1. In the spring I wrote a story about Jammal Brown’s yoga and Pilates work and how much he said it would help him. But the problem is that his hip is bad. And he’s 31. It’s tough for something like that to age well. Clearly it isn’t as Brown injured his hip running a gasser Wednesday and was placed on the physically unable to perform list Thursday.
Brown can come off the list at any point before the season begins. Once the season starts he can’t come off until Week 6. This really is insurance for the Redskins should he have a lingering issue with his hip (see Malcolm Kelly, 2010).
By the way, Brown talked a few times last summer about how much better he felt then and how it would translate to his game. That story was never written because it became obvious after a while that nothing had really changed.
It’s too bad; if healthy Brown could be a big help. But at this point it’s hard to count on him for 16 games.
Tyler Polumbus took over for Brown with the first unit, with Maurice Hurt taking reps with the second team and Willie Smith working with the third group.
2. Washington also placed free safety Tanard Jackson (calf) and running back Tristan Davis (knee) on the PUP list. But both could return to practice soon. The Redskins placed cornerback Chase Minnifield on injured reserve. He tore his ACL on the same knee he had microfracture surgery on in January. The problem with that surgery is the likelihood of getting hurt again. The fact that Minnifield re-injured his knee in the spring on the last day of minicamp is disconcerting to say the least.
3. Tight end Niles Paul lacks the size of the other tight ends, but the Redskins will compensate by often using him in motion or having him block a backside end. He doesn’t need to drive defenders out; he just needs to compete and use his feet to obstruct them. However, Paul did a good job standing up and then inching back linebacker Chris Wilson on one block. But Paul did drop one pass thrown to him; it was a little behind him (from Rex Grossman) but catchable. He had run away from Lorenzo Alexander on the play.
Paul also moved back linebacker Bryan Kehl on another block. Just not sure that his blocking will be a big issue. I talked to one NFL coach who didn’t think it would be an issue at all for him in my newsletter. Click here to subscribe. But Paul was covered well by Perry Riley on one drag route, leading to a tough throw by Robert Griffin III. Riley deflected the ball, but Paul made a one-handed grab – out of bounds.
4, Chris Cooley worked as the No. 2 tight end, which meant he operated a lot with the first unit. Did a good job driving Rob Jackson back on one block. Caught the ball well too. He did not show much explosion, but that’s also never been a big part of his game.
5. Talked about this in the RG3 report, but fullback Darrel Young took a swing pass from Griffin and turned it into a long gain. Young’s ability to run after the catch gives him a chance to be a sneaky weapon. He shouldn’t get a ton of touches, but a few per game would be wise.
6. Running back Tim Hightower was able to participate, a good sign for the Redskins and him. He’s still only about eight months removed from surgery to repair his ACL so the Redskins will limit his work in full-team drills. He did show a little burst through one hole on an outside zone run. He appeared to limp slightly as he finished his run downfield, but Hightower said his knee was fine. But I wasn’t the only one to notice the limp.
7. Second-year corner Brandyn Thompson used excellent technique in man coverage vs. receiver Pierre Garcon. Thompson jammed him at the line, turn and ran with him and read Garcon’s eyes to gauge the arrival of the ball. He turned at the right time, too. Not that it mattered: Griffin’s pass was further inside. But Thompson’s coverage was solid.
8. Don’t know yet how much linebacker Markus White has improved, if at all. But I did see him get his hands inside rookie tight end Beau Reliford and stand him up on one run.
9. Rookie tackle Tom Compton, working with the second unit, learned rather quickly that he can’t set too high vs. second-year end Jarvis Jenkins. He did so on one play and was driven back. It’s acceptable to get shoved back by Jenkins, but it also happened against undrafted free agent Brian McNally. Not so acceptable.
10. The starting receivers Thursday: Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, with Santana Moss working in the slot. Leonard Hankerson was No. 4. It’s interesting to watch the receivers during their individual work, when they’re running drills that focus on footwork and sharp cuts. Hankerson is quick, but his footwork wasn’t quite like those of the shorter receivers (Terrence Austin, Aldrick Robinson). They were a little quicker in and out of breaks with choppier steps. Hankerson is a long strider so it’s tougher for him to be as quick in tight spots.
11. Moss looked spry, as he did in the spring. The thing I worry about is how he’ll handle the grind of a season at age 33. But if Morgan produces – he looked better Thursday than he did in the spring – then that will keep Moss in a reduced role and fresher.
12. Ryan Kerrigan tipped a Robert Griffin III pass on a pass rush. Now you know.
13. I always enjoy watching Brian Orakpo work vs. left tackle Trent Williams. Orakpo tried to beat him upfield with speed, but Williams rode him out.
14. There were no one-on-one’s between the linemen, which is easily my favorite drill to watch. Coach Mike Shanahan waited a few days last summer before running this drill as well.
15. I liked the way rookie running back Alfred Morris ran with a forward lean on some of his carries. He fumbled a lot in college, so perhaps that’s why he seemed to place an extra emphasis on wrapping both hands around the ball as he ran into traffic. It’s hard to gauge the running backs until the games begin (remember how great everyone said Larry Johnson looked two years ago in camp?).
16. The second team offensive line: Compton, LG Erik Cook, C Josh LeRibeus, RG Adam Gettis and RT Maurice Hurt. The second team defensive line: LE Kedric Golston, NT Chris Baker and RE Jarvis Jenkins.
I don’t know how well LeRibeus fared for most of the day. But the one time I focused on him Baker got the better of him. LeRibeus, working at center, reached too far for Baker, causing him to lose leverage.
17. Brandon Banks, Terrence Austin, Aldrick Robinson and Richard Crawford all took turns returning punts during special teams work (catching balls from the Jugs machine).
18. It was hot.
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