RICHMOND, Va. -- Some notes from Monday's Washington Redskins training camp practice.
For the first time in a long time, we saw actual live hitting in practice with one-on-one drills between a ball carrier and a defender and in a game-like setting between the backup units. It started with drills in which the defender was stationed about 10-15 yards from the runner, who had to stay within a somewhat narrow area -- though they had room to make a cut and make the defender miss.
It was also clear they wanted to see the young guys hit, so a lot of the starters while being more physical did not take part in some of the drills. Some of the highlights: receiver Rashad Lawrence gave Trent Murphy the slip with a cut to the right; linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough showed perfect form while tackling Jerry Rice, Jr.; linebacker Gabe Miller's helmet popped off when he hit tight end Ted Bolser and safety Ross Madison's helmet did the same in a collision with Cody Hoffman. At the end, left tackle Trent Williams was asking for a chance to run the ball. He was denied.
There were some scrapes in practice; I'll have more in my camp report later in the day.
Outside linebacker coach Brian Baker's message today: Use your hips. They worked on how to disengage while coming around the edge (with one of the other linebackers serving as the de facto tackle). If the rusher has his inside arm up and engaged, he's supposed to bring it down hard, allowing him to get more strength from his hips and, he said, it allows the linebackers to use the tackle's momentum against him. Baker told his troops, “Speed and hips; that's how you get to the quarterback!” He worked on this with Brian Orakpo a few times and it seemed to resonate.
Later, in another drill designed to shock the blocker and then shed him, Baker chastised Murphy for not dropping his hips and therefore playing too high. Next time: Murphy was much lower. Another time, in the disengage drill, Rob Jackson tried a spin move back to the inside. It was fine. He then tried a swim move to the inside. Baker loved it: “As much as I said the spin is OK, for you that's 100 percent better. That's what you want.”
I also loved the pass protection drill with the running backs and tight ends against the linebackers. I won't bore you with all of it, but running back Chris Thompson did a good job, first taking care of Brandon Meriweather and riding him out and later popping linebacker Will Compton, prompting running backs coach Randy Jordan to excitedly push him in the chest. Just a nice job by Thompson.
Rookie Lache Seastrunk allowed an inside spin by Ryan Clark, who then slipped. Seastrunk was slow to react to the move. Silas Redd was run through by linebacker Perry Riley. Running back Alfred Morris was solid on his attempts, including against linebacker Akeem Jordan. Jordan got into Morris, but he anchored and held his ground.
Seastrunk later dropped a pass from Kirk Cousins over the middle. And, in 11-on-11 work he allowed Brown to get inside on a pass rush; appeared to sit back too much and let Brown dictate too much. A couple plays earlier Seastrunk had done a better job against Brown.
Rookie tackle Morgan Moses had a nice block on a Redd run in 11-on-11 work, getting to the second level for a pop on Compton. Better balance by Moses. The linebacker did have a nice form tackle on receiver Rashad Lawrence on a pass over the middle.
Left guard Shawn Lauvao cleared a hole for Alfred Morris on a run at the 5-yard line, moving Jarvis Jenkins out of the way for a touchdown. Lauvao anchored well against Jenkins on their next play, though Brandon Meriweather blew up the play with a tackle in the backfield on Roy Helu.
Lauvao showed good feet in sliding with Barry Cofield to the outside, stopping a rush.
My guy Adrian Robinson showed some speed to the outside in beating Moses on a rush. Moses ended up lunging and missing.
Rookie corner Bashaud Breeland needs to learn how to harness his aggressiveness – not in attacking the offense, but in what he's reading. He got caught a little inside on one pass in which it looked like the play was going the other way, but in reality it came back to his side to Santana Moss. He just needed to slow down and not lose his side.
This is when Darrel Young is dangerous: On play-action throws inside the 10-yard line. The Redskins tried that Monday and linebacker Brian Orakpo, playing on the left side, had to stay home. Young snuck out of the backfield for an easy catch-and-score (similar to plays they ran a couple years ago). This is where the dual run threat of Griffin and Morris comes in handy for Young.
I liked how corner David Amerson covered Monday and once on Jackson in particular in the end zone. Amerson cut inside with Jackson, then quickly cut back to the outside with him and had him blanketed.
Maurice Hurt was back at right tackle Monday. Hurt said he was dehydrated and cramped up during last week's conditioning run, which is why he didn't finish. He looked fine against newcomer Everrette Brown this morning.
Rookie Zach Hocker missed his first field goal attempt of the summer, sending a 43-yarder wide right. He also had his next attempt tipped by 6-foot-8 Clifton Geathers. Hocker connected on his only other kick, this one from 38 yards. Kai Forbath connected on his three attempts, from 38, 43 and 48 yards. Both have now missed one kick apiece. Also, they switched holders today with Blake Clingan working with Forbath and Robert Malone with Hocker.