With just one more OTA practice to go until the Redskins begin minicamp, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said his team’s identity for the 2014 season is slowly, but surely, taking shape.
Gruden on Wednesday spoke to the media after the team’s ninth day of OTA practices, and said the team’s depth is beginning to stand out on both sides of the ball – particularly on defense, where the linemen and safeties in particular are impressing the first-year head coach.
“The more the merrier as far as guys rushing, because you want to keep those guys fresh with the no-huddle attacks. The way they are, you’re going to have to have different defensive linemen in there rotating, you know, playing at a high level, and all those guys can contribute.”
“I’ve been impressed with our safety position,” Gruden said. “We have some safeties out here that can compete, but to have veterans like Meriweather and Clark out there leading the way, it’s good for these young guys to see and then when they are in there, they can progress and learn from them.”
Hall ‘dinged up’
One veteran leader not on the practice field Wednesday was cornerback
Gruden said Hall’s chin was “dinged up a little bit” in Tuesday’s indoor practice, “but he’ll be okay.”
“He just went back to Atlanta for the night,” Gruden said. “You know, he’s a cagey veteran. He felt he wanted to be with his family today, so I let him off.”
Although not practicing fully just yet, Gruden said Cofield is recovering faster than he first anticipated.
“We’re still going to obviously modify what he’s doing and make sure he is full-go before he’s ready,” he said.
Gruden said Cofield is “champing at the bit” to get more involved at practice, but thinks he’ll be 100 percent by training camp in July.
Jackson ‘looked good’
A week after suffering a minor hamstring pull, wide receiver
It was one of several Griffin III-to-Jackson passes on the day.
Gruden said Jackson’s still probably not at 100 percent, but was glad to see him running again.
“He feels good running straight, it’s just sometimes coming out of cuts a little bit he’s still a little bit tentative, and we’re just watching him,” Gruden said. “But he looked good obviously.”
Gruden also discussed the upcoming training camp practices with the New England Patriots in Richmond, Va., Aug. 4-6.
As offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals the past three seasons – who practiced with the Atlanta Falcons at times – Gruden said joint practices can provide a lot of information about your team.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to see how our players both offensive line, how we pick up different stunts and different fronts and defensive line, different blocking schemes, obviously route combinations against different coverages and different type meets in the secondary,” Gruden said. “And how people adjust and how our quarterback adjusts and how they see things, so it’s good for everybody.”
Gruden said training camp practices can often get monotonous, but playing in front of a good crowd against some new bodies can be very beneficial.
“One of the major issues in football is how players adjust and if they can’t adjust to different looks, then they’re not going to be very effective,” he said. “You know, a lot of times you script these plays and you kind of know where the defense is, you know what players are going to get, but these are unscripted plays and you’re able to see how players react to different types of things.”
Robinson not about the talk
Robinson and Fletcher, however, have one distinct difference: Fletcher was known for his vocal leadership; Robinson, meanwhile, tries to let his play do his talking.
Gruden is a fan of both approaches.
“I think as long as he’s communicating the calls, that’s important, and as long as he’s playing hard and doing the right thing, that’s leadership enough in a lot of cases,” he said. “You don’t have to be a Ray Lewis-type of leader to play middle linebacker and be successful. There’s been linebackers who aren’t quite that vocal that have been very successful.”
Gruden said at its core, successful players know their assignments and can communicate well with others – two traits with which Robinson has no problem.
“As long as everybody knows what to do, let’s go out and play hard,” Gruden said. “And the leaders will emerge eventually.”