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Gruden Pleased With Team’s Focus During OTAs

Posted Jun 4, 2014

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has been pleased with the team’s work during OTAs.

With two full weeks of OTAs under his belt, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Wednesday he has been pleased with his team’s focus on improvement.

Particularly, Gruden -- a former signal caller himself -- said he has also enjoyed the opportunity to work "hands on" with his team's three quarterbacks (Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy) and tutor them on how to be effective in certain dropback situations.

Asked about Griffin III specifically, Gruden said he waited until he was able to get out onto the practice field before analyzing his game and practice film.

“There wasn't a whole lot of true dropback situations for him (last year), so I didn't really judge him that heavily,” Gruden told reporters after Wednesday's practice. “I wanted to get a chance to see him hands on and these sessions right here and his workouts and go from there and try to develop him.”

With a solid skillset and elite athletic ability, Gruden said now it’s just a matter of Griffin III "perfecting" certain facets of his game.

“I think he's got a good fundamental base," Gruden said. "He's played for the Shanahans and they understand what the quarterback position’s all about and he got to work with Terry Shea, worked at Baylor and he's got a good base and a good sound fundamental skillset.”

Robinson excels
Considered the quarterback position on the defensive side of the ball, Gruden also said he’s been impressed with inside linebacker Keenan Robinson.

A 2012 NFL Draft classmate of Griffin III, Robinson was expected to play a key role for the defensive unit during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but injuries prevented him from spelling Perry Riley Jr. and London Fletcher and making an impact on his own.

“He's doing a great job,” Gruden said. “It is exciting to see him run around. He's a very fluid athlete.

“Like I said last week, I think he's active in the passing game and his run fits have been outstanding. [Inside linebackers] coach [Kirk] Olivadotti's done a great job with all the new linebackers we've brought in and it's going to be a great competition come training camp.”

Gruden also said Robinson is "a lot further ahead" in his rehab than originally believed.

Offensive line update
During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the offensive line depth chart remained relatively unchanged, as Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus started a combined 159 games.

As has been the case for many of the units this offseason, though, the offensive line could look drastically different when the team travels to Houston Week 1.

Montgomery is no longer with the team, while rookies Morgan Moses and Spencer Long along with free agent acquisitions Mike McGlynn and Shawn Lauvao have added talented depth.

While it remains unknown who will be in the starting lineup against the Texans, Gruden said he is pleased with the depth the team has across the line.

“Depth is very important at every position, but probably none more important than the offensive line because offensive line people get dinged up quite a bit,” Gruden said. “You have to have guys able to play left tackle, right tackle, center, right guard, left guard and that’s why we kind of brought the people in that we brought in.

“It’s very important for each position to not just know one spot, but to be able to move around because throughout the season you see injuries happen and the guys have to fill in at spots they’re not used to playing.”

The understanding of multiple positions has already begun, as Lichtensteiger has seen action at center and Moses has been learning both tackle positions.

Gruden said that Lichtensteiger, who most recently has been playing guard, is doing a ‘great’ job at center and it’s a move that hasn’t met any roadblocks yet.

“He's coming, it’s a natural transition for him,” Gruden explained. “He's great in the run game, he gets up to the second level with ease and in the pass protection with the calls that he's making already, he's done a great job already. We're excited about what he brings to the table, both in the run game and in the pass game.”

As for Moses, who played both tackle positions at the University of Virginia, Gruden said that he has more ‘natural’ ability at the left tackle position, but that he’s getting more action at right tackle with Trent Williams ensuring Griffin III’s blindside is protected.

“He’s obviously more comfortable on the left side right now because that’s what he’s been doing the last few years in college,” Gruden said. “You can see the right side he struggled a little bit and then went back to the left side; he was a lot more natural.

“But he’s going to have to learn both and that’s what rookie tackles have to do. He’s not a penciled-in starting left tackle, we have one of those.

“He needs to learn the right side and if he’s eventually, to get playing time, if something happens to Trent or something happens to Polumbus, then he’s going to have to fill in on either side, quite possibly.”

Veteran leaders
Also catching Gruden’s attention during offseason activities have been veteran safety Ryan Clark and wide receiver Santana Moss.

Gruden, the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 through 2013, faced Clark’s former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, numerous times each season and knows what he brings to the table—leadership and versatility.

“He's been a part of a system very similar to what we're running, so it was a natural fit for him to come in here and we have some young safeties that we want develop and learn from Ryan Clark,” Gruden said. “I think it's a great chance for these young guys to learn from a veteran who's been there done that and see how it's done."

As for Moss, the longest tenured member of the Redskins, Gruden said he’s fun to be around and has stood out during drills.

“He’s had an excellent offseason program (and) he knows every position, he’s making big plays out there,” Gruden told the media. “He looks like a young kid, he’s got energy, he’s a great leader. If he drops a pass, he holds himself accountable. If the quarterback misses him, he’s like, ‘Let’s get onto the next one, man’ He’s a great guy to have for these young guys to learn from at the receiver position, and every position for that matter. He’s working out hard. He’s the first one out there today again.”

“I like having guys like that.”

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