RICHMOND, Va. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Washington Redskins training camp:
The Redskins needed to be a more physical team overall after finishing last in three of the last four years. They need a mindset and an identity, something I don’t think they always had under Mike Shanahan. I’ve seen it under other coaches: Marty Schottenheimer and Joe Gibbs’ teams in particular. They were tough and hard-nosed. To play that way you need players who fit that description. One way to weed them out is to have more physical practices, something the Redskins are doing – especially Monday. Coach Jay Gruden wants a tough-minded team and days like this helps mold that identity.
One of the funny sights occurred because of the physical nature of practice. But it involved two players whose dads went at it back in the day (competing, not fighting): receiver Jerry Rice, Jr. and corner Chase Minnifield. Easy to tell who is Rice’s dad; Minnifield’s father, Frank, played for the Cleveland Browns and against Rice on occasion. Anyway, Rice and Minnifield had a brief scuffle after one play. It was noteworthy because of their last names. Receiver Andre Roberts had a bigger near-fight with corner Peyton Thompson after they engaged on a run play. Roberts’ helmet came off and, yes, he threw a punch. But they were quickly separated. Receiver DeSean Jackson and quarterback Robert Griffin III went and talked to Thompson for a couple seconds afterward.
Receiver Pierre Garcon had soreness in his hamstring and didn’t participate in most of practice. It did not sound serious and he stayed on the field with his pads on and walked fine to the locker room after practice. Undrafted free-agent corner Courtney Bridget injured his right shoulder and Gruden said he will undergo an MRI.
The Redskins will switch rookie Morgan Moses to the right side next week after having him work on the left side. He initially practiced at right tackle in the spring, but was not as comfortable as he was on the left side (he played both spots in college). Moses has to learn how to play lower and use better angles and move his feet. But how he handles the backup role could determine Tom Compton’s fate. He’s been working as the primary backup at right tackle in camp. But if Moses shows he can handle life as the main backup, then Compton would have a harder time making the roster (teams don’t always keep four tackles).
Have I told you lately how much I enjoy watching outside linebackers coach Brian Baker conduct a drill session? He focuses hard on the details and it doesn’t matter if you’re a starter or not; if you mess up you do it again. I’ve seen him praise the no-names and make guys such as Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy do a second rep because the first wasn’t good enough. He chastised both players Monday, first having Murphy do a second rep after not getting low enough after shedding the blocker. He had Kerrigan go a second time on a drill in which Baker wanted him to be “low and tight.” The goal was to turn the corner against one dummy, then touch the bottom of another dummy, simulating a pass-rush angle. Kerrigan did it right the next time.