- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Line of scrimmage: When the teams worked on pass-rush drills the first two days, my subjective charting had Washington with the edge on both lines. There has been a lot of positive buzz about the Patriots in this setting, and the team has practiced well overall, but the line of scrimmage is one area that perhaps has been a bit overlooked. Still anxious to see more and how all the pieces fit as the competition at center and right guard evolves, and if the Patriots can generate a bit more pass rush than we have seen here.
Young receivers in focus: One Washington player who has flashed that I didn't know much about entering the joint practices is rookie receiver Ryan Grant, a fifth-round draft choice out of Tulane. He's 6-foot, 193 pounds and has made an early impression on the Washington coaching staff. He ran a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash in the pre-draft process, which is slow for a pass-catcher, but he is a reminder that 40 times don't always translate to the field. In turn, second-year Patriots receiver Josh Boyce had those great testing numbers coming out of Texas Christian but I'm still waiting for them to consistently show up on the field. He seems to be decisively behind Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell in the 3-4-5-6 receiver cluster after Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, who have looked terrific.
Depth charts: Appreciated the honesty of Washington head coach Jay Gruden when asked early in the week about the team-issued depth chart. He basically said don't read too much into it because "we had to do it for the media." If things were close, the team put the veteran in front of the younger player. For the Patriots, my guess is that coach Bill Belichick isn't even aware that an official depth chart has been released. Thus, beware of any reference to the depth chart.
RG III knows how to curry favor: Scene-setter: Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III had finished his news conference Tuesday and departed the media workroom, before returning with cupcakes for reporters with a big smile. Almost made me rethink my snap judgment that his backup, Kirk Cousins, had seemingly performed on par with him, if not better, these past two days. In fairness, I wasn't watching the Washington quarterbacks as closely as the Patriots' personnel.
Brady all the buzz: Similar to last season in Philadelphia, the practice approach of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been noted by the opposing team. "It's fun to watch him," Gruden said. "He's poetry in motion and obviously a Hall of Famer and the best of all-time, so when you get a chance to watch him in a setting like this, it's a great learning experience for everybody."
More of Moore: Sixth-round Patriots defensive end Zach Moore had an uptick in repetitions in Tuesday's practice, at some points lining up over center. Moore has intriguing physical traits at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, but comes from a lower level of competition at Concordia (St. Paul) and naturally requires some seasoning. In one 2-on-2 drill, he teamed up with veteran Will Smith and was supposed to create a logjam so Smith could loop around him, but the timing was off and the rush was easily thwarted. Defensive line coach Brendan Daly quickly coached him on technique in a snapshot of the teaching that is so crucial for young players finding their way. Moore will be a fun player to watch in Thursday's preseason opener.
4hEric D. Williams