Chris Russell Chris Russell


OTA Observations and Getting Excited for Coaches
by Chris Russell
Jun 11, 2014 -- 11:49pm
Pierre Garcon

Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press

The Redskins wrapped up the media portion of organized team activities on Wednesday. They'll meet for special teams and other various team related work on Thursday before reconvening next week for three mandatory veteran mini-camp sessions that end a week from today.

Here's a running list of what I saw during Wednesday's OTA session.

***We did not see DeAngelo Hall who left after Tuesday's practice to head back to Atlanta for some personal business. Apparently, he had some sort of cut on his chin according to Jay Gruden. I know that Hall was in Ashburn Monday and Tuesday, so this isn't some huge issue.

Barry Cofield did some early individual and unit drills, but nothing in team. Stephen Bowen continues to insist he will be ready for training camp.

Saw Ryan Clark with tight coverage to force an incomplete/partial drop by Jordan Reed.

Perry Riley also had really good coverage on a Reed targeted incompletion. Riley matched up with Reed on the line of scrimmage as the young tight end was split out wide. Riley blanketed him on a sideline out route, but it was an erratic throw.

I also liked Bashaud Breeland locked up on the line of scrimmage vs Jordan Reed split-out wide. Clearly, these routes were an emphasis today, and in the case of Clark, Riley and Breeland - the defense won those battles.

On one play, Jordan Reed got open past Keenan Robinson by a good margin as the Redskins used a initial play-action fake, with a DeSean Jackson reverse fake as well, and the ball was well overthrown.

ILB Akeem Jordan had a nice pass breakup on a bad under throw ball by Colt McCoy. His back was turned so just in right spot at right time.

Another Akeem, as in young safety Akeem Davis (who I like more and more every day) had terrific blanket coverage on a crosser towards the far sideline by Aldrick Robinson. Davis swatted the pass away. Robinson could not out-run him to gain seperation. I really see no way Robinson makes this team. Again, I would try and trade him for anything at this point. He hasn't been able to out-run Davis Wednesday and Breeland last week on a deep route. If he can't do that...then....?

Robinson also slipped out of his stance on one rep and went down fairly hard. He returned.

Looked like Kedric Golston, Chris Neild and Clifton Geathers were the # 2 defensive line unit. Chris Baker was at # 1 nose tackle, with Jenkins and Hatcher at defensive end.

Rookie tight end Ted Bolser had another drop. On a crossing route, right at his waist. He's struggled badly in this area.

DeSean Jackson had several big plays, but on one, he torched Brandon Meriweather badly. Ball was underthrown by Griffin but still complete.

Early in unit & position drills, Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden was shadowing DeSean Jackson who easily ran past him. Gruden's reaction? "S---" !

Jackson had a nice sideline out catch from Robert Griffin III, who enthusiastically clapped his hands and said "Nice catch D-Jack. That a boy."

The Redskins on Wednesday used Jackson on a lot of pre-snap motion and on quick screen/swint type routes.

The best play of the day was a double reverse fake, involving Jackson and I believe Aldrick Robinson. Meanwhile, Ryan Grant was wide open past rookie cornerback Blake Sailors for the long bomb completion. Right before this play, I said to one of my fellow media members that a play against Sailors shouldn't count, but this was way too good to leave out.

Saw Tracy Porter doing some deep ball tracking drills on the back practice fields. Again, should be ready for training camp.

Thought Jason Hatcher would have had a sack on Griffin III as he beat LG Shawn Lauvao. Griffin 'escaped' the situation, and hooked up with Reed who had beaten Clark.

The defense was jumping a few times and was trying to really get off on the ball. Clearly pass rush and aggression is a mantra for Jim Haslett's guys and you will have to live with a few of these. I saw Clifton Geathers and Brian Orakpo jump.

On special teams -  Andre Roberts, Nick Williams, Rashad Ross, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk all caught punts. Seastrunk tracked a ball that was kicked out-of-bounds after a very high hangtime. Seastrunk caught it on the run and ran through the media apologizing for running into our area. That showed me that he is courteous and also able to track a ball and catch a tough punt.

Santana Moss was back on punt returns as well, but I didn't see him catch one. I might have just missed it though. Three individuals stood out in coverage. Niles Paul, Roy Helu and the aforementioned Akeem Davis all timed up their punt coverage with  the timing of the punt reception and were in good position on various reps.

Very early in practice, I saw Helu make a tough, twisting catch along the sideline with no defense going against him. Nothing special, but this team needs to catch everything after the amount of drops last year.

I saw Ryan Kerrigan get the best of Tyler Polumbus on one rush in my eyes, but then Polumbus stoned EJ Biggers on a corner blitz.

When it's all said and done, I would expect Robert Malone to be the Redskins punter. He has shown consistent hang time and pretty good leg so far.

Leonard Hankerson says he hopes to be ready for training camp but in the same answer says he has a few months left before he's ready.

Hankerson was running some individual receiever routes. One a sharp stop/comeback. He looked pretty good. on one post route, he went down to the ground after not making the catch and pounded the field in frustration. He seemed fine when we talked to him afterwards, but I'd be stunned if you Hankerson anytime soon.

***I just love some of the coaching techniques that Jay Gruden's staff are using the last few weeks we have been allowed out to watch practice. Time and time again, I see something I have not seen in my five years covering the team. Running backs coach Randy Jordan and outside linebackers coach Brian Baker are particularly involved in these drills. Special Teams Coordinator Ben Kotwica has some different drills than I don't remember seeing as well. I like it. I like it a lot.

Running backs used a medicine ball on Wednesday, after playing shuttle catch low to the ground with a regulation football. Both designed to improve their hands and coordination. The running back screen game should be a huge part of the offense.

I've seen Brian Orakpo punching boxing mitts as we detailed last week to improve hand punch, placement and tackle attack.

Kotwica isn't doing anything super special, but just some different ball stripping drills, coverage drills and different methods. Kotwica is big on practicing sideline coverage of punt returns. Good, I like it.

Chris Russell -

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