Some notes, quotes and observations from the third and final day of the Redskins’ third set of players-only practices:
>>Players are optimistic that their next reunion will be for the start of training camp late next month. They remain hopeful that owners and players can agree on a new collective bargaining agreement and start the season on time. With that in mind, they have not planned another set of informal practices.
“If it gets past your normal report date of training camp, maybe you look at doing something again and possibly even having it to where you just say, ‘Hey guys, we’re going to have it be a full week and run it like two-a-days,’” said defensive captain London Fletcher, the main organizer of the workouts.
In a normal offseason, there’s a dead period between now and the start of training camp during which players get away from the game to recharge before the season. Many players already have vacations planned during the next six weeks, so scheduling more practices between now and then would be difficult.
“If it gets into August, obviously we’ll have to come back,” Fletcher said.
>>All of the Redskins’ rookies have raved about how these workouts have helped them begin to learn the playbook. It also has benefited veteran Pro Bowler London Fletcher, who has served as the defensive coach on the field.
One of the lasting images of these practices is Fletcher directing traffic from his linebacker position while holding sheets of paper.
“Being able to install the defense [at these practices], I can get a greater understanding of everybody else and their responsibilities: corner play, safeties, different things,” he said. “It has expanded my knowledge.”
>>Rookie running back Evan Royster slid to his left to pick up a blitz during team drills today. There was no contact, of course, but it’s a reminder that pass protection will be a major factor in determining his and fellow rookie Roy Helu’s playing time.
Pass protection is one area in which starting running back Ryan Torain is unrefined, so there’s an opportunity for a capable pass-blocking back to cut into his snaps. Second-year back Keiland Williams improved as last season went on, but the competition this season promises to be fierce.
Royster had extensive pass-blocking responsibilities in college, so he’s confident he can do the job in the NFL.
“Every pass play we had an assignment of blocking,” he said. “We were never really in a free release type of situation at Penn State. I think I did a good job in college, but at this level there’s a little bit more of a responsibility back there. It’s just about getting used to it, picking up on things and being able to see them. Once I get the mental aspect of it down, I think I’ll be OK.”
This is going to be the area in which the Redskins miss Clinton Portis the most. He set the standard with his passion for contact violent approach. If either Royster or Helu demonstrates anything similar to that, they’ll be on the proper course.
>>During red-zone work today, receiver Malcolm Kelly (6-foot-4) lined up wide right and rookie Leonard Hankerson (6-2) lined up in the right slot. It made me double take because it’s so unusual for the Redskins to have so much receiver size on one side of the field. You could imagine the possibilities for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
>>Rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on Thursday recorded his first interception of these workouts. Cornerback Kevin Barnes deflected Rex Grossman’s pass, and Kerrigan, who had dropped in coverage, snagged it out of the air. Kerrigan took off down the field once one of his teammates yelled, “Take it all the way!”
>>Quarterback John Beck reported that the practice-film-watching party at tight end Chris Cooley’s house last night was a success. While Beck was there, he made use of Cooley’s pottery equipment and made a little clay bowl.
Beck took a pottery class during his senior year of high school. (Seriously, what can’t he do? He even lined up at left guard for a few plays Thursday because only four linemen attended the workout.)
“I had three pots from a few weeks ago that we fired and glazed last night,” Beck said. “The final product is sitting on [Cooley’s] table waiting for me to get a place to live out here.”
Would Beck try to sell the pots in Cooley’s gallery in Leesburg?
“I don’t think anybody would buy them,” he said with a laugh.
Something tells me that they’d sell. I mean, we’re talking about John Beck originals here.
>>Receiver Malcolm Kelly is taking new measures to try to avoid the injuries that have derailed his career to this point.
“The thing with me has always been, OK, as soon as we’re ready to go, something happens,” Kelly said. “So I’ve been seeing the chiropractor a lot more, making sure my alignment is good, making sure I stretch a whole lot more. I’m about to start yoga classes. I’m just making sure my body is intact.”
>>Twenty-three players attended today’s workout. Former Redskin and current Indianapolis Colt Justin Tryon did, as well.
Numbers were down, so the Redskins had to improvise at times. John Beck played some left guard, as mentioned above. London Fletcher asked a 28-year-old man who was watching the workouts to stand in as a cornerback for a few minutes during the defense’s installation period.
Here’s the full list of attendance:
QB: John Beck, Rex Grossman
RB: Evan Royster
FB: Darrel Young
WR: Leonard Hankerson, Malcolm Kelly, Aldrick Robinson
TE: Chris Cooley, Logan Paulsen
OL: Selvish Capers, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Clint Oldenburg
DL: Kedric Golston, Chris Neild
LB: Lorenzo Alexander, London Fletcher, Ryan Kerrigan
CB: Kevin Barnes
S: Chris Horton, Kareem Moore, Anderson Russell