Washington Redskins: Cody Hoffman

  1. Ryan Kerrigan did not practice Wednesday because he was a “little sore” according to coach Jay Gruden. He said they’ve liked what Kerrigan has done in the weight room and on the field and just wanted to give him a day off. Meanwhile, Brian Orakpo returned to practice after missing Tuesday because of an illness.
  2. OK, Brian Baker is not only good to watch and effective with his players, but he also provides terrific insight into what he’s doing. It’s the same reason I liked Kirk Olivadotti when he was here the first time. If they’re able to communicate this well with the media, then chances are they do so with their players -- and it enables them to learn. I’ll have more from Baker over the next few weeks.
  3. One little nugget from Baker: He called second-year linebacker Brandon Jenkins one of the more improved players this spring. Baker has gotten on Jenkins quite a bit and there’s little doubt that he needed to improve in a few ways. He’s still not a lock to be on the roster, but if he continues to improve then he’s in a good spot.
  4. Jenkins beat rookie Morgan Moses to the inside on one rush. Moses could not recover to stop Jenkins’ counter. It is an issue right now for Moses and something he’ll have to work on in order to become a starter. Also saw Jenkins get around right tackle Maurice Hurt later in the practice during a hurry-up drill.
  5. Play of the day: Corner DeAngelo Hall made a terrific diving interception on a Robert Griffin III pass intended for receiver DeSean Jackson, cutting to the outside. Hall read it perfectly and made the diving pick as he headed out of bounds. He bounced up, his helmet popped off and he threw the ball in the air as linebacker Adam Hayward led the charge over to him. Yes, it was just a play in a spring practice but certain plays get them fired up no matter when they occur.
  6. At 6-foot-5, Trent Murphy is tall for a pass rusher, but he does a good job of staying low -- and trying to get lower. It hasn’t always resulted in pressure, like Wednesday when he went against Trent Williams. The left tackle stopped him initially, but Murphy tried to get lower and did so. Williams still won, but Murphy seems comfortable staying low. It’s one reason he can use the spin move.
  7. Phillip Thomas picked off a Kirk Cousins’ pass that skipped off Andre Roberts’ hands.
  8. This is when you know it’s time to get to training camp, when you write this line: Quarterback Colt McCoy hit receiver Cody Hoffman on a deep ball down the right side. Hoffman beat corner Blake Sailors on the play.
  9. Saw safety Ryan Clark up at the line of scrimmage in coverage; did a nice job staying with Roberts on a short out route.
  10. Receiver Pierre Garcon beat corner David Amerson to the inside; Amerson was on his hip, but did not react quick enough and the pass was completed, prompting secondary coach Raheem Morris to yell to him, “Come on! That’s a dream throw!” Amerson did a nice job later in the practice covering a double move by DeSean Jackson. Griffin looked their way, but because Amerson played it properly he had to eat the ball and would have been sacked by linebacker Brian Orakpo. Too much pressure allowed Wednesday.
  11. Rookie corner Bashaud Breeland showed good patience on a couple routes. First, in off coverage against Aldrick Robinson he did not fall for a fake and was in good position (Robinson then fell as he cut inside). Later, rookie receiver Ryan Grant stepped back at the line as if he were about to get a screen pass. Breeland did not bite. Grant then took off downfield, but Breeland’s patience meant he had him covered and the ball was thrown away.
  12. I’m setting the over-under on number of scuffles involving Chase Minnifield this summer at three. He did not get in one Wednesday, but the way he plays aggravates the offense. He’s feisty and aggressive with his hands. Wednesday, tight end Logan Paulsen blocked him on a run to the other side and Minnifield was trying to somehow shed a man who outweighs him by about 75 pounds. At one point Minnifield grabbed Paulsen’s facemask.
  13. More on Clark’s value: He quickly recognized a zone read look and called it out before the play happened. The defense stopped the play. As I’ve said before, there’s just a big difference with him back deep and anyone else when it comes to communicating. Thomas was praised after one play for his pre-snap communication.
  14. The defense was just stronger overall against the offense Wednesday. Several tipped passes resulted in a couple interceptions. Also, linebacker Perry Riley made a nice tip on a Griffin pass in zone coverage. Griffin was trying to hit Paulsen and Riley barely got a piece of it, but it was enough. Sometimes the difference between a tipped pass and a perfect one is just a few inches -- and this was an example.
  15. Spencer Long worked at right guard, it’s where he’s most comfortable. In the past, the offensive linemen were worked at one spot only, allowing them to get comfortable before expanding their roles. But that will change a bit this season. The Redskins have enough competition among the young linemen that they all have to show they can help at multiple spots.
  16. Rookie tight end Ted Bolser struggled to block outside linebacker Gabe Miller on a couple plays, allowing him to shoot inside on one play and then pinch the running back inside on another. Miller had a good day, but obviously is a longshot to make the roster. Bolser will need to block better.
  17. Don’t always see strong leg drive from Clifton Geathers; he gets upright and loses his strength. But he did drive guard Adam Gettis back on one rush.

Redskins mailbag: Part 1

May, 23, 2014
With the heavy lifting on the roster completed, the questions in Part 1 of the mailbag now turn to different topics: Mike Shanahan's philosophy regarding the offensive line; Brandon Jenkins' role; what must Brian Orakpo do to stick around? Makes for a nice variety. Enjoy.
Some thoughts from Redskins coach Jay Gruden on the rookies following Saturday's second minicamp practice:

  1. He likes linebacker Trent Murphy -- a lot. The Redskins' second-round pick lined up at left outside linebacker in the two practices open to the media. Gruden loves Murphy’s variety of moves. And he likes the ability to use him as a third linebacker and play him in different spots – in college he rushed from a standup position on both sides, through the middle, and also from a four-point stance.“He’s another element of the pass rush we drastically need,” Gruden said. “The ability to move him around and do things with him defensively is exciting.”
  2. Gruden also really likes guard Spencer Long and receiver Ryan Grant. Gruden said after four practices watching Long, including two on Friday, “you could see how effective he’s going to be, how smart he is and how physical he can be. He’s athletic enough to do whatever we want in the zone game and smart enough to pick up the blitzes and line stunts. He’s going to be competitive right away.”
  3. As for Grant, Gruden said, “he plays like a 10-year veteran already.” I’ll have more on Grant in a couple days, but he understands how to run routes. That matters.
  4. Two rookies who need a little seasoning? Left tackle Morgan Moses and running back Lache Seastrunk. Moses switched back to the right side after playing left tackle at Virginia last season (but he was on the right side the previous three years). He’ll also have to learn how to block in the outside zone.“It will take him some time,” Gruden said of Moses. “We’re happy with his progress and he has some major, major upside with his size.”

    Seastrunk must adjust to being a pass-catcher in the NFL. That doesn’t just mean showing he can catch the ball, it means knowing how to run routes out of the backfield at an NFL level. It also means being able to pass protect.

    “It will take time,” Gruden said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. He has a long way to go, but he’ll get there.”
  5. Bashaud Breeland’s aggressiveness jumped out (I’ll have more on this in a couple days as well). Gruden said he’ll have to watch the holding, but they like Breeland’s long arms and physical style.
  6. Gruden did not single out undrafted free-agent receiver Cody Hoffman, but Gruden was asked about him. It’s way too early to project how an undrafted player will do, but Gruden did say he likes Hoffman’s size (he’s 6-foot-4). Gruden also said, “He’s a very smooth route runner with natural hands. He doesn’t have the great vertical speed.” Special teams will be huge for a player like Hoffman.
  7. Gruden said of place-kicker Zach Hocker: “Rookie kickers in the NFL, not many of them have had a lot of success but we have high hopes for him. He’s going to compete. He has a strong leg and the added dimension for kickoffs and touchbacks is important. We’ll see how things transpire and how he handles the pressure.”

Redskins mailbag: Part 2

May, 17, 2014
For Part 2 of the Redskins mailbag, we're talking Robert Griffin III and the Hall of Fame (what!?), which offensive alignments the Redskins might favor, defensive sets against Philadelphia, the offensive line and more. Enjoy.

Redskins minicamp questions

May, 16, 2014
The Redskins will start to see what they have in their rookie class when their three-day minicamp begins Friday. It runs through Sunday (with one day, Saturday, open to the media). They have a number of tryout players in attendance; some players will be told no thanks before the weekend is even finished. Some of the tryout guys might earn a contract, though that would also mean one of the current undrafted signees would then be cut.

Here are three questions entering the weekend:

What is Jay Gruden’s style?

This will be our first chance to be around him in a practice setting. Because he’s dealing with rookies this weekend, there’s a chance he’ll be a little different than he would be with veterans or when it’s closer to the season. In-season, for example, he might stick more with one group. Now, he might opt to walk around more and get a feel for more players.

For now the focus is on teaching and trying to see which tryout guys should be signed, if any, as opposed to preparing to win games. Still, we’ll get a glimpse of how he’ll be Saturday (the only day that’s open to the media).

What can you learn from the rookies this weekend?

Well, the higher they were drafted the better they should look. If not, well …

But, really, it’s about watching guys work. How do the defensive backs -- Bashaud Breeland in particular -- compete against the receivers? The opposite is true when looking at receiver Ryan Grant. Do they look fast or can you get a glimpse of what makes them excel?

For the coaches it’s really more about seeing how they retain information, going from the classroom to the practice field. Players' heads will be swimming in information, so they might not always play as fast in full-team work. Can they also take to coaching? How many times do they need to hear something before it clicks? Little clues are revealed this weekend.

Trent Murphy and tackle Morgan Moses will receive more attention because of where they were drafted and the expectation they can help this season. But I’ll be also curious to see how running back Lache Seastrunk moves. Really, though, it’s just a first impression and nothing matters until they do it against the veterans.

Which undrafted player has a shot to make the roster, if any?

One of the 10 undrafted free agents will become an intriguing story during training camp, gearing for either a roster spot or place on the practice squad.

The Redskins had two players who were former undrafteds start on offense last season in tight end Logan Paulsen and fullback Darrel Young.

Defensively, Ryan Clark entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He’s now entering his 13th season. Linebacker Akeem Jordan, who will compete for the starting position next to Perry Riley, went undrafted in 2007. Stephen Bowen was undrafted in 2006.

So which current undrafted free agent has a shot? Impossible to say without seeing them first -- and it will be real tough until seeing them in training camp. I asked one coach about the undrafted guys, if there was one he was anxious to see. His response? Need to see them first. Whatever these players did in college doesn't matter; they have a ton to prove here.

But the Redskins clearly want to look for more receiver depth considering four of the 10 they signed play that position. Of that group, BYU’s Cody Hoffman has size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and pedigree (his father played in the NFL), but had some of the worst measurables of any receiver at the combine. But he returned kickoffs. Indiana’s Kofi Hughes was a standout special-teamer. If you’re going to make it as an undrafted, and likely be the last player at your position group, excelling on special teams is a must.

There are a handful of interesting names among the undrafteds: running back Silas Redd; tight end Kevin Perry, a former basketball player; and nose tackle Chris Davenport. But it’s tough to pay close attention to them or the tryout guys. More of the focus will be -- and should be -- on the draft picks.

However, after this weekend, the Redskins will have a feel for which undrafted guys might be worth watching.

Taking a look at the Redskins UDFAs

May, 15, 2014
It's tough to get too excited about undrafted free agents considering the difficult path they face in the NFL. But it's not unusual for one or two to make the roster. Regardless, here's a little information on the nine undrafted players the Redskins have signed this week. They'll be in action this weekend during the Redskins' rookie minicamp.

Nose tackle Chris Davenport, Tulane

Size: 6-foot-4, 330 pounds

Noteworthy: Pittsburgh called him in the sixth round to discuss a free-agent contract as well. Davenport transferred from LSU -- he was considered a five-star recruit out of high school -- and made an impact with the Green Wave. He started 12 games and finished with 1.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and 19 combined tackles. He started 12 games, including eight at nose tackle. He went to LSU as a nose tackle, but was switched to the offensive line. When Davenport left LSU he weighed 370 pounds, losing 35 before the start of the 2013 season.

Receiver Lee Doss, Southern University

Size: 6-foot-1, 178 pounds

Noteworthy: Doss caught 78 passes for 1,172 yards and 11 touchdowns in earning third-team All-American honors at the FCS level. As a junior, Doss caught 65 passes for 698 yards and eight touchdowns. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds at his pro day. Doss originally played at Selma University, then transferred to Southern and made the team as a walk-on. He's considered to have good quickness and could be more of a slot receiver.

Receiver Cody Hoffman, Brigham Young

Size: 6-foot-4, 223 pounds

Noteworthy: His dad, Derrick Ramsey, played tight end for New England and Oakland from 1978-85. Hoffman finished as the Cougars' all-time leader in catches (260), receiving yards (3,612), touchdown receptions (33) and all-purpose yards (5,105). He excelled as a kick returner in college. Not considered explosive and some of his measurables at the combine (vertical jump and broad jump) were the lowest among the receivers and his 40-time (4.65) was 42nd out of 45 wideouts. A one-game suspension for a violation of team rules, injuries (he played with a torn labrum for two years, but a hamstring injury bothered him briefly last fall) and BYU's new emphasis on the run game hurt his senior season.

Receiver Kofi Hughes, Indiana

Size: 6-foot-1, 208 pounds

Noteworthy: Hughes was a team captain along with Redskins draft pick Ted Bolser. Hughes caught 47 passes for 739 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a standout special-teams player as a freshman. He was a quarterback in high school. Hughes ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds at his pro day.

Receiver Rashad Lawrence, Northwestern

Size: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds

Noteworthy: Another team captain. Lawrence caught 31 passes for 463 yards and a touchdown this past season. He finished his career with 96 catches, but only two touchdowns. Not much of a special-teams player. Lawrence did run the 40 in 4.49 seconds, but did not show a lot of explosiveness according to NFL.com

Tight end Kevin Perry, Texas El-Paso

Size: 6-foot-6, 275 pounds

Noteworthy: Perry is one of four plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NCAA concerning paying athletes. He played for the UTEP basketball team for two seasons. His dad, Gerald Perry, played for three teams in the NFL (Denver, the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and the Los Angeles Rams). Kevin Perry is cousins with former NBA player Stephen Jackson. Perry caught 29 passes for 344 yards in 43 career games.

Running back Silas Redd, Southern California

Size: 5-foot-10, 212 pounds

Noteworthy: Redd transferred from Penn State after the sanctions hit. He rushed for 1,241 yards as a sophomore with Penn State and did not match that success out west. Redd rushed for 905 yards two years ago as a junior. He suffered injuries to both knees last season -- a torn meniscus and sprained PCL, respectively -- and finished with 351 yards rushing. Those injuries cost him a chance at getting drafted. He posted a 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash at the combine.

Defensive back Bryan Shepherd, North Dakota State

Size: 5-foot-10, 178 pounds

Noteworthy: Shepherd transferred from Nebraska-Omaha. He ran a 4.48 in the 40 at his pro day. He started six of 15 games and intercepted one pass. He was sixth on the team with 52 tackles. Shepherd started four of eight games he played in the previous season. He received community service for election fraud.

Nose tackle Robert Thomas, Arkansas

Size: 6-foot-1, 327 pounds

Noteworthy: Thomas started his college career at Coffeyville Community College, playing one season. He suffered a season-ending broken leg in October. Thomas started strong before the injury with six tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in seven games. He started seven of 24 games he played at Arkansas. Here’s a Q&A he did earlier this offseason.

Quarterback Tommy Rees, Notre Dame

Size: 6-foot-2, 210 pounds

Noteworthy: Rees completed 59.9 percent of his 1,001 passes in college with 61 touchdowns and 37 interceptions. Rees started 30 games, doing so this past season because Everett Golson unexpectedly left the school. Golson had supplanted him the previous season. Rees' father coached at Northwestern and UCLA and worked in scouting and pro personnel for four different NFL organizations. (He’s currently a scout with Tampa Bay.) Rees told 106.7 The Fan that his brother once roomed with Redskins kicker Kai Forbath at UCLA. The Redskins have three strong quarterback options with Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. Rees is considered a smart player; Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he’d love to hire him as a coach someday. Rees worked with Irish QB coach Matt LaFleur, a former Redskins coach, this past offseason. Rees was not invited to the combine.
The Redskins have signed nine undrafted free agents to contracts, though more could be added in time for their rookie minicamp this weekend. There also will be a number of players attending on a tryout basis.

Here's the list:

Nose tackle Chris Davenport, Tulane

Receiver Lee Doss, Southern University

Receiver Cody Hoffman, Brigham Young

Receiver Kofi Hughes, Indiana

Receiver Rashad Lawrence, Northwestern

Tight end Kevin Perry, Texas El-Paso

Running back Silas Redd, Southern California

Defensive back Bryan Shepherd, North Dakota State

Nose tackle Robert Thomas, Arkansas