- 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:
The Redskins’ defenders again received a taste of the new emphasis by officials on calling illegal contact. There have been 11 such penalties called the past two days in practice and it’s something no one, from coaches to defensive players, likes. “If they’re going to call it like that, it’s going to be an issue across the league,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “These defensive backs and linebackers have been taught a certain way for a long time and they’re just going to have to let go of the guys after five yards otherwise it will be a flag-fest. We had a couple more today that were questionable in my opinion, but that’s the way it’s going to be and that’s what we’re going to have to adjust to.”
Receiver Jerry Rice Jr., ended up tearing his right labrum and will undergo surgery, ending his season. He’s the second Redskins player to tear his labrum, joining Courtney Bridget who was placed on injured reserve Thursday. Both players were major long shots to make the roster. Meanwhile, left tackle Trent Williams did not practice Friday after getting kicked in the shin Thursday. It was a precautionary measure and he’ll be fine. Receiver Pierre Garcon, safety Phillip Thomas and defensive end Doug Worthington all returned after nursing hamstring injuries.
Some defensive players who have jumped out thus far: defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, linebacker Keenan Robinson and linebacker Perry Riley. The latter two have separated themselves from the rest of the linebacker group in part because they fit what the Redskins want: They both can run. When you’re playing against offenses like the Eagles, that becomes a must. It’s not as if Jenkins has been the most impressive player, but he has improved and that’s what the Redskins needed to see. The question for Robinson, though, centers around his tackling ability. So even though he’s pleased the coaches to this point, he still has more to prove.
Gruden has discovered what the previous coaches already knew: Receiver Aldrick Robinson is fast – and inconsistent. Robinson got open for two deep passes Friday. But, overall, he still needs to do more. At this point he’d be their sixth receiver, behind the starting three, Santana Moss and rookie Ryan Grant. “There’s no substitute for speed and he definitely has it,” Gruden said of Robinson. “His hands have got to become more consistent. He’s dropped a few here and there, but overall he’s had an excellent camp.” Not sure about excellent; tough to do that if you need to be more consistent. But Robinson’s speed always is prized.
Place-kicker Zach Hocker ended up shaving his head, one day after he made national headlines for his unique 'do. At a team function Wednesday night, Hocker did not have a rookie skit prepared so he told his teammates they could shave his head instead. Hocker’s concern: It was being perceived as hazing, so he did not want to prolong the discussion by waiting a week to cut it, per veterans orders. Hocker reiterated it was his choice to have his hair cut.
The Redskins have one practice at 10:35 a.m. Saturday for Fan Appreciation Day. They’re off Sunday.