- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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RICHMOND, Va. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Washington Redskins training camp:
I wrote about Robert Griffin III’s first interception of camp in an earlier post, but coach Jay Gruden cleared up even more on the play. First: It’s a pick in training camp and a learning opportunity. So I’m not trying to go overboard, but to explain. So here’s Gruden’s explanation: The defense disguised its coverage well and ended up in a cover-2 shell with corner DeAngelo Hall on the outside. The first mistake was Griffin leaving his primary target too soon (tight end Jordan Reed). He then threw to DeSean Jackson, who had stopped his route, allowing Hall to jump in for the pick. Gruden said the key for Griffin was “to stick with the No. 1 progression and everything would have been fine.”
Receiver Andre Roberts is off to a good start in camp and it’s not just with Griffin. He’s connected with Kirk Cousins as well. There are aspects of Roberts’ game that we haven’t seen yet that were evident in Arizona -- his ability to make tough, contested catches, for example. But what we’ve seen thus far is a receiver who has good quickness and a strong initial burst. He hooked up with Griffin to beat a blitz early in practice. Later, he caught a ball from Cousins on a deep out. What impressed me on this play was how quickly he came back for the ball as a safety arrived, snatched it and turned it up to the inside. It would have been a long touchdown catch and run. The quarterbacks trust Roberts because he’s a detail-oriented receiver with speed. There’s a strong sense of optimism from those I’ve talked to about him.
Saturday was the first day in pads and defensive tackle Barry Cofield said the players anticipate more contact this summer. It’s not as if they've never collided or popped shoulder pads in the past. Gruden said they’ll stay in full pads as long as the players are holding up physically. They’ll be in full pads Sunday and Monday and then have Tuesday off. But Cofield said, “We’re going to be a bit more physical this year. We’re going to be in full pads more often. It’s a mindset. Maybe putting on the pads every day will instill a little more physicality into the practices.”
Griffin made a little girl’s day Thursday, so she returned Saturday bearing gifts. During the rainy practice Thursday, Griffin ran over to a 9-year-old autistic girl, Chesney Murray, who was crying. He handed her his gloves and her mood changed. On Saturday she returned to practice, sat with Griffin’s parents and met with Griffin afterward, bearing gifts.
Gruden said they’ll install the bulk of their playbook by Monday or Tuesday and then tweak it when necessary. He said they put in 50 to 60 plays Thursday night and another 35-40 Friday, drawing down to 20 Saturday and an anticipated 15 on Sunday. He also said that he wants to install some pass plays out of the backfield for running back Chris Thompson on Sunday. They want to see how he fares in space. Thus far, Thompson looks better than in 2013.