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Practice Notes: 2018 #SkinsCamp, Day 11

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Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels and Andre Earls break down the key plays and highlights from Day 11 of the Washington Redskins' 2018 training camp in Richmond, Va.

Offense:

-- The final practice of training camp before the first preseason game dealt primarily with game simulation, preparing the majority of the second and third string units for the flow of substitutions and unit changes. The first-team offense worked a little more during the first half of practice before Colt McCoy and Kevin Hogan led the way for the rest of the session.

-- One of the major questions entering the first preseason game will be who protects the quarterbacks along the line. Right now it’s unclear how long head coach Jay Gruden plans to have his starting unit in the game. Regardless, it looks as though Ty Nsekhe could be the opening starter at left tackle and Geron Christian Sr. could start at right tackle against the Patriots. That’s how they opened practice with Alex Smith under center. Later with the second unit, Christian moved over to left tackle, already proving to be a versatile and valuable pick for the team in the third round as it looks to fill the void left by Trent Williams and Morgan Moses as they get stronger in their recovery from surgery.

-- After Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, the tight end position will need to rely on Jeremy Sprinkle to carry the load. He’s been having a solid camp catching the ball, and will likely get some opportunities on Thursday. Throughout practice on Tuesday, he did line up beside the tackle during some run plays, and he’ll need to still fill a run-blocking role considering Reed and Davis are both better as receivers.

-- It was a busier day for the wide receivers lower on the depth chart, as McCoy and Hogan continue to adjust to their catching partners. Trey Quinn made a nice play on a slant route picking up a corner blitz from Fabian Moreau and connected for 10 yards. He had a similar play to close practice, grabbing a touchdown on another slant, and Simmie Cobbs closed out a drive with a score, too. Starting wideouts Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder were on the field today after sitting out recently with separate injuries. Crowder has been nursing a tight groin, and Gruden doesn’t expect him to play Thursday, while Doctson has been slowly getting back from a bruised heel after it was stepped on when he fell hard onto his shoulder last week.

-- Jake Kring-Schreifels

Defense:

-- Still on track for head coach Jay Gruden’s 2-3 week diagnosis, defensive lineman Daron Payne was back on the practice field for the first time since injuring his ankle. While he didn’t actually get reps in on 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills, he did participate in team stretches, as well as individual drills. When asked after practice about preseason, he showed clear signs of disappointment that he wouldn’t be playing vs. the New England Patriots in Week 1, but is hopeful to be back for the end of preseason.

-- Notably mentioned in Gruden’s morning presser was that safety D.J. Swearinger Sr. has been dealing with some hamstring soreness. While we thought his absence was simply just a “veterans day off,” the tweaked hamstring was the main contributor to his brief absence the past couple of practice. Regardless of the concerns with the minor injury, Swearinger did practice today, taking a minimal amount of reps at his usual free safety spot with the first team. Swearinger will have at least a few days to fully recover, seeing as Gruden stated that he would not play in the first preseason game.

-- The second and third-team defensive backs played with extra enthusiasm today, recognizing that the coaching staff is in the process of making snap-count decisions for Week 1 of preseason. Virginia Tech rookie cornerback Greg Stroman made the best play of practice, grabbing an interception off Colt McCoy on a pass intended for Cam Sims. Towards the end of practice during 11-on-11 team drills, first year safety Fish Smithson also had a great defensive play on a ball thrown by Kevin Hogan.

-- One of the most up-in-the-air position battles falls on this year’s linebacker groups. While defensive tackling leaders Zach Brown and Mason Foster can be categorized as locks to make the roster, Martrell Spaight, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Zach Vigil and others were are all seen taking a substantial volume of snaps on the first and second team. The preseason should be a good time to see who starts to rise to the top.

-- Tuesday wasn’t the most physical day of practice for the defense, and it seemed as though the practice consisted more of walkthroughs and other play concepts in preparation for Thursday. As training camp begins to come to a close, all eyes are on the second and third-team players to prove their worth.

-- Andre Earls

Special Teams:

-- Both Tress Way and Dustin Hopkins had multiple opportunities to kick on Tuesday as the team simulated real drives and game scenarios. Hopkins made all his field goals, the longest coming from around 45 yards. Greg Stroman and Maurice Harris were back for punt returns, and will likely get those opportunities against the Patriots.

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