- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 12, 2017

RICHMOND — The Redskins had their first practice following the team’s preseason loss in Baltimore Saturday, skipping a morning walkthrough but holding an afternoon session.

With several players injured, Washington’s depth was tested, even in practice. With just one regular day and a short walkthrough day left before the team returns to Ashburn, here’s what we learned on Day 12 of Redskins training camp.

Injury bug still buzzing around

Safety Su’a Cravens watched practice in street clothes after hurting his knee Thursday night. The issue with Cravens’ knee was just some swelling, coach Jay Gruden said, and Cravens is day-to-day. The Redskins will “see how it does in the next couple days, see if it can get the swelling out of there and see if he can practice,” Gruden said.

Cravens had an MRI Friday which revealed no structural damage to his knee. Doctors may take a second look once the swelling goes down, however.

Safety Deshazor Everett filled in for Cravens Saturday. It was a fairly light practice, but Everett looked solid and was around the ball, as he usually is. He did get his ankles broken (badly) by Ryan Grant who reeled in a touchdown catch on a deep ball. Grant had a handful of nice catches during practice. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Gruden also said that linebacker Ryan Anderson had a stinger and described Lynden Trail as “banged up.” With Trent Murphy officially on injured reserve, Preston Smith expected out for another week-plus with a sprained ankle and Junior Galette set to miss “six or seven days” with a hamstring injury, according to Gruden, the linebacking corps was depleted. 

Chris Carter got a good bit of work. He’s one player on the roster bubble who could start to distinguish himself more with more opportunities.

Two draft picks, cornerback Fabian Moreau and safety Montae Nicholson participated in one-on-one and team drills for the first time all training camp. The two players avoided the physically unable to participate list at the start of training camp, but had been limited until Saturday. 

Jordan Reed progressing

Redskins tight end Jordan Reed got some “special orthotics” to try out for the next couple days, according to Gruden. Reed was out on a separate practice field Saturday afternoon doing some conditioning work.

He was wearing big black cleats, presumably with the orthotics inserted, and running more than he has during previous practices where he’s been seen doing work on his own. 

“He’s going to try these out for a couple of days and we’ll take a look at him probably after the Green Bay game, hopefully,” Gruden said. 

The Redskins host the Packers a week from Saturday, so Reed could potentially return to practice in nine or 10 days, at the earliest. As has been said multiple times of the tight end’s situation, there’s no point in rushing it.

Still waiting on that wake-up call

The preseason flop in Baltimore was described as a wake-up call, but the Redskins still looked a bit sleepy Saturday. Some of the shakiness from the first preseason game carried over into practice. 

Gruden was miffed on a couple occasions, barking after a bad snap by center Spencer Long and again toward the end of practice. Both quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and, particularly, Colt McCoy made some odd throws. Cornerbacks had opportunities for picks, but no one came down with any.

Preseason results do not matter at all. The Jaguars beat the Patriots the same night the Redskins lost to the Ravens, which should tell you all you need to know about whether wins in August translate to wins in September and beyond. Results, however, are different from the product on the field.

The Redskins were far from polished Thursday. They weren’t able to have joint practices this training camp. The last two weeks, generally speaking, have had a relaxed vibe and players have been given ample rest.

Those aren’t all bad things and there’s a particularly strong argument to be made for rest to avoid injuries. The Redskins, however, have started 2-1 for the last three seasons. Their 2017 schedule begins with a division game at home (Eagles) and one of the easiest games on the schedule (at Rams). If they don’t want to put themselves in another early hole, they’ll need to find more crispness in practice and preseason competition before the games start to count. 

It’s a balancing act, but the results from the last three seasons indicate that the balance has fallen too far to one side. 

Roster moves: The Redskins signed wide receiver Jamari Staples and waived offensive lineman Kevin Bowen with an injury designation. Linebacker Trent Murphy, who tore his ACL and MCL against Baltimore, was officially placed on injured reserve.

Extra point: It’s unsurprising given how the first preseason game went, but Kirk Cousins will definitely be playing against the Packers next Saturday. “Kirk will play,” Gruden said. 

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