- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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RICHMOND, Va. -- Even though the Washington Redskins weren't in full pads, giving the practice a feel of an OTA workout, there were still some noteworthy plays Wednesday:
Defensive end Jason Hatcher worked out hard Wednesday, first attacking the sled by punching each pad and then acting as if he had shed a blocker. He also ran sprints about 20 yards, around a cone and back. By the end of running that, Hatcher looked slightly gimpy. It wasn’t pronounced but it did look like there was just a little bit of a gimp. It wasn’t enough, though, to get him to stop. Hatcher later told NBC-Channel 4 that he would return Aug. 8. So it’ll be just a little longer than the six-week mark after his surgery.
Stephen Bowen worked as well, doing one drill in which he rushed upfield, then sprinted to his right as if the quarterback had scrambled that way. He did not hold back a whole lot in this drill.
Tom Compton filled in for right tackle Tyler Polumbus at practice. Polumbus was not at the facility; no word yet on his absence, though it’s believed to be related to personal reasons. It was a good test for Compton, but at best it was an up-and-down performance. Ryan Kerrigan drove him back a couple times, especially by staying low and hitting the edge. Twice during 11-on-11 work, Compton hooked Kerrigan. A third time Kerrigan just beat him wide. Compton fared better when Kerrigan went right at him.
Niles Paul seems to be improved as a blocker, more so with his technique. I saw him do a nice job against Trent Murphy, with proper arm extension, hands inside and a strong base. Paul won this individual battle. Later in the day, Paul beat linebacker Adam Hayward for a long touchdown pass. He just got behind Hayward in a blitz situation and that was that.
Saw a nice block by second-year tight end Jordan Reed against linebacker Brian Orakpo. Reed kept his hands inside and used his feet to help clear an opening. I’ll have more on this Thursday, but Reed said he feels more comfortable blocking in this system than running routes. It’s a comfort level; with the run game being the same, Reed said he knows his assignments there better.
The Redskins used some cover zero looks Wednesday, sometimes rushing all but three and other times sending only four. Against one such look, quarterback Robert Griffin III tried to hit Reed between the corner and safety down the left side. But it was just long. Safety Ryan Clark, in a single-high look, was coming over in a hurry and was near Reed.
Ryan Grant not only runs good routes, but he maintains his separation by how he comes back to the ball. Saw that a couple times Wednesday, including once against rookie corner Bashaud Breeland leading to a completion from Kirk Cousins. Grant did it another time catching a pass from Griffin while coming back to the ball against corner Peyton Thompson. Another time he came back maybe a yard or so against Richard Crawford for a catch. Makes a difference. Grant isn’t necessarily burning the top corners but you can see a lot of why the coaches like him.
Griffin connected with DeSean Jackson on a deep ball down the right side, with Jackson making a leaping catch over corner Bryan Shepherd. Later, Jackson started to pull away from corner DeAngelo Hall down the right side, but Griffin’s pass had too much air under it and Hall was able to intercept the pass.
Earlier in the day, Hall played a fade from Griffin to Jackson perfectly, staying even with the receiver and boxing him out for the deflection.
Nose tackle Barry Cofield didn’t have his best day rushing in the one-on-ones. Looked like he tried to round off his rush too much against guard Shawn Lauvao, who countered with a good base and footwork to ride him out. On his next attempt against Lauvao, Cofield, using a swim move, again was a bit rounded. I almost wonder if he wasn’t bent a little too much at the waist and cost himself some power.
When Orakpo has had success against Trent Williams it’s when he makes it seem like he’s going to go wide, but then burrows right into him and kicks back to the inside. Williams typically does a good job on Orakpo when he tries to rush wide.
Morgan Moses has improved since the spring, as he should. But he’ll still get upright. I saw it against linebacker Rob Jackson in the one-on-ones. As soon as Jackson turned the corner, Moses started getting too upright.
Some good punts Wednesday. Pretty much every punt I saw had 4.5 seconds of hang time or better. I saw eight punts, too – four by both Robert Malone and Blake Clingan. Malone had two punts that lasted 5.3 and 5.0 seconds, respectively.
Griffin’s throws were a little bit off Wednesday. He had some moments, but mostly there were opportunities that just missed (usually high).
Yes, there was a Robinson sighting, catching a deep ball from Cousins. He then slammed the ball over the goal post. That would be a penalty in a game. Robinson has had a quiet camp. He needs to make a little noise.
2hEric D. Williams