Ryan Yirka – WVCW Staff Writer
RICHMOND – Day two of training camp took place Friday as the team marched out onto the field for their routine morning practice session. As Trent Williams’ noticeable absence extends, the show must go on without the Pro-Bowler.
The Quarterback carrousel took center stage on the second day of practice as Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum, and Colt McCoy continued to rep it out for the starting gig in Jay Gruden’s offense. The QBs nearly split equal reps in the 11v11 team settings. The sessions are currently light-contact as the players are not wearing pads yeat. Each quarterback showed flashes today. McCoy threw an interception over the middle to Josh Norman during 11v11 that drew the loudest roar from the fans of the day. It’s a tight race as each QB possesses different pros and cons. Haskins’ physical presence under center combined with his arm strength are clearly superior to his teammates. However it is the rookie’s lack of experience that sticks out early on. Keenum and McCoy are both veterans who have a much clearer understanding of the offense right now. This shouldn’t be alarming to fans. Given that Haskins is a rookie, it will take time to develop the ability to command a huddle and understand the ins and outs of the Redskins playbook. Currently, Keenum and McCoy are taking the majority of reps with the ones but it is too early in camp to make any conclusions. Jay Gruden said in his press conference today that the winner of the job will display the most consistency and accuracy in team settings.
The Redskins offense had a subpar day in practice today. The young receiving core has flashed top notch speed and the ability to get open. Gruden said he was impressed with “…their play ability and mental toughness.” Trey Quinn has been proving himself as the starting slot receiver in one on one drills and team sessions. Former 1st round pick Josh Doctson who is in a contract year after the Redskins declined his 5th year option made multiple catches today including a beautiful grab along the sideline where he used his leaping ability to grab the ball over a defensive back. Jordan Reed has been a standout through the first two days of camp. Reed is completely healthy and by the looks of his performance thus far, he could return to being a top five tight end in the league. The running backs led by Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice are being slowed in practice by an offensive line without Trent Williams and center Chase Roullier. Samaje Perine has been getting a good chunk of carries in live action. It is very possible that the Redskins carry four running backs on the active 53 man roster. Gruden expects Tackle Geron Christian to be ready to play this weekend and Roullier to be back next week after both are recovering from surgery.
The defense led by Greg Manusky had a strong showing in 11v11. The pass rush was consistently getting to the quarterback. It is very obvious that Ereck Flowers is struggling with starting at Left Tackle. The defensive linemen are constantly communicating and playing off of one another in pass rush and run defense. On the back end Josh Norman had a nice interception that fired up the secondary. Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau have been taking the bulk of the remaining reps with the starters. Jimmy Moreland had another good day at camp. In one on one drills against the receivers, the former JMU Duke had an excellent pass-breakup on an in-route thrown by Case Keenum. Moreland has been outperforming his status as a 7th round draft pick since his time with the Redskins. When Jay Gruden was asked if he was worried about Moreland’s ability to tackle, he says, “I don’t have any doubt that he can tackle.” We will have to wait until the players strap on pads to find out for sure.
In the wake of Mason Foster being cut, Jon Bostic and Shaun Dion Hamilton have taken over as the starting middle linebackers. Bostic who is familiar with Manusky’s defensive system from his time in Indianapolis, will now be assigned the role of communicating the play calls on defense. First round pick Montez Sweat’s athleticism and measurables pop in person. The 6’6” outside linebacker who ran a ridiculously quick 4.41 second 40-yard-dash is battling for the starting job with Ryan Anderson. Sweat does not currently have the best technique as showcased in positional drills, but his athleticism and size give him an edge.
Trey Quinn and Greg Stroman returned the majority of punts while special teams was on the field. The two of them will likely battle for the starting punt return job. Stroman may struggle to make this roster in his second year with the team but his ability to return kicks could give him the boost needed to make the team.
What i’m watching for:
-After two days its apparent the QB competition is wide open. This thing has a long way to go.
-Fans should also keep in mind that the practices are not full-contact yet. Football is a heavy contact sport and the Redskins coaching staff like a physical style of play on both sides, so take everything with a grain of salt until the pads come on.
-The Left Tackle position is already being addressed. Veteran Donald Penn has been brought in for a workout along with some other free agents. These players are not replacements for Trent Williams but the team needs some insurance in his absence.
-Cutting Mason Foster showed that the Redskins bet on their current situation at Middle Linebacker. As camp goes on we will have to see if this bet pays off. It was a surprising move after the injury of Reuban Foster set the unit back in the spring.
-How does the coaching staff coach this team? Will we see a more aggressive, no-nonsense Jay Gruden or will we see him more laid back. Jay has said this year that if the team misses the playoffs then he probably won’t be the team’s head coach anymore. Will he make it clear his back is against the wall?