hall of Fame quarterback said that Shanahan wanted him to keep throwing for touchdowns after he had reached six.Youngs last touchdown pass, a seven-yarder to Jerry Rice, gave the Niners a 49-18 lead in the fourth quarter. Why might Shanahan have wanted to run up the score? For one thing, a seventh touchdown pass for Young would have tied the mark for most TD passes in any NFL game, regular season or playoffs. That has been accomplished five times but not since Joe Kapp did it for the Vikings in 1969.There also might have been a self-serving reason why Shanahan wanted to have the points soar that day. He wanted to be a head coach again and for all he knew at the time this may have been his last good chance to get a gig. Perhaps he wanted to run up some more points to make it absolutely impossible for the NFL owners looking to hire a new head coach to ignore.As it turns out, the six Young TD passes were plenty. Shanahan was hired by the Broncos a few days after the Super Bowl.
Each day during training camp, Redskins Insider Rich Tandler will pick out a play from practice to break down in some detail. The focus will be on plays that can give us some hints as to what we can look forward to this season.
RICHMOND—For the past year, nearly everything has gone right for Rob Kelley. He was able to get signed to the Redskins as an undrafted free agent, make the roster, be in a position to jump into the starting lineup when the starter faltered, and play well enough to be a lock for the starting job this year. That’s not a bad year.
He came out of the season with plenty of positives but also some things he needs to work on. One of those areas where improvement is needed is catching passes. He caught 12 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. That is not bad considering he didn’t play much in the first half of the season and Chris Thompson usually was in the game in passing situations. Still, he was targeted 18 times and he had four drops. At that drop rate, the quarterback often will look elsewhere even if the player is open.
RELATED: Redskins camp hot topics
If Kelley wants to be a complete player he needs to take advantage of all opportunities to touch the ball. And he did get better catching passes as the year went on. Kelley dropped three passes in his first three games as the starter and then just one more the rest of the year.
In practice on Friday, Kelley made a play that could give quarterback Kirk Cousins plenty of confidence in him. It was a drill early in practice with running backs and tight ends running patterns against linebackers. Cousins was the quarterback in this particular drill. Kelly ran a short pattern out to the right and Cousins’ pass was wide of the mark. But Kelley lunged for the ball and made a nice, one-handed catch while going to the ground.
MORE REDSKINS: Live practice report, Day 2
Kelley has been working on his pass catching but you generally don’t practice one-handed, lunging catches. But maybe he has. Even though Jay Gruden is always talking about how highly he thinks of Kelley, he is smart enough not to take anything for granted.
“My mindset [doesn’t] change. Every year you’ve got to make the team,” he said. “This year they drafted a running back, next year they’re going to draft a running back, the year after that they’ll probably draft a running back. You just have to make sure you come in and do your job and control what you can control.”
Gruden said that Kelley was the fifth-string running back at this time last year. Does he strive to keep that fifth-string mentality?
“Always,” he said with a smile. “It’s very easy to go back down to fifth string.”
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 29, 35 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.
The Redskins last played a game 209 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 43 days.
Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Jonathan Allen press conference after walkthrough, approx. 11:45; Jay Gruden press conference 2:45; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 12
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 21
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 57
Hot topics from Redskins camp
RICHMOND—Some news and notes from around Redskins training camp.
—When talking about what happens in camp I frequently forget to mention that they are not in pads yet. That will start tomorrow. Speaking of the defensive line Jay Gruden said, “We’re in day one, day two, we haven’t even put on pads yet so we're giving everybody the opportunity. That’s what it’s all about.” We still talk about and analyze what happens out there. But the significance of it is diminished until the pads go on. Even then, it’s not as significant as preseason games and those, of course, are exponentially less telling that regular season games. Pads go on tomorrow and the first preseason game is in less than two weeks so we’re getting there.
—Josh Norman really wants to put the Odell Beckham Jr. feud in the past. At least that’s what he said. “It’s been in the past until you brought it up,” he said when asked about it. And it was in the past last year until Beckham brought it up. I don’t get the impression that he hates it because he does seem to get under Beckham’s skin and that’s a competitive advantage for Norman. The thing is, this year there is only a two-day media window between the Saints game on Sunday and the first matchup of the year with the Giants on Thanksgiving Day. It may or may not be a topic.
—The Redskins weren’t the only team that added a tall receiver in the offseason. The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffrey and the Giants brought Brandon Marshall in. Norman says he’d rather cover the big guys. “Tall guys, we’re the same,” said Norman. “It’s just who’s going to go for the ball, who’s going to get the ball. Short guys are quicker. They move in spaces to where you’ve got to touch them, you’ve got reach out. Some things they do, it’s more so of they’re trying to set you up, where those big guys, they’re just going to try to bully you. That’s my game, I enjoy that. Short guys, they [are] crafty”
—I’ll have more on this later but I thought it was interesting that Rob Kelley said that he doesn’t feel much different this year, when he likely going to start at running back and definitely will have a job after the September 2 cuts, than he did last year, when he was fighting just to b on the team. He still must compete. For motivation, he need look no further than the fall from grace experienced by teammate Matt Jones, who went from being the unquestioned starter year ago to being a trade or cut candidate.
—Maurice Harris suffered a strained knee in practice and was seen on the sideline with a wrap around it. Derek Carrier rolled his ankle. Both are day to day (but, then again, aren’t we all?).
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- LIVE Redskins training camp blog, Day 2
- Jay Gruden isn't going to bench Kirk Cousins. Stop asking.
- Norman happy with Redskins' changes in defensive scheme
- Redskins Playbook: Josh Doctson steals the show
- Focus will be on Redskins' tight end depth during Reed's absence
- Doctson going deep could be good news for the Redskins
- Redskins camp hot topics—Mbu first team, Smith dropping pounds