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#SkinsCamp Day 11: Notes & Highlights

Posted Aug 6, 2014

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden on Tuesday said he saw improvement from his team in its second of three joint practices with the New England Patriots in Richmond, Va.

REDSKINS ON TV: Don’t forget to catch all the action between the Washington Redskins and the New England Patriots at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on NBC-4 and Comcast SportsNet!

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If Monday’s first day of joint practices with the New England Patriots was a learning experience, then Tuesday’s practice was a step in the right direction for the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins brought a little more intensity with them Tuesday to the Bon Secours Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., showing the ability to adjust as a team overall – and moving one step closer to Thursday evening’s preseason opener against the Patriots at FedExField.

“I was happy with the way we competed,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. “From a situational football standpoint out in the field, we competed a lot better.”

One day after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at times looked unstoppable in his team’s no-huddle offense, Gruden said the Redskins’ No. 1 defense watched the film and was able to be more disruptive in Tuesday’s practice, which lasted about three hours.

“No matter whether we would have had the sack or not, there’s a couple of times our defensive linemen are waiting there by the quarterback and not hitting him,” Gruden said, of Brady. “He’s standing back there all day, but doesn’t discount the fact that we’ve got to cover longer downfield and we’ve got to make sure we eliminate those big plays.”

Gruden said the goal for the defense coming out of the practice is to improve in the red zone, where Brady and the Patriots quarterbacks continued to have their way Tuesday.

“Obviously we have a lot of work to do in the red zone,” Gruden said. “Some of the drives we got some stops, but the red zone it just looked like we’re a little off-kilter for whatever reason. We’ll get it fixed.”

‘Ups and downs’
Offensively, Gruden said he continued to see things he liked – and some things that could be improved upon.

“We had some ups and downs,” the former quarterback said. “There were some issues with some grabbing back there, but overall I think they competed well.”

Gruden said the Redskins’ offensive line competed better on Tuesday, giving “ample protection” throughout practice. He also thought the team had an effective rushing attack for a second-straight day.

The offense also had several opportunities to work on situational drills, such as third-and-short, third-and-long, in the red zone and the two-minute drill.

“That’s something that’s not only good for our players but good for us to watch the situations and make good decisions with the clock – spiking it, when to call timeout, are we in field goal range?” Gruden said. “That was great work for everybody involved. The offensive line got some good work on stunts against another defense and one-on-ones and receivers did some one-on-ones against a physical group.”

Injury report
Three players were either limited or held out of Tuesday’s practice completely with hamstring issues, Gruden confirmed.

The injuries to those players – wide receiver Pierre Garçon and safeties Ryan Clark and Phillip Thomas – are not expected to be serious, however.

At the time of his post-practice press conference, Gruden was unable to give an update on the condition of cornerback Richard Crawford, who was taken into the trainer’s tent about halfway through practice and appeared to be favoring his knee.

Crawford did return to practice a short time later, however.

Grant continues strong camp
Among the standouts from Tuesday’s practice was rookie wide receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant – who was taken by the Redskins in the fifth round (142nd overall) of this year’s NFL Draft – caught several passes against the physical New England defensive backs, and also made one of the highlight plays of training camp when he burned Patriots cornerback Justin Green on a double move in one-on-one drills.

Gruden doesn’t want to “go crazy” this early in the preseason by heaping any lofty expectations on Grant, but he has been saying the Tulane product has been playing like a “10-year veteran.”

“He runs his routes at the right depth all the time. He’s got good strong hands,” Gruden said of Grant. “Obviously he’s got a lot to work on with his releases but overall his knowledge of the game, his knowledge of the position, understanding of route concepts and route discipline is not like a rookie – any rookie that I’ve been around, anyway.”

Depending on how many receivers the Redskins keep during the regular season, Grant has made a major push to be considered for the team’s No. 4 or 5 receiver, behind Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and Santana Moss.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III is also taking note of Grant’s talents, saying he “does a lot of things naturally and instinctively.”

Belichick speaks
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media prior to Tuesday’s practice, and complimented Gruden and his staff for the job they’ve done so far this season.

“The Redskins are a good team; they do a lot of things well and gave us a lot of challenges and certainly things we need to look at on film and correct and understand how to do better,” he said. “I thought that both teams worked well with each other. It was great work but also good cooperation.”

Belichick was asked if he’s given any advice to Gruden, who is in his first year as a head coach in the NFL. And, in classic Belichick form, he kept the cards close to the vest.

“Well first of all, I think Jay is a really good football coach. I think his record and his accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Belichick, whose first year as a head coach was in 1991 with the Cleveland Browns. “I don’t think he really needs any help from me. And any conversations that Jay and I have had are going to remain private between myself and Jay. I’m going to respect that.”

Another packed house
For a third-straight day, the Redskins recorded a training camp high in attendance.

On Tuesday, 21,665 fans attended practice, and here’s what they were “Oohing” and “Ahhing” about:

Wednesday’s schedule:
Wednesday’s practice schedule in Richmond features just one joint morning session with the Redskins and the Patriots, which begins at 8:35 a.m.

For those planning on going to Wednesday’s practice, remember you must have a ticket via the team’s lottery system for guaranteed access.

Like Monday and Tuesday, however, fans without tickets will be eligible to line up in a designated standby line near the entrance to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center along DMV Drive.

Fans in the standby line will be admitted on first-come, first-served basis according to available space and safety considerations, and are encouraged to arrive early.

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