First let’s start with the guy everyone wants to know about, quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin got off to a rough start on the first day of practice, mainly due to rain and sloppy conditions, which isn’t really an excuse because football games are sometime played in less than ideal circumstances. But it was only day one of camp, so no need to panic and make a big deal out of it.
Reports are that Griffin has improved each day and has looked impressive throwing receivers open, looking off a safety on one deep throw and getting through his progressions quicker. It also seems that his accuracy is getting close to it’s 2012 form as well. All great signs for the Redskins, and what you would expect from a quarterback entering his third season.
Griffin’s weapons have looked solid as well. He has established a connection with Andre Roberts over the offseason and mini camp, and it’s showing in practice. DeSean Jackson and Griffin are working on establishing a chemistry of their own after Griffin overthrew him on one deep ball, and under threw him on another. But don’t worry, they have connected on the deep ball a couple of times too.
One lesser known wideout I keep hearing good things about is rookie Ryan Grant. He can run outstanding routes for such a young player, and he catches the ball smoothly. He has a great fluidity to his game, and I’m excited to see what he can do in the preseason. He’s coming for one of those roster spots!
On the defensive side of the ball David Amerson is receiving all types of praise for his improvement over the off season. He’s a more confident player now due to the fact that he understands the scheme and what’s expected of him. And the fact that he’s locking up with Pierre Garcon and Jackson everyday can’t hurt either. Look for Amerson to establish himself as a top up-and-coming corner in the league this year.
“I’ve definitely [seen a difference] with Amerson,” said coach Gruden. “Amerson is playing with a lot of confidence, a lot of swag about him and that’s very important. I mention that about DeAngelo Hall… how you’ve got to have confidence and a little bit of swagger about you. You can see him starting to mature in only his second year. I really like where he is going. Raheem [Morris] is doing a great job with him and his confidence is just getting more and more. He is long, he can run, he has got great ball skills. I really think he has got a chance to be one of the top corners in the NFL for a long time if he keeps going on the pace that he is going.”
Another guy in the secondary that seems to be mentioned everyday is corner Chase Minnifield. He’s been good in coverage but has dropped a couple of interceptions. He’s a fan favorite and has managed to stick around after injuries early in his career. Minnifield will look to impress and earn a spot on the roster during the preseason.
Fellow often injured young player Chris Thompson has looked sharp so far too. He’s looking fast, quick and more confident out there. Coach Gruden and Griffin say they envision Thompson as that third down back/Darren Sproles type of player. He’ll have to fight with Roy Helu Jr, Lache Seastrunk,and Silas Redd for that position. I’m assuming that Evan Royster is outta here.
The Redskins may have been the first team to cut a player during camp this training camp season when they released second year linebacker Brandon Jenkins Sunday afternoon. According to reports, he has struggled on the field, lacking effort and made a few mental mistakes. The Skins also like Adrian Robinson, the guy that was behind Thompson. He looks quick around the edge and very fluid turning the corner on the offensive tackle; I’ll be watching out for him the next couple of weeks.
Gruden is setting the tone early that you need to be improving as a player and giving the maximum effort in order to make this team. I like it!
Another thing I like about camp so far is the physicality that Gruden wants. The players have been in pads for a couple days now, and will go full pads Monday. Something that was rarely done under Mike Shanahan.
“I don’t know, I just like the competition,” Gruden said regarding padded practices. “I think it’s very important for the defense to give the offense the best look possible and vice versa. We can’t do that if we are just muddling around playing buddy football. So it’s very important to look at our players, our scheme, in order to look at your scheme and players and coach it up properly, we have got to have people playing at full speed with good pad level. Fundamentals in football come with good pad level, and if you don’t have a good pad level, then you’re not teaching good fundamentals. If you have good pad level, then it’s going to be physical, and that’s the way it is. Low man wins – we know that. If you have competition, and you have good pad level, then it’s going to be physical.
“We will taper off, like I said, if it becomes too physical. We got to try to control it sometimes. We had tempers flare a little bit today, which will happen from time to time. But very important for the line of scrimmage, and it’s my belief that the line of scrimmage both offensively and defensively is the most important phase in football. You protect your quarterback, you can open up running lanes, if you get after the quarterback and can stop the run, you’re going to win more times than you lose. That’s a fact.”
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