Redskins OTAs: What to watch for
June, 4, 2014
By John Keim | ESPN.com
A few things to pay attention to during Wednesday’s open OTA session (yes, I will watch other aspects; these are the ones that initially jump out):
- Andre Roberts. Tough to focus on him last week with needing to pay attention elsewhere, but I want to get a better feel for the free-agent receiver. On tape, what I liked about him was his desire to catch the ball. It was evident in the way he competed or held off defensive backs on passes thrown his way.
- Robert Griffin III’s mechanics. They will continue to be a focal point for a while. He looked rather consistent a week ago. In re-watching more of his games, it was evident how sloppy they were this past fall. The ball was held too low, for example, leading to wind-up throws. But keeping your mechanics while being squeezed in the pocket is something we won’t see until games begin. Still, is he holding the ball where he wants? Same base? Throwing more over the top? Those are all things that showed up last week – and it’s what he worked on in the offseason.
- So along with the mechanics, is Griffin more consistent with his passes? Last week he wasn’t dead-on accurate, but I’m not sure he ever will be that sort of precision passer, a la Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. But he can still get better in this area, more consistent.
- Rookie improvement. It takes time to develop players and a few weeks isn't enough. But I’m curious to see if right tackle Morgan Moses, for example, is more consistent with staying low and not just relying on his arms to bail him out of trouble.
- Or is Bashaud Breeland cutting down on the number of times he grabs receivers late on routes? I don’t expect it to be wiped out in only a few weeks, but reduced? Sure.
- How the pass-rushers look. Is there any change in the way Brian Orakpo or Ryan Kerrigan are rushing after having worked with outside linebackers coach Brian Baker for a few weeks now?
- Corner David Amerson. Watched him some last week working in press coverage and using jams. He improved in this area and it needs to be a key tactic for him given his length and solid speed. Amerson also cut down on mental mistakes as the season progressed.
- Receiver DeSean Jackson. Is he able to do a whole lot after suffering what coach Jay Gruden described last week as a minor hamstring pull? Even if he’s OK, a team will be – and should be – extra cautious about having him work. Don’t make it worse, so go overboard to give it time to heal.
- I’m curious to see how the safeties progress. But as I’ve written before, it’s very, very tough to get a good feel for how they’re playing. Just as a reminder, Bacarri Rambo looked fine in training camp practices. He did not make many mistakes, was in the right position. Then the games began and he struggled to tackle or compete.
- So if a guy is moving well now that’s great -- if they’re getting beat a lot it’s telling. You want to see the angles they’re taking to the ball. If they’re constantly making plays, that’s also telling (Rambo never did, by the way). But coming up and playing the run is a huge part of the job and something you just can’t get a feel for now. It will be worth noting, perhaps, how Tanard Jackson is moving around with a week’s more work. But I just wouldn’t jump to a lot of conclusions about anyone here right now (unless they just look bad).
- Speaking of Rambo, I’m in the same camp as ESPN980’s Chris Russell, who thinks the second-year safety must have a good camp (that, especially, includes his work on special teams) or he’ll get cut. I wrote that much earlier this offseason, but my thoughts haven’t changed. Look at it this way: At best, barring injuries, he’s a backup – and one who does not do well on special teams. How can you keep a backup safety who doesn’t help special teams? He’s not someone oozing with talent to the point where you can overlook things.