Some notes, quotes and observations from the second day of the Redskins’ players-only minicamp:
>>This full-length story examines Trent Williams’ continued absences. Thirty-one players attended Wednesday’s practice, so a lot of guys are missing besides Williams. Is he being unfairly singled out? I guess that depends on who you ask. But when you consider several factors—Williams’ elite draft pedigree, the importance of the left tackle position, the work ethic questions that have dogged him and his thin NFL resume—it seems to me that some of his teammates’ respect is at stake here.
A veteran such as LaRon Landry who is coming off an Achilles’ tendon injury can more easily get away with missing these workouts because he’s a veteran who has played well for long stretches. Williams has more to prove. And for those worried about the injury risk at the workouts, some players have attended and not participated. The camaraderie builds just by being present, and that’s one of the most important elements of these workouts.
And not that Williams’ starting job is in jeopardy, but you know that coaches are keeping tabs on attendance. As Bruce Allen said earlier this offseason, they monitor everything.
Bottom line: Williams could avoid further backlash by showing up in shape and prepared to take a step forward after an uneven first year.
>>You know who doesn’t mind Williams’ absences? Selvish Capers.
Capers, a seventh round pick last year, spent all of last season on the practice squad. In these workouts, though, he gets every snap at left tackle. “It’s good to be out here getting the reps, especially against [Brian] Orakpo and Rob Jackson, even [Ryan] Kerrigan.”
It’s an interesting point. Even if contact is minimized, Capers still benefits from lining up opposite Orakpo, feeling his pass rush and discussing blocks.
The biggest benefit for Capers, though, is refreshing his memory about the playbook. He already senses improvement with a year behind him.
“As soon as they call a play I got it,” Capers said. “Last year I’m kind of thinking pre-snap of what do I have to do and what’s my assignment. Now it’s second nature.”
Capers played OK at times last training camp, but the negative moments outweighed the positives. His feet often were too slow, and there were awareness issues typical of a rookie. He should be more consistent this year with a better understanding of the offense. He said he’s not monitoring Jammal Brown’s status closely, but he should be. It’s going to affect his chances for playing time.
>>The Redskins on Tuesday reviewed film of the first practice, and their efforts were rewarded.
“After having two weeks of not watching it and then watching it for the first time yesterday, it’s nice to go back and spend an hour and see how you’re running and what you’re routes look like,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “There were adjustments I was able to make today just watching some subtle things instead of just coming out and running.”
Quarterback John Beck explained the benefits using the example of a high pass that tight end Logan Paulsen dropped Wednesday. They’ll watch the tape Wednesday evening to see how well Paulsen got out of his break. If the break was good, Beck would know to take something off that throw. If Paulsen’s break was poor and Beck’s throw was on the money, Paulsen would know to make the adjustment.
Beck’s friend filmed part of today’s practice from a riser in the center of the field. They’re taking this quite seriously.
The film review party was scheduled for Cooley’s house tonight. When a reporter asked what he could bring, Cooley deadpanned: “Macaroni salad.” Mmmm, macaroni salad.
>>Just when I started to think how good Rex Grossman looked today, he misfired on a few consecutive throws. He was almost picked off by safety Anderson Russell on a pass over the middle intended for Brandon Banks. He followed that with a throw off his back foot into the flat that linebacker Brian Orakpo almost picked off. Then I checked the date on my cell phone and it read June 15. So yeah.
Grossman often looks good in 7-on-7 work. His spirals are tight and he’s fairly accurate. Like many other quarterbacks, though, his problems surface against a live pass rush. Decisions are rushed and mechanics are tested in those situations. It’s just another reminder to withhold all judgment until games begin.
>>Former Redskins cornerback Justin Tryon joined practice today. He sported blue Indianapolis Colts shorts and got a proper ribbing from his former teammates when he showed up.
“I’m out here having fun with the guys,” Tryon said. “That’s it.”
Receiver Anthony Armstrong beat Tryon for a touchdown on a fly down the left sideline. “Where you at, Try?!?!?” one defender yelled.
>>Another light moment: Armstrong split wide right near where the media were assembled on the sideline. When he saw rookie defensive back DeJon Gomes line up across from him, he turned and acknowledged the group of video cameras rolling. He got off the line and dusted Gomes, but John Beck checked down. Armstrong playfully barked all the way back to the huddle. He was WIDE open.
>>London Fletcher, one of the main organizer’s of these workouts, showed up late for the second straight day. The team was already on the field when he emerged from the parking lot, and all the players slow-clapped as he made his way to the field. Very funny. This camaraderie stuff is legit.
>>Wideout Leonard Hankerson’s length is a real asset. John Beck threw a comeback route over his head, and he reached up and snagged it without breaking stride. That’s going to make things easier on a pair of quarterbacks who aren’t the most refined. Hankerson is 6-foot-2, but it looks like he plays even longer. Match that with his ability to stretch the field, and he should play quite a bit as a rookie. The keys for him will be route precision, not dropping passes and simply learning the playbook.
>>Beck’s low point was a short pass over the middle that he threw directly to London Fletcher. What’s worse is that Fletcher almost picked Beck off on a similar pass just a few minutes earlier. The ball was too hot, though, and it hit Fletcher square in the face. That’s not something guys have to worry about when they’re wearing helmets. Fletcher was stunned but fine.
>>Highlight of the day: I approached offensive lineman Will Montgomery for an interview about 10 minutes after players came off the field. Kedric Golston and Lorenzo Alexander had arranged for some Chipotle burritos and some sandwiches to be brought in for the post-practice meal. I caught Montgomery as he was walking to the parking lot, and he had only a bag of chips and water in his hands. “No burrito?” I asked. “Nah, I already ate a burrito,” he said. “And a sandwich.”
>>Thirty-one players attended Wednesday. Here’s the list:
QB: John Beck, Rex Grossman
RB: Evan Royster, Ryan Torain, Chad Simpson, Keiland Williams
FB: Mike Sellers, Darrel Young
WR: Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson
TE: Chris Cooley, Logan Paulsen
OL: Selvish Capers, Maurice Hurt, Clint Oldenburg, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery
DL: Kedric Golston, Chris Neild
LB: Lorenzo Alexander, London Fletcher, Rob Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo,
CB: Kevin Barnes
S: DeJon Gomes, Chris Horton, Kareem Moore, Anderson Russell