Redskins OTA Observations
by Chris Russell
May 29, 2014 -- 7:10pm

The Redskins wrapped up week number one of organized team activities here at Redskins Park on Thursday. The players are off until Monday.

Today was the first time we were allowed to see the team practice as a whole with the full 90-man roster.

Some observations, keeping in mind that it is very difficult to see everything at one time, without the benefit of replay and while tweeting some hot interest items, so I may have missed some things.

***Robert Griffin III was a bit inaccurate at times with ball placement, throwing one low and away that Darrel Young had to scoop up (and did) in early drills. He also missed a swing route but not every throw is going to be perfect.

Griffin dialed up a long bomb over the shoulder and head of DeSean Jackson for what would have been a home run in stride. Great throw and catch. He also threw a long completion to Pierre Garcon on a play action boot to his left in which he hit Garcon over rookie Bashaud Breeland. The throw was just slightly under thrown so I can't say it was perfectly in stride, but it was good enough for a long completion.

I saw Griffin III running boots to his left with more fluidity than he has in the past, even pre-injury. Maybe I saw the wrong thing, but I noticed it a few times. It was something that is unnatural for a right handed throwing quarterback. Griffin also threw a seed on a scramble to his right to a waiting Pierre Garcon. Garcon made the catch, with perfect footwork before falling out-of-bounds, but more importantly, Griffin was shuttling to his right under some pressure and hit his target with pin-point accuracy.

Not a perfect day, but it was good to see a few nice throws and some of the different things I was looking for.  John Keim of and ESPN 980 wrote more in detail about Griffin's mechanics.

***Colt McCoy struggled with accuracy as well, and threw an interception to Phillip Thomas. Kirk Cousins threw an interception to Chase Minnifield.

***DeSean Jackson came down with a minor pull of his left hamstring. He didn't think it was serious, and neither did Jay Gruden but anytime somebody comes up lame, you have to have cause for concern.

As Gruden wisely said when I asked him about the injury and the short-term prognosis, "He’s no good to us unless he’s running very fast." I wouldn't count on Jackson being pushed too hard next week if at all. You want timing and cohesion, but you don't want something minor to become major.

Jackson caught the long pass from Griffin III but on one particular pass, he reached up and was able to knock a pass down with his out-stretched hand but was not able to catch it. That's where his lack of height can be a factor.

***Keenan Robinson was calling all of the plays and running with the starting unit on defense. We have said multiple times, including on ESPN 980's the "Sports Fix" on Wednesday, that if Robinson stays healthy (a big if) he will be a starter at one inside spot. The bigger question would be if Perry Riley holds off the competition from Darryl Sharpton and Akeem Jordan.

“Mentally he’s in good shape. [Inside Linebackers] Coach [Kirk] Olivadotti has done a great job with him getting him up to speed," Gruden said. "Physically, he looks excellent to me. He’s running, he’s long and he can run sideline to sideline in pass coverage. He’s disruptive. He gets into zones and is a big guy to throw over. He can cover tight ends, he can cover backs. We have high hopes for Keenan and we love the progress he’s making."  

Gruden and the coaches continue to pour praise in on Robinson and that started the first day of mini-camp in late April when Jim Haslett told me the same thing.

***I saw David Amerson with some good press/jam coverage on Pierre Garcon and once more. He also lined up against DeSean Jackson on the first play of 11-on-11 with off-man coverage. Amerson can take a huge jump this year as the Redskins will be much more aggressive at the line of scrimmage.

**Mentioned Phillip Thomas' interception, it was a diving grab towards the sideline that he was able to hold on for. Minnifield, who has an uphill battle especially if the Redskins take five safeties on the Week 1 roster, had a nice leaping interception and on the play before, dropped an potential pick. Nice recovery.

**I thought Alfred Morris looked very fluid, comfortable and better in catching the ball. I started to notice a shift with that late last year, and he showed his skills to a national audience at the Pro Bowl. This would be huge, because check downs, swing routes and screens are the best way to defeat a pass rush. Not only on third down, but on first and second.

***You can see the blazing speed of Chris Thompson today as he has fully recovered from a long list of severe injuries. You don't know if he can stay healthy, but if he can, watch out. He caught a wheel route today up the sideline and just exploded up the field. Lache Seastrunk has a long way to go. Jay Gruden liked Thompson last year in Cinncinati, so don't be surprised if Seastrunk winds up on the practice squad and Thompson is a explosive part of the rotation at RB and returner.

***Which brings us to this...Andre Roberts, Seastrunk, Nick Williams, Thompson and Rashad Ross all returned kicks today. Nobody really stood out but clearly this team is deeper at that troubled area from last year. I did not see Niles Paul with any return work, so it looks like that experiment might be over.

**Earlier in practice, the Redskins worked a drill that I don't remember seeing with a punt returner simulating his return with the ball already in hands and having two gunners or attacking defenders shooting down the middle of the field. Alfred Morris was even involved in this drill for some reason. I did not see Santana Moss in this drill.

***At times, I saw a four-man rush (Bowen-Hatcher-Kerrigan-Orakpo) from the starting unit with all rushers having their hands down. This was in nickel, with Chris Neild (starting at nose tackle for Barry Cofield-hernia) removed. I saw packages with Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, Jason Hatcher and rookie Trent Murphy on the field rushing the quarterback at the same time.

***Ryan Kerrigan had his way with Kory Lichtensteiger on one particular pass rush that resulted in a practice sack. I saw Brandon Jenkins run around Tyler Polumbus once, but later Jenkins got stoned by Polumbus.

***Looked to me like Polumbus and Morgan Moses were playing really high today. I don't know if that was by design or by mistake, but they had good success the few times I watched.

**Raheem Morris signaled out 6'3" CB Courtney Bridget one time after a pass breakup.

***Rotations and who is playing with who can be difficult at this time of the year. At times, I saw Josh LeRibeus playing with the 2nd unit, and one series, he played with the 3rd unit at left guard. I saw Adam Gettis playing with the 2nd unit at both left and right guard. Mike McGlynn was the 2nd unit center. Morgan Moses was the 2nd unit right tackle, with Maurice Hurt with the 3rd team on the right side.

**Nick Williams had a really nice catch past a rookie corner named Blake Sailors. About that, Williams has a very long uphill climb to make this team. He doesn't excel in any one area.

***Leonard Hankerson, as I wrote last week, along with Stephen Bowen are very likeley to wind up on the pre-season PUP list, and I could see Cofield and possibly even Tracy Porter and Richard Crawford there as well.

Every indication is that the Redskins have no need to rush Hankerson (Jay Gruden confirmed that today) and he didn't exactly offer any praise or really any detail on how Aldrick Robinson fits in. Again, they should try and get something for Robinson but do it  now. Not at the end when rosters get cut down.

Chris Russell - -

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