- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ASHBURN — There is only so much Jay Gruden can glean from his roster as the Washington Redskins progress through the various phases of offseason workouts. Whether it’s time in the gym, watching film in meetings and digesting the playbook or participating in organized team activities, it’s all wildly different from what takes place on game day during the regular season.

That said, Gruden has been impressed with the intensity his team has attacked these laborious tasks, an intensity that carried onto the field as the team resumed OTAs on Wednesday at Redskins Park.

“We’ve had two days of practice, but even when they weren’t practicing, in the weight room, the meeting, very attentive, worked hard,” Gruden said. “The last two days have been spirited. We have a lot to prove still. Guys trying to make the roster No. 1, trying to learn the system, establish themselves to be a consistent team and got some new players, everyone trying to gel together. It’s the very beginning stages of next season, but it’s fun to watch these guys compete and play.”

The Redskins had near-full attendance during the session, which lasted nearly two hours as the temperature climbed into the 90s. The most notable absence was that of wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who opted instead to train on the West Coast for the second consecutive season.

While Jackson’s absence catches attention, Gruden and other Redskins players don’t doubt that the veteran wide receiver will show up in shape and ready to participate when he returns.

“Yeah, you know, he’s been here, popped in, had a cup of coffee, popped out,” Gruden said jokingly. “Last time I looked up the word voluntary, it is his choice. He’s been in the league nine years, knows what type of shape he has to come in. Obviously last year, pulled his hamstring. People will say he was out of shape, he wasn’t really. He’ll be ready to go. Could be next week, could be whenever.”

Jackson missed part of OTAs last season while he was filming portions of his reality show on BET. He tore his left hamstring in the first game of the season against the Miami Dolphins and didn’t return until Week 9 against the New England Patriots. Jackson emerged as a down-field threat when he returned and caught 30 passes for 58 yards and four touchdowns.

“You want him here,” veteran safety DeAngelo Hall said. “But you understand he has things going on, he has a newborn. He lives all the way on the West Coast. We understand D-Jack’s gonna work, though. Same thing with Trent [Williams]. Trent went to Houston, just got back today, and he’s probably in the best shape I’ve seen him since I’ve been here. As long as these guys are working I don’t think we mind too much.

“Obviously you want guys to run, you want that camaraderie, you want to kind of build that team unity, but that’s what training camp’s for.”

Outside linebacker Junior Galette, running back Chris Thompson, tight ends Vernon Davis and Derek Carrier, inside linebacker Perry Riley Jr. and left guard Shawn Lauvao did not participate as they recovered from a variety of surgeries. Gruden said the Redskins will hold out Galette, who tore his Achilles last August, until training camp. Thompson, who had surgery on his labrum in his left shoulder, said he’ll also be back for camp. Riley, who broke his right foot at the end of last season, was in a boot again on Wednesday and will get a second opinion.

First-round draft pick Josh Doctson also tweaked his Achilles and was limited as a precaution. The former TCU wide receiver said the injury first occurred in rookie minicamp two weeks ago. Cornerback Kendall Fuller, the team’s third-round draft pick, was also limited. The former Virginia Tech standout had microfracture surgery and tore his meniscus in his right knee last season.

Wednesday’s session was also the first look at the Redskins’ offensive line. Spencer Long, who started at left guard the majority of last season after Lauvao had left ankle surgery, also took snaps at center as a backup to Kory Lichtensteiger. The Redskins also featured Josh LeRibeus at left guard after he struggled in his emergency transition to center after Lichtensteiger was placed on short-term injured reserve with a nerve injury in his neck and shoulder.

“We just want to get [Long] acclimated for center,” Gruden said. “Kory is doing well the first two days. LeRibeus got his experience last year but we don’t want to run into a situation where we lose somebody and something happens to the next guy we can’t even function. We want to make sure we have players in house that can play the position because you can’t tick without it and Spencer’s doing well.”

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