- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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RICHMOND, Va. --A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Washington Redskins training camp:
Receiver Pierre Garcon did not practice because of a sore hamstring. Garcon missed time last week because of the injury and slipped several times on the wet turf Monday. Also, safety Ryan Clark tweaked a hamstring that could keep him out of Thursday’s preseason opener against the Patriots. Safety Phillip Thomas also is dealing with a sore hamstring. Meanwhile, Jason Hatcher was in full uniform, save for shoulder pads, when working on a side field. There’s a good chance he’ll return to practice by Monday, though he would not play in the second preseason game. However, the Redskins do want him to play in at least one preseason game, likely the third.
It’s still uncertain how much the Redskins’ starters will play against the Patriots Thursday. Coach Jay Gruden said he’d like the starters to play 8 to 10 snaps Thursday, but that could change depending on the situation. If the offense goes three-and-out twice then Gruden could opt for a third series.
Big plays have hurt the Redskins’ defense in the past, which is why linebacker Brian Orakpo was disappointed to see a few occur Tuesday. It’s always difficult in practice settings to know if a play would have continued -- or if the quarterback would have been sacked. Sometimes big plays occur in these scenarios. But Orakpo said, “We made mistakes with the big plays. Big plays once again struck us. We have to eliminate those. It’s been killing us for years.”
Gruden, like anyone else at practice, was impressed with Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady. The longtime quarterback operated with precision, getting rid of the balls in a hurry and making decisive throws. “He was fun to watch,” Gruden said. “He’s very quick with his balls, and his communication is on point. Our defense did a great job with their communication in team drills. In the red zone we had our issues. You can see personnel-wise we’re right there. We have to make sure we shore up our coaching and have guys in the right spot. [But Brady] is fun to watch. Poetry in motion; Hall of Famer; best of all-time.”
Brady and Bill Belichick are entering their 15th year together; Gruden and Robert Griffin III are starting their first. You can see the difference in how the two offenses operate: New England’s precision with Washington’s inconsistency. “They had 15 years to evolve that offense and they continue to build upon that,” Griffin said. “I look forward to evolving and growing with Coach Jay and the guys in this offense. We want to continue to grow. That’s what they’ve been able to do in New England. That’s what you look for.”
The Redskins and Patriots will conduct their third practice at 8:35 a.m. Wednesday.