Fully-padded practices with live hitting are a rarity nowadays in the NFL.
Accordingly, coaches want to take advantage of every opportunity they get to simulate game-like conditions for their players.
“I thought the tempo was great,” Gruden told reporters after the morning session. “I think overall it's a great learning experience and the physicality up front is where it needs to be.”
The Redskins, wearing full pads for the first time in 2014, wasted no time putting bodies on the grass on Monday, as the opening special teams session featured a one-on-one tackling drill.
From there, the practice featured several 11-on-11 sessions, pitting a full offense against a full defense.
“It was good to see some guys tackle – some guys we haven’t seen tackle ever and some guys who have trouble tackling see if their form tackling is up to par,” Gruden said. “[It was good to see] some guys with the ball in their hands, see how they do with contact because in shorts you just can’t tell. When it’s live tackling, you get a good feel for some of these young guys and that’s what it’s all about.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the rise in aggression led to some heated moments throughout the two-hour-plus-long practice. Although cooler heads prevailed in each instance, Gruden said he’s going to be sure to limit the number of fully-padded practices moving forward.
“I think we’ve got a good look at a lot of guys, but this will probably be the last time I’ll do live tackling for the season,” he said. “You know, we’ll play against New England in practice and then we’ll get into the preseason games and those games will be the live tackling part of it.”
Cornerback Courtney Bridget was injured early in Monday’s practice, and was seen getting attention in the medical tent at the Bon Secours Redskins Training Center.
“We don’t know the extent of the injury,” Gruden said. “We’ll find out hopefully by the end of the day or tomorrow.”
Bridget – who at 6-foot-3 is one of the taller members of the Redskins’ secondary – was signed by the Redskins May 17 as a college free agent out of Hampton.
On offense, wide receiver Pierre Garçon came up limping after running a route in the end zone about halfway through Monday’s practice.
Gruden said Garçon – the league’s reigning leader in receptions – “had a couple catches and then just had a little soreness in his hamstring,” but thinks it’s not a major issue.
Also, as expected, offensive lineman
Moses continues development
The Redskins this year used a third-round pick on big offensive tackle
“You know, we're just trying to get him a good feel for the offense and his position strength right now as left tackle, because that's what he's played the last two years at Virginia,” Gruden said. “Next week, we'll start him on the right side and see how he does and go from there, but I like the way he's developing. I really do.”
Gruden mentioned Moses’ development in understanding angles, and said “he’s doing a better job.”
“He’s got a long way to go, but he’s getting there,” Gruden said. “[Offensive Line] Coach [Chris] Foerster is doing a good job with him.”
Speaking of Foerster, Gruden said the 22-year NFL veteran coach has provided the unit with “stable leadership.”
Gruden, hired in January to replace Mike Shanahan, decided to retain Foerster as offensive line coach.
“The guys know him, they trust him and also I feel like he’s very good at what he does,” Gruden said. “I’ve always admired his work being from other teams and I was very fortunate that he was on this staff where I got the job and I was able to retain him. He does an excellent job with the line. The linemen respect him, I have a lot of respect for him and he works well with Sean [McVay], so it was a natural fit.”
Here were some standout plays and happenings at the Redskins' practice on Monday:
The offense and defense are now facing each other for 11-on-11s, starting in the red zone with run from @Trey_Deuces, who breaks 2 tackles.— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) July 28, 2014
A little break
The Redskins will have a little more time than usual to rest their bodies before hitting the training camp grind again.
Gruden canceled Monday’s afternoon walkthrough session, and the team has its previously-scheduled day off tomorrow before getting back to a full day of practices on Wednesday.