1. New OT Jordan Black got his first work (though the Redskins were only in shells Thursday) with the second offense. He looked about how you’d expect a guy who: hasn’t played in a year, lost a lot of weight from his playing days and needs to add 15 more pounds. Would you be surprised to learn that he struggled preventing Chris Wilson from turning the corner against him? Well, you shouldn’t have been. He needs a lot of time.
2. Maurice Hurt returned to left guard Thursday, a position where he looks more comfortable. Gets in a lower stance. That’s not to say he didn’t have some issues there. Perry Riley got inside him on an inside zone run by Evan Royster and would have blown up the play. Another time Hurt tried to reach London Fletcher on a block, but couldn’t Fletcher would have made the tackle on a Robert Griffin III run. And shortly thereafter Chris Baker got into his pads and stood him up, though Hurt eventually held his ground.
3. Rookie Adam Gettis will need to get stronger. Gets stood up too easily right now; once, he was nearly bent over backwards by my guy Baker. Gettis seems to move well so getting him on the run will be better in the long run. But in a straight one-on-one pass-protection set he has work to do.
4. Don’t be surprised if linebacker Brian Orakpo plays more with his hands in the dirt as a pass rusher this season. He’s done that several times when the Redskins have used their nickel defense. He’s done this on both the left and right sides of the line. There have been some coaches here in the past who think he is a much better rusher when he’s in a four-point stance than when he’s upright.
5. Bryan Kehl was not at practice because his wife was giving birth to their child. No news on the delivery as of now.
6. Ryan Kerrigan went through individual work, but did not participate in the full-team drills. Rob Jackson replaced him.
7. There’s a way that Brandon Banks can help at receiver. He’s tough to jam at the line and that was evident on his long catch from Rex Grossman (off a bootleg, throwing back to a post). Banks avoided Kevin Barnes at the line. As Barnes settled into a zone, Banks sped past safety Tanard Jackson for the grab. There’s the quickness and speed; that’s good.
8. But the height could be an issue on certain routes. Banks is a small target, not just in terms of height but also his size and defenders can run through him for picks. It can be hard for a quarterback to hit a smaller target and he must create a little more separation than most. Just not a lot of margin for error. For example, Griffin threw a slant to 6-foot-2 Leonard Hankerson in the red zone. The pass was high and wide; Hankerson reached out to make the catch. Griffin threw a similar pass to Banks and Barnes intercepted.
9. By the way, Barnes also broke up a pass along the sidelines intended for Anthony Armstrong (the play in which Armstrong hurt his shoulder). Coach Mike Shanahan likes Barnes playing outside (he struggled mightily in the slot last year).
“Kevin has got great speed. He’s got length and I really felt like his best position is being the outside where he can concentrate on just jamming people,” Shanahan said. “We had him inside last year playing the nickel position. It didn’t work out as well as I would have liked. I thought if he concentrated just on the outside receivers, his jams, and his off-coverage that he would improve. I like what I’ve seen so far.”
10. The replacement officials attended practice Thursday. Yes, there was one issue. Grossman connected with tight end Chris Cooley running down the left side (a step ahead of rookie linebacker Keenan Robinson) and made a lunging grab right in front of the defense’s sideline. Naturally they disputed the call by the official. “They need to settle this damn lockout, that’s a disgrace,” corner DeAngelo Hall shouted.
11. I know Cooley remains a hot topic and Shanahan reiterated Thursday that he’s had no setbacks with his knee or anything else. Talked to one longtime coach who said he would be surprised if Cooley made it through the first week without getting hurt. That’s why he thought Cooley was done. But he has made it through the first week. Cooley is making catches, but he’s also not going to be a big threat after the grab anymore. Can the Redskins live with that?
12. Rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins had an unlucky interception, having a pass bounce off Aldrick Robinson’s hands and into safety Madieu Williams’. Doug Worthington later batted one of Cousins’ passes down at the line. Worthington looks solid, but is not a flashy player. Did like one throw Cousins made to Dezmon Briscoe, throwing it low to him with corner Travon Bellamy coming over the top. A savvy throw. It’s also one of the few times I’ve seen Briscoe on the receiving end. He hasn’t really jumped out yet.
13. Talked to corner Josh Wilson for my email report about playing different coverages. Here’s what he had to say about playing press and jamming receivers: “If you do the same thing every time the receiver doesn’t have to think about what’s going to happen. You got a quick jam sometimes. Quick jams are one hands. Jump jams are two hands. In mirror technique you back off. Sometimes you stay sturdy and get y our hands on but it’s not a quick fire. You have to mix it up like the receivers mix up their release.”
14. Some notes from earlier today, including a quote you might like from left tackle Trent Williams.
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