ASHBURN,Va - Another day, another practice. This morning's session, which wrapped up a few hours ago, saw the players practice in shells once again.
Practice wasn't as lively this morning as it was yesterday afternoon after all the newly signed free agents were allowed to practice, but there were still some interesting things that came out of this morning's session:
Injuries ruled the day: Malcolm Kelly was out with a foot injury. Chris Cooley was out with a knee injury. Ryan Kerrigan was still limited with a bone bruise in his knee. Laron Landry spoke about his achilles tendon. Today's practice seemed more about the guys who weren't participating than those who were on the field. Injuries are apart of any camp, but this team is having injury issues with some players they believe will be key cogs for them in 2011. The first preseason game is now just a week away, and there may be some key names on that inactive list come next Friday.
The best and worst of Tim Hightower: Newly acquired running back Tim Hightower showed immediately why the Redskins may not miss Ryan Torain much. On the opening play of 11-on-11 drills he was able to take one to the house after bouncing an inside run to the outside. Hightower runs extremely hard, so hard that it makes you wonder if the only reason he's been able to look good in practice is because he's going full speed and everyone else isn't. They are just in shells, after all. But what's clear is that Hightower is someone who runs with good balance and doesn't look like someone who is easily tripped and he doesn't look easy to tackle. That's a major plus for what this team had a year ago.
However one of the knocks on Hightower coming in was that he was a bit of a fumbler, and that reared it's ugly head this morning. I'm not sure I had seen any running back fumble the ball much thus far this training camp, and Hightower still managed to do so after practicing just one day. If Hightower can work on ball security and pass protection, he easily has a place on this roster.
Niles Paul making receiver battle interesting: It's still early. but the Redskins' fifth round pick Niles Paul is consistently getting open in 11-on-11's and is making the tough catches look routine. He's been especially adept at reeling in catches thrown high and behind him. One of the knocks on Paul was his freakishly small arms and hands, which seem to be disproportionate to the rest of his big body. But despite those limitations, Paul has been able to stand out so far as the most impressive rookie wide receiver. If he can keep this up, the coaching staff will have a very difficult decision come cut day.