Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels and Andre Earls break down the key plays and highlights from Day 9 of the Washington Redskins' 2018 training camp in Richmond, Va.
-- As the first preseason game approaches, head coach Jay Gruden gave some updates on injury concerns with his players. Right tackle Morgan Moses sat out of practice Sunday after getting his foot stepped on yesterday. Wide receiver Josh Doctson mostly worked on individual drills Sunday as he slowly works his way back from his recent shoulder injury. Running back Chris Thompson will not play in Thursday’s preseason opener, though he’s still running well. Defensive players have been mostly treating him like a quarterback and trying to avoid making too much contact with him.
-- Sunday gave more opportunities for the second and third stringers on the roster, and once again some of the younger receivers took advantage of the extra reps with quarterback Alex Smith. Robert Davis started out practice with a deep touchdown pass down the sideline right after Maurice Harris grabbed an impressive pass jumping above cornerback Greg Stroman and snatching the ball above the defender’s helmet.
-- Later in practice, as the offense had the opportunity to drive down the field, Smith found wide receiver Paul Richardson Jr. on a slant route just ahead of Josh Norman’s outstretched hand. It’s an impressive throw, one made as Smith was stepping up into the pocket slightly off balance, one he’s made several times in camp so far. The next play he went the same direction on the same route, this time to Robert Davis. The offense couldn’t convert anything more beyond that, but those couple of throws are good reminders of Smith’s accuracy.
-- The offense started out the second portion of team drills trying to escape from their own goal line. Smith ran an option play and pitched to running back Rob Kelley, which seemed to catch the defense off guard (this would probably not have taken place in a game) and he picked up some nice yardage. This was primarily an opportunity to call some run plays in that area of the field in preparation for Thursday, as Samaje Perine, Derrius Guice and Byron Marshall all got some reps running and catching the ball.
-- Consistent with head coach Jay Gruden’s comments during yesterday’s presser, defensive tackle Daron Payne was seen during team stretches, and did individual work outs with the training staff for the remainder of practice. Cornerback Adonis Alexander is day-to-day with a tweaked hamstring, and also didn’t practice. Most notably, safety D.J. Swearinger was not in pads at practice today, in what we can assume was a veteran’s day off. Special teams captain Deshazor Everett took full advantage of those first team snaps at free safety and looked very much in control of the defense and his assignments.
-- The day started with 7-on-7 drills, with things getting a little physical near the goal line. In Swearinger’s absence, veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick made sure to pipe up the physical play and trash talk.“He only got two yards!” the veteran said, in response to an out route caught by Robert Davis.
-- After a short break, 11-on-11 drills ensued and the physical play continued. Arguably the hardest hit from the day came from linebacker Ryan Anderson, who hit tight end Manasseh Garner hard on the turf on a crossing route.
-- A majority of the action came from the second unit. It’s important to note that running back Derrius Guice took second team reps today, while Rob Kelley saw a majority of first-team reps. That meant the second-team defensive line headed by Pernell McPhee, Ziggy Hood, Tim Settle, and Anthony Lanier was in for a challenge.
-- Since the beginning of training camp, fourth-year pro Martrell Spaight had been coming on with the third team. Today, he got the opportunity to get some second team reps, and he didn't disappoint with a nice tackle on running back Samaje Perine. Spaight, in tandem with Ryan Anderson and Zach Vigil, really held down the second-team defense, providing more depth in the linebacker corps.Gruden also mentioned at his press conference how much he likes rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton, who is still working his way back to full health from an ACL tear last year at Alabama.
-- Also someone to watch was rookie safety Troy Apke, who made some nice open field touch-tackles on the second team. Gruden has been high on the Penn-State rookie all camp, and today was a day he really got to display his abilities. After only being acquired two days ago, linebacker Dadi Nicolas is already taking second-team snaps, and playing with a high level intensity. Throughout the day, the third-year player was involved in at least 10 tackles.
-- The unit worked on more fundamentals on punt coverage and field goal blocks, as Dustin Hopkins took a day off from kicking field goals to close out practice.