ASHBURN, Va - Another hot and humid day here at Redskins Park, where the team resumed practice after getting the day off yesterday. This morning's practice was a bit more lively than Friday's and Saturday's, probably because the team wore shells for the first time, which led to more physical play.
Here are some of the things that stood out to me during this morning's session:
John Beck was better, but still not great: Beck didn't have the greatest day on Saturday, overthrowing several receivers on bootlegs, with his balls coming out quite wobbly. But today, I thought he had a better practice. He had plenty of zip on the passes he threw on intermediate routes, and on the longer throws he was able to use great touch to hit receivers in stride going down the sidelines.
There was still some struggles, though. He was accurate for the most part, but sometimes he got the ball out late, forcing receivers to wait on the ball and be led right into a defensive back ready to take their heads off. Secondly, during 7-on-7's Beck threw back to back interceptions to DeAngelo Hall, who jumped routes on Fred Davis and Leonard Hankerson. Overall, a decent day for Beck, who is looking to be more comfortable with the system each passing day.
Rookie receivers showing some spark: Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul had impressive mornings, showing flashes of the ability the team hopes will make their receiving corps much better than last year's. Firstly, their frames alone stand out among the rest of the receivers, not only from a height perspective, but from a bulk perspective too.
Hankerson had several impressive catches in the morning session, with his most impressive being a one handed grab on a pass that was well behind him, being able to reel it in without breaking stride. Paul was able to make some nice catches on intermediate crossing routes over the middle. What was also impressive about Paul is his blocking ability. He seems to relish the chance to make key blocks on running plays, and that'll easily earn him points with the coaching staff if he can continue excel there in addition to his special teams work.
Receiver coach Keenan McCardell talked after practice about the rookie receivers development, Hankerson in particular:
"[What stands out is] his length, his hands, his ability to catch the ball." McCardell said. "He's a good route runner and that's why I want him to understand 'You're a good route runner, show it'...Once [the rookies] get the system, they can let their natural talent show. In a couple days, everybody's going to be flying."
Another free agent spectator is on the sidelines: The past few days have seen a bizarre trend of newly signed free agents unable to practice, but still being able to watch along the sidelines. You can now add Jamaal Brown to that list of players. Brown re-signed with the team yesterday for a reported five year, $27.5 million dollars with a little over $8 million of it being guaranteed. After practice he seemed to be excited about coming back to play for Mike Shanahan.
"I just believe in Coach Shanahan" Brown said. "He's putting the chemistry together to make a Super Bowl run and I just want to be apart of it."
Health was a concern for Brown last year, so I asked him how he's feeling now that he's had an entire offseason to further heal his hip.
"I'm feeling good health wise," he said. "I'm taking care of myself during the offseason, seeing trainers back in Oklahoma keeping my hip right, so I just look forward to get back to playing."