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Five Takeaways: Jay Gruden 2017 OTAs, Day 2

Posted May 24, 2017

Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda provides five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, who spoke with the media on May 24, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda provides five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, who spoke with the media on May 24, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.


1. Gruden feels “good” about where the Redskins are currently.

Following five weeks of Phase 1 and Phase 2 workouts, neither of which allows for unit work, the Redskins returned to the field on Tuesday for the first week of OTAs.

During this time of the year, the Redskins are allowed to go through what is essentially a full practice session, as individual and unit drills are conducted and helmets are worn.

With quite a few new faces on the roster, OTAs is an “adjustment period,” but Gruden thinks the team is progressing nicely.

“I think that’s the most important thing, getting everybody on the same page, figuring out everybody’s strengths and weaknesses and get things corrected and go from there,” Gruden said. “I feel good with the energy level that these guys have, their ability to learn and their desire to work hard. It’s been good.”

2. Josh Doctson has been “impressive” so far.
Practicing in front of the media for the first time since last season, Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson looked fluid on the field during Wednesday’s OTA session in the Indoor Training Facility at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

Taking reps with both the first- and second-team offensive units, Doctson showed no residual effects from a rookie season stunted by multiple Achilles issues.

Doctson caught the very first ball thrown by Kirk Cousins in 11-on-11 work and later made arguably the best catch of the afternoon when he caught a deep pass following a nice move at the line of scrimmage to free himself from Dashaun Phillips’ coverage.

“I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he’s got that right now,” Gruden said. “I saw him out there today and yesterday, the last two days he’s looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field. He made a good catch down the sideline today and [he has] strong hands, we know that about him. Now we’ve just got to continue to put one day after another after another.”

Gruden added that if Doctson does have any soreness the team will have to “taper off for him,” but for now that hasn’t been the case.

“I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches,” Gruden said.

3. Junior Galette still has quite a bit of burst despite two different Achilles tears.
Like Doctson, Galette was back on the field Tuesday afternoon participating in individual and unit drills less than 12 months after a second torn Achilles took away yet another season from the talented linebacker.

Despite both of his Achilles being surgically reconstructed, Gruden noted that Galette still has the same quick-twitch fibers that allowed him to get 22 sacks combined during the 2013-14 seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

Gruden admittted he wasn't expecting to see this much of Galette this early into the year, but the Spellman College product continues to exceed expectations.

"He knows he’s got a little ways to go, but you can still see that he’s got the quick twitch, which you really need off the edge," Gruden said. "He can bend, and now as far as stamina goes, he’s going to continue to work to get in shape. But knowing Junior, the way he works and the way he trains and prepares, he’ll get himself into shape. The big thing is feeling confident in those Achilles, getting that burst back, which it looks like he’s got a lot of it back. It’s just a matter of maintaining that burst for a long period of time.”

4. D.J. Swearinger’s play has been exciting to see so far for Gruden and the defensive coaching staff.
Signed by the Redskins within the first 24 hours of free agency opening this year, Swearinger comes to Washington on the heels of his best NFL season to date.

During the 2016 campaign with the Arizona Cardinals, the 25-year-old recorded 66 tackles with eight passes defensed, three interceptions and two sacks.

Paired with Su'a Cravens in the backend of the secondary, Swearinger is going to provide the Redskins a talented safety defenses must gameplan around.

“He just looks like a safety back there,” Gruden said. “No offense to the previous safeties we’ve had before, but I just think D.J. is to a level in his career right now where he’s got a lot of confidence. He has got a lot of talent. We know that he’s a physical guy, but as far as coverages and breaking up things, he’s got a lot of confidence and I think he’s going to really, really emerge as a top safety not only for this team but in this league.”

5. OTAs give Cousins and Terrelle Pryor Sr. additional opportunities to find their rhythm.
With Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson no longer members of the Redskins, Cousins will have to build strong relationships with some of the new and returning weapons on the outside.

One of those players, of course, is Pryor, who comes to Washington following a 1,000-yard season in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns.

Despite it being his first full season at a new positon and despite the fact that he caught passes from five different quarterbacks, Pryor was centerpiece in the Browns’ offense.

Now with the Redskins following a reported one-year deal signed in free agency, Pryor is expected to be a big-time playmaker in Washington’s offense.

Before he can go out and build off his breakout season, though, Pryor needs to gain his footing with Cousins as his quarterback.

“First and foremost, we have to get the system of plays that we’re running and get Terrelle up to speed and how we want things run split-wise, depth-wise, how we want him coming out of breaks, and then are there are certain throws down the field that we have to get adjusted to – some of the back-shoulder fades, the opportunity balls that Terrelle really makes look easy that are harder to throw if you haven’t thrown them before,” Gruden said. “That’s an adjustment period we’ll have to go through. We’ll keep pushing the envelope out here at practice and try to get good at everything. Terrelle is a different target and gives us some different options down the field, but we do have to get him squared away on some of the fundamental route concepts that we have.”

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