The first week of OTAs are significant for several reasons. Rookies continue their transition into the NFL, veteran newcomers familiarize themselves with the Redskins' system and coaches receive their initial look at the players they'll be working closely with.
For third-year tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, however, the opening three days of voluntary team activities were more opportunities to stand out. The former fifth-round pick has appeared in 27 games (14 starts) in his NFL career -- making seven receptions for 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns --- but he yearns to make an even bigger impact this fall.
“It was great,” said Sprinkle on the first day of OTAs on Monday. “I have most of the offense down with a few tweaks here and there. For the most part I feel good being able to come out here and play fast, knowing the system, and continuing to show the coaches what I’m doing.”
The 6-foot-5 Arkansas alumnus is comfortable with change. He has played with three different quarterbacks in his three years in Washington, which he said has made building chemistry more difficult. Still, Sprinkle does not seem phased by the current quarterback situation -- a group that includes first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins and veteran Case Keenum and Colt McCoy. Sprinkle's confidence stems from head coach Jay Gruden being able to adapt the offensive scheme to whomever lines up under center.
"Our system is good with quarterbacks," Sprinkle said, "so I feel that whichever quarterback comes in is always a good fit for us.”
The most intriguing storyline among the signal-callers is Haskins, who many view as the Redskins' quarterback of the future. And in his brief time working with Haskins so far, Sprinkle has been impressed by his size and arm strength, among other things.
“He’s big and he sits back there in the pocket," Sprinkle said. "He threw a couple balls to me and they had a zip on them. He’s pretty accurate and he’s been looking good.”
Sprinkle also plays a critical role along with the offensive line in protecting whichever quarterback ends up starting. With injuries and various absences impacting the starting line at OTAs, Sprinkle has made the most of working with whoever lines up alongside him.
“I feel like the O-line we have out there is a bunch of reserves and backups, so playing with the other guys and building chemistry is always good,” said Sprinkle. “Whenever the guys get back we can all plug right in.”
As for the rookies, Sprinkle believes they've showing great promise on both sides of the ball and looks forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the coming weeks.
“They have been doing great,” Sprinkle said. "They have come out here knowing their stuff and playing fast, even going with the first team.”