On Thursday morning, the Washington Redskins held their second full-team practice open to the media during the team's offseason training activity (OTA) schedule.
The highlight of practice was the mobility of Redskins quarterback
Griffin III indicated that he still has not been cleared for explosive sprinting or making cuts on his surgically-repaired anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
With all other players being accounted for, here is a short list of observations from today's portion of practice open to the media:
- Third-year receiver
Leonard Hankersonwas again impressive during team drills and seems to have a rapport with second-year quarterback Kirk Cousins, who found him several times in open space. As pointed out by head coach Mike Shanahan after practice, this is Hankerson's first healthy offseason in the team's conditioning program, and he finally has a chance to develop as the playmaker they envisioned in the 2011 NFL Draft.
- The Redskins carry one of the smaller coaching staffs in the NFL, but what they lack in size they make up for in communication. Between every play of full-team drills, a cacophany of instruction is shouted from each unit coach to his players based on his performance in the previous play and what to do better next time.
- Perhaps the most outspoken of all unit coaches in defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, who stands with his assistant coach Richard Hightower about 25 yards behind his players in the secondary during full-team drills. When his players perform well, he is the first man over to congratulate them and keep the unit energized. When a player--particularly his three rookie darft picks--misses a coverage, he is the first man over to correct and encourage.
Second-year cornerback Richard Crawforddid more than change his number this offseason, as he has stepped up his game in the secondary. During 11-on-11 drills in the red zone, Crawford tipped a pass intended for Santana Mossthat would have been caught for a touchdown. Secondary coach Raheem Morris ran over to slap high-fives with Crawford, pleased with the play.
- Head coach Mike Shanahan praised the sophomore's work ethic, saying Crawford was in excellent shape and had applied himself in the film room to improve his instincts in Year 2. The most flattering accolade was when Shanahan compared him to a young
London Fletcherin terms of professionalism and demeanor.
- Redskins special teams practiced separately for most of practice on the back field, but joined their teammates for live action toward the end of practice. Punter
Sav Rocca, who spent the offseason recovering from a torn MCL that hampered his leg last season, kicked to punt returners in the first live action in front of the media this year.
- The punt returner competition today included Crawford and rookie receivers
Nick Williamsand Skye Dawsonstanding back deep. Special teams coordinator Keither Burns orchestrated the drills from the middle of the action.
Kai Forbathalso got his first action in front of the media this offseason, booting three-for-three from 30, 35 and 43 yards. He said after practice that his focus this offseason has been improving his distance and hangtime to be more effective on kickoffs.
Touchdowns are an inexact science when the team is forbidden to hit in an unpadded practice, but some plays leave no doubt that a player would have scored in real life.
During full-team drills midway through practice, quarterbacks Kirk Cousins,
White, who has always been known for his dual-threat ability, got loose in the open field and flashed some of the tremendous speed that made him a top NFL prospect out of college. Defenders would be unable to hit him if they could catch him, but there was nobody on the field in position to do so if they tried.
The surprise happened several minutes later with Cousins under center, as he got loose on the sideline and sprinted past the defensive ends on a beeline to the end zone. Showing that he was having fun with his unheralded speed, Cousins made whooping noises all the way to paydirt.
Play Of The Day: Defense
With more 11-on-11 drills practiced in this week's open session, receivers had much less room to get open in the middle of the field than in seven-on-seven drills. That crowd caused some confusion on offense at times, and the defense remained at-the-ready to take advantage.
One such situation was during red zone drills when Cousins tried to go short over the middle and found the outstretched paw of defensive end
The Redskins ranked third in the NFL last season with 21 interceptions, but look to improve on that number in 2013. Look for those contributions to come from all corners of the defense.
The Redskins wrap up the second week of OTA practices today, with one more week of phase three OTA conditioning left. Next week will hold largely the same schedule in advance of the mandatory mini-camp during the second week of June..
Coaches and scouts will continue to review film of the six OTA practices so far and tweak prepartion in advance of training camp.
All draft picks are signed, but with waiver moves constantly in motion and the June 1 roster date upcoming, a roster shuffle could still be on the horizon. Keep it locked to Redskins.com for the latest offseason news and notes.