The Redskins shortened their mandatory mini-camp to two on field practice days. Players had to report on Monday for physicals and pictures. Before breaking officially until late July, players had to attend meetings this morning and attend a family event at Redskins Park in Ashburn.
That's it until July 25th at least. Redskins Park will be mostly vacant of activities until after the Pittsburgh Steelers preseason game on August 19th. Players go on vacation, as do the coaches. Most of the staff takes a break, and the building continues to get a construction facelift.
Now for what you may have missed. I was not able to attend Tuesday's practice, because of our ESPN 980 "True Heroes" charity golf tournament to benefit the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, a terrific cause that greatly benefits and funds programs to improve the lives of the men and woman that put their lives on the line to defend our freedom.
Wednesday's final practice was anything but epic, but certainly individuals stood out for positive and negative reasons. The Redskins made moves on and off the field as well, adding three new players in veteran receivers Donte' Stallworth and Devery Henderson, along with kickoff and presumably long range field goal specialist, John Potter.
In corresponding moves, the team waived DE Doug Worthington and TE Deangelo Peterson with injured designations. ESPN 980 has learned that Worthington is having surgery today to repair the biceps injury and will be put on injured reserved once he clears waivers.
The loss is a concerning blow to the defensive line group, which we will expand on a bit more later, along with exclusive comments from Adam Carriker.
As for the final practice, before the show gets started for real in Richmond.
**The defensive backs flashed in some spots and were tested/exposed in others. First the good according my notes that I took (clearly it is impossible to see everything). Rookie David Amerson who has played mostly on the right side, had a ranging interception in the deep middle of the field on a throw from Rex Grossman. Defensive Backs coach Raheem Morris was yelling "Score, score, score" to Amerson who weaved his way in between tacklers on a return. EJ Biggers also had a leaping breakup of a pass.
It was anything but a banner day for the group the rest of the day. Morris had to pull 2nd year CB Richard Crawford aside one time, yelling "Come on 20" before privately instructing him on his mistake. Kirk Cousins dialed up a long strike to Leonard Hankerson who beat coverage from a combination of Crawford and Amerson. Crawford was beat on an acrobatic catch by young wide receiver Lance Lewis at the goal line. Another play saw Kirk Cousins out of the pistol formation, freeze a defensive back (did not get a number) with a pump fake and hook up with a streaking Niles Paul for a practice touchdown. Even Pat White got in on the toast party, as he connected with Lance Lewis out of the pistol with a modified zone read keeper which beat Crawford. DeAngelo Hall was beat on a red zone quick slant for Santana Moss, who dropped an easy touchdown.
A couple of times we saw the young defensive backs out of position and lacking enough recognition skills to properly recover. Safe to say that Bacarri Rambo, Phillip Thomas, David Amerson and Richard Crawford all have a lot of work to do. The Redskins best hope is that Hall, Biggers and Josh Wilson can play in Week 1 and play better than they did last year with an improved pass rush.
***The Redskins defensive line had a couple of deflections in the practice session. Barry Cofield had a big year in 2011 with this skill and Jarvis Jenkins each had batted balls. Jenkins' deflection popped up in the air for an interception to Darryl Tapp. A couple of weeks ago Jenkins had a batted ball that he caught for an interception. Safe to say if the defensive line can create a few turnovers for a team that was already good in that area it will go a very long way.
***Rex Grossman continues to throw interceptions in every practice session that we've been able to see but he also makes plenty of big plays, like dialing up Josh Morgan on a deep throw down the near sidelines (from where I was) which perfectly landed over Morgan's shoulders beating a chasing Amerson and Crawford. Pat White had some ups but a bunch of downs. He's high way too often as he overthrew Donte' Stallworth on one pass for an incompletion. Raheem Morris even joked that a younger Stallworth would have been able to leap for it. White also threw a very high completion to Jawan Jamison on a middle screen. White also threw a rainbow, high arcing incompletion. It's been a constant theme. For as many picks as Rex throws, I will take him any day of the week.
***The Redskins worked on some hurry-up down and distance situations on Wednesday. After converting a fourth down completion in the middle of the field to young receiver Nick Williams, Trent Williams raced on the field only to realize that he was not supposed to be there for the next set of downs. Needless to say the defensive group on the far sidelines enjoyed themselves at No. 71's expense.
A few other offensive line notes after a conversation with OL Coach Chris Foerster. It is a completely open battle to who would be a replacement in the regular season for Williams if he were to get hurt. He has in each of his first three years, missing two games in each of his first two seasons and most of the Bengals loss in Week 3 of 2012. In my conversation with him, he clearly believes that Tom Compton has the most potential but had the longest road to grow out of the three offensive lineman the Skins took in the '12 draft.
Foerster is much more confident that Adam Gettis and Compton will be able to contribute this year, because they just were not ready to handle the NFL last season. Foerster mentioned that because Tyler Polumbus has played some games at left tackle, he would be an option. If Polumbus is the starting right tackle, that would create a domino effect at both tackle positions. Clearly that plan would benefit Tony Pashos or Jeremy Trueblood (maybe both?) in their mission to make the 53-man roster.
As we touched on above, with Worthington done for the year and Adam Carriker's health clearly in question, the Redskins suddenly have question about defensive line depth. Carriker appeared on ESPN 980 last night with me http://www.stationcaster.com/player_skinned.php?s=65&c=542&f=1521501 (Hour # 2, 6-12-13) and discussed the road back from multiple surgeries since blowing out his quad tendon in Week 2 last year.
Jarvis Jenkins and Stephen Bowen are the clear starters entering training camp but who will back them up? We know one answer is Kedric Golston, who was re-signed to a three year deal. The other backup would come from a group of Chris Baker, Ron Brace, Dominique Hamilton, Chigbo Anunoby or veteran Phillip Merling. It's likely only six lineman will be on the initial 53-man roster and with Bowen, Jenkins, Golston and Cofield appearing to be locks, that would leave only two spots that are open.