1. Among the missing at OTAs Thursday: corner Josh Wilson (thigh) and running back Tristan Davis (knee). Linebacker Perry Riley (groin), running backs Roy Helu (hamstring) and Evan Royster (groin/hamstring) and Tim Hightower (knee) did not practice. Defensive end Adam Carriker (blisters) also sat out again. And receiver Leonard Hankerson (hip) participated in individual drills only. Coach Mike Shanahan said Hankerson will not go full speed in practice until training camp opens in late July.
2. It’s easy to find reasons why London Fletcher is still a top player at age 37. And Thursday we saw another one. Actually, it’s really just the same old theme: The guy is an intense competitor, regardless if it’s in a June OTA or a regular season game.
For starters, he took a terrific angle on a Robert Griffin III bootleg to the left, chasing the QB out of bounds after only a couple yard gain (at most). But that wasn’t just it. Later in a two-minute drill (on a play to the opposite sideline from where we stood) a ballcarrier was stopped after a couple yards. As the players returned to the huddle, Fletcher yelled for the clock to stop.
“He was out of bounds!” Fletcher shouted. Did it again. And again. Apparently the coaches ruled the ballcarrier was still in bounds, but the point of it was this: Fletcher cared (others did too, of course, but he sets the tone). And he implored his defensive mates to make a stop on the next play.
3. For the second straight week the best looking quarterback in camp was Rex Grossman. That should be the case given his experience (I also remember someone from Chicago one saying how great he’d look in 7-on-7 drills). But the best throws of the day belonged to Grossman. One that stood out and showed his trust and experience. Brandon Banks ran an out route to the left. Grossman first looked to his right, then threw the ball before Banks even cut. After he broke, the ball arrived beating tight coverage.
4. Grossman also made a perfect pass to tight end Niles Paul in the left corner. He easily beat DeJon Gomes on the play.Those two also hooked up on a wheel route (helped by blown coverage) down the left sideline.
5. It’s hard to get a good feel for many players until they put pads on, but Madieu Williams has looked fine. Each OTA we’ve seen, he’s broken up a play or two. Of course, today it was a pass to Antwon Bailey at the goal-line. Williams has a six-inch height advantage over him. But it’s really hard to gauge a safety until live action. Need to see their run fits and how they react in coverage in a live setting.
6. Redskins safety Reed Doughty said this about safety Brandon Meriweather: “Brandon they brought in to start. He has a lot of talent… You can tell he has a lot of confidence. I don’t think he’s worried about anything other than being a playmaker.”
Meriweather is a strong safety; Tanard Jackson and Williams likely will compete to start at free safety. Gomes does not look like he’s at their level. Still seeing issues in coverage with him.
7. A few quotes about moving camp to Richmond:
Robert Griffin III: “It’s gonna be cool. Change is a good thing I guess. … It’s not like we have any say in that. It’s not like I said, ‘Hey my grandma lives there let’s move it.’ It’ll be fun. It’s a good bonding experience so I’m all for it.”
Chris Cooley: “We’ve always done camp here and camp has changed a lot over the progression of football. We’ve gotten away from two-a-days. I don’t hate it here, but on the same hand I go to a bed in a hotel room eight minutes from my own bed and I’m gonna turn 30 in July and I’m still gonna have someone knock on my door at 11 o’clock and say, ‘Are you there?’ It’ll be easier if I’m a long way from home and have someone wake me up than being eight minutes from home.”
Mike Shanahan: “It gives players a chance to spend three weeks together. A lot of people ask what the difference is, but when you do have down time you spend it in a hotel or in a dorm and players spend more time together. In my experience through the years even though it’s only three weeks it’s a great time to bond and get to know each other.”
8. OK, forgot to put this in Thursday, but because everyone likes QB updates, here's another. And I'm not sure who should feel worse about this one: rookie Kirk Cousins or safety Tanard Jackson. First, Cousins threw an ugly ball to the right sidelines for running back Alfred Morris. It should have been intercepted with ease. But somehow Jackson sprinting past missed the ball. The pass shouldn't have been thrown; it should have been a pick six. Instead it was an incompletion.
9. Finally, Shanahan is anxious to have Redskins Park upgraded.
“You always want a state of the art facility,” he said. “You want players to come in and enjoy coming to work… We want free agents to come here and say, ‘What a great facility. I can see me coming here and getting better as a player.”
That sounds good, but free agents came here regardless of the facility for a big reason: money.
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