Starting Sunday, the Redskins will play host to the New York Jets in Richmond, Va., for joint training camp practices. It’s the third time in the last five years that Washington will mix it up with another team, and head coach Jay Gruden sees great value in it.
“It’s good for the offensive line,” Gruden said. “Our young center, Chase [Roullier] will have the chance to make some calls against different looks and go against different types of players. Just to get a different look, a different perspective on how they do things.”
Gruden went on to praise Jets head coach Todd Bowles, calling him “one of the best defensive coaches in football.” He believes the Jets defense will offer a great learning opportunity for the Redskins.
“The Jets have a great run defense, they always have,” Gruden said. “Their safeties are very, very good over there, so we have to account for them. There’s a lot of things that they do differently that we’ll have to account for and it’ll be interesting to see how we adjust. I think everybody will get a good challenge against these guys.”
The group session will feature situational practice, including numerous 7-on-7 periods in order to see different coverages.
“Third-down, red zone, two-minute [drill]. That’s what it’s really all about. More situational-type stuff, going against different opponents than live,” Gruden said.
Gruden also hinted at the possibility of a live session with the second or third string units. “I’ll talk to Coach Bowles about that. That’s not for sure yet,” he said.
Redskins running back Rob Kelley noted the value of going against fresh talent and playing styles, especially after nearly three weeks of playing against the same teammates who know his moves and tendencies.
“When you do the same thing you kind of learn how they move and now you’re going to get someone different, now you’ve got to think of your game,” Kelley said. “Kind of like a preseason game, but no points being made.”
Kelley looks forward to an increase in intensity in the upcoming days.
“You get to go against some other guys, you don’t really have too much to worry about like, ‘Oh, that’s my guy, I’m going to take it easy on him.’ And they’re probably doing the same thing, so you get a little bit more of competitiveness out there. See new faces and get out of your comfort zone.”
Redskins left tackle Trent Williams also believes that the joint practices will ratchet up the intensity.
“You get to see a lot of those people who are battling for a roster spot on both organizations. You can see how competitive it really is,” Williams said. “You’ve got to fight to put food on the table.”
Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan likes how working against a different team forces him to adapt to a different kind of pass rush and technique. He also mentioned the benefit of going against different lineman’s sets.
“I will be seeing a couple different lineman’s sets, so that will allow me to see where I’m at in terms of my variation and variety of moves."
The Jets will be in Richmond for three days prior to heading to FedExField on Thursday night for a preseason matchup against the Redskins at 8 p.m.