Here are a few observations from Thursday’s organized team activity. Please keep in mind there were no pads, no tackling and we talkin’ ’bout practice:
Unlike last Monday, I noticed QB Robert Griffin III more for the throws he missed. In other words, he looked like a rookie. That’s fine. It’s May, and he is a rookie.
With the Redskins working 11-on-11 from the 10-yard line, rookie ILB Keenan Robinson got both hands on a pass to the left near the goal line. Robinson should have intercepted it. It appeared as though Griffin didn’t see him undercut the intended receiver until it was too late.
Griffin later bounced a throw in the left flat to TE Logan Paulsen. I didn’t see his mechanical breakdown as I was watching the play, but Griffin spoke to OC Kyle Shanahan immediately after. Near the end of practice, RG3 stepped up in the pocket as it formed around him but overthrew WR Santana Moss on a deep post.
Griffin was OK on some quick, shorter throws. Twice he hit RB Roy Helu in stride out of the backfield for 10-yard touchdowns. He also connected with TE Fred Davis on an intermediate throw over the middle for what would have been a nice gain. His best throw might have been one to the back left pylon to WR Santana Moss, who got behind CBs Josh Wilson and Cedric Griffin for a touchdown. RG3 had perfect touch on that throw to the flag.
After practice, Griffin discussed the difference in his comfort level between throwing from the pocket and throwing on the perimeter.
“I feel like I have a good feel for both,” Griffin said. “Of course, being an athletic quarterback, I can throw on run, so people can see that and think I’m more comfortable doing that. But I like throwing in the pocket. I like playing quarterback. I don’t like being a running back.
“I think whenever you get outside the pocket, you have less options. You want to stay in the pocket. In the keeper game you have less options than in dropback. But with the keeper game, defenses also have to respect the run, so it can simplify the reads. But if they cover everything, you’re on your own. In dropback, if you do happen to escape the pocket, a lot of times your reads are all thrown off just because of the field distribution. So you have to end up doing something miraculous.”
QB Rex Grossman threw two 40-yard touchdowns during 11-on-11. WR Brandon Banks outran CB Josh Wilson on a go route down the right sideline, and there was no help over the top. That was an easy pitch and catch for a touchdown. Perhaps the coverage was blown or perhaps the Redskins were working on something specific, but I don’t believe Banks would ever see single coverage on the outside like that. It doesn’t take a defensive genius to realize how Banks could exploit a defense on the outside. Back to Grossman, though. He stood tall in the pocket against the rush, and his throw hit Banks perfectly in stride at the 5-yard line.
Grossman later hit TE Niles Paul down the seam for a long score. ILB Lorenzo Alexander was chasing the play. That’s the type of matchup the Redskins want to exploit with Paul.
If Rex threw any interceptions, I didn’t see them. A “Good Rex” day, I suppose.
SS Madieu Williams broke up a pass at the goal line. Williams drove on TE Niles Paul as Paul came out of his break. QB Robert Griffin III’s pass was slightly high and behind Paul, and Williams was there to defend it.
Again, we have to wait until hitting begins to get an accurate look at the safeties, but CB DeAngelo Hall is impressed so far by FS Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather ran step for step with Paul on an out route on one play during team drills, forcing RG3 to look elsewhere.
“Meriweather has probably gotten his hands on more balls in the first couple OTAs than I done seen in a long time,” Hall said. “He’s definitely around that ball, and he prides himself on getting the ball. At the same time, he’s not soft. He still wants to get in there and hit you, knock your head off. You know he gets all those fines, so he definitely is a head-hunter, too, out there.”
Keep an eye out for a story on RT Jammal Brown in tomorrow’s paper. He discussed in detail on Thursday the yoga classes he took earlier this offseason and the ongoing process of healing his left hip. He still isn’t completely smooth and fluid when he moves, but Brown and coach Mike Shanahan insist his base and knee-bend are better. We’ll know more once the pads come out in July.
New defensive backs coach Raheem Morris has a long way to go to unseat special teams coach Danny Smith as the most entertaining assistant, but he’s on his way to challenging for the title. Morris likes to talk – loudly. He trash-talked WR Santana Moss for several plays during 11-on-11 drills.
“Put the little midget in the huddle!” Morris yelled. Funny stuff. Moss earlier caught a touchdown in the back of the end zone against CBs Josh Wilson and Cedric Griffin.
“I love it, just his energy,” CB DeAngelo Hall said. “I was telling Bruce [Allen, general manager] earlier, I ain’t the loudest one on the defense anymore. Raheem probably is.
“Raheem is just a guy who keeps the party going in that secondary. We’re fun and games, but at the same time, when it’s time to get going, he ain’t afraid to tell you shut up and let’s get it done. So I love having him in the room.”
We learned last season that ILB Perry Riley excels coming downhill but struggles at times in coverage. Two plays on Thursday reinforced that. Riley read a QB keeper by Robert Griffin III during team drills and closed on him in the open field near the right sideline so quickly that Griffin had to get rid of the ball before he wanted to. But during team drills from the 10-yard line, Riley didn’t get to his left in time to prevent RB Roy Helu from catching a quick pass over the middle and scoring.
OLB Chris Wilson beat TE Logan Paulsen off the left edge in team drills for what would have been a sack if contact were allowed. Wilson’s hands were too fast at the point of attack, and he smoothly got around Paulsen to the outside. Wilson’s strong suit always has been his pass rushing ability. Coverage responsibilities should determine whether he sticks.
…That’s it for now. The next OTA open to media is Thursday, June 7.