ASHBURN,Va - The Redskins held their final open practice of training camp Monday morning, with a decent sized crowd showing their support for the team in practice for the last time this season.
Here are some quick hits from practice:
- The defense did a different drill to start practice. Jim Haslett had the unit work on stripping the ball from quarterbacks by attaching a velcro-laced football to a dummy, and had them attempting a strip sack on it. He made sure to stress to his group that stripping the ball and recovering it afterward is key. It was interesting to see how he made each level of the defense work on it, from the defensive line to the linebackers to the defensive backs.
- One of my favorite drills to watch is the running back's going up against the linebackers in blitz pickup drills. It's a mano-a-mano drill, and you get to see which backs know how to block in isolation. Of the group, Evan Royster and Tim Hightower probably had the best morning. They were both able to stone the likes of Ryan Kerrigan, Lorenzo Alexander and Rocky McIntosh consistently. Roy Helu, on the other hand, still has work to do in this department. He gets pushed back to consistently, and running back coach Bobby Turner got on him after he saw one whiff he didn't like. Turner yelled at Helu "hit him in the mouth!", asking him to be more physical. Helu was never the biggest pass protector at the collegiate level, and it's something he'll have to learn in the pro game.
- John Beck worked mostly with the second team during 11-on-11's , and it wasn't exactly his best session. Several of his passes were overthrown deep, or inaccurate underneath. His best throw came towards the end of practice, where he found tight end Logan Paulsen on a long pass that had plenty of zip on it. Other than that, it was an underwhelming day for Beck. Sure, this was just his second full day back from his groin injury, but he's going to have to show he's worthy of starting Friday's preseason game against the Colts.
- Grossman didn't exactly light it up either. He started the 11-on-11 session by throwing two interceptions, one to Kerrigan and another on an overthrown slant pattern, which Josh Wilson got a hold of.
- Niles Paul keeps showing up. All the guy does is make impressive catch after impressive catch. Today he had a nice diving reception on an underthrown ball along the right sideline, all while being well covered. Just another example of why he could eventually crack the final 53 man roster.
- Another receiver who's already a lock on the 53 man roster is Leonard Hankerson, who really had a solid practice. After having a tough outing Friday night, Hankerson rebounded well with a couple of nifty catches. His first was on an intermediate route where the ball was thrown a little behind him. He had to turn back and use his long arms to reel in the pass, one that would have resulted in a first down. His next impressive catch was on a ball thrown up high, but using every inch of his long frame, he reached way upstairs to make the grab nd came down cleanly. But probably the best news for those worried about Hankerson is the fact that he didn't drop any balls today. That's obviously been a big deal when talking about Hankerson.
- And what's practice without a story about the field goal kicker? Graham Gano didn't have his best day, but he made the money kick when it counted (if you ever considered a kick in practice a "money kick"). With the entire team huddled up around him screaming, chanting and doing whatever else necessary to distract him, Gano drilled a kick dead center to end practice. No pressure, indeed.
Tuesday will be the final day of training camp, with the practice being closed to the public.
Players not practicing on Monday: London Fletcher (groin), Ryan Torain (hand), Chris Cooley (knee), Laron Landry (achilles), Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring), Malcolm Kelly (foot)