Redskins notes and analysis

Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

1. Tight end Chris Cooley did not participate in the final practice of minicamp (Redskins coach Mike Shanahan called off the Thursday practice) because of a “slight hamstring” Shanahan said. Earlier in OTAs Cooley dealt with a slight groin issue. But Shanahan said the one positive is that Cooley’s knee continues to show no signs of swelling. Nor has he needed to have any fluid drained.

“Anytime you go full speed, especially running routes, it’s not unusual for guys to have a little setback here and there, but this is very minor,” Shanahan said.

2. Shanahan said he expects everyone to be ready to practice the first day of training camp, including receiver Leonard Hankerson. In fact, Shanahan said Hankerson could have practiced during the minicamp – he participated in individual drills – but they opted for caution. “I’m glad we didn’t try to push him or overwork him because we could set him back,” Shanahan said.

3. DeAngelo Hall had a (mostly) outstanding day in coverage, jumping a crossing route to tight end Fred Davis and intercepting Robert Griffin III. He deflected an earlier pass to Santana Moss from Griffin, with good leverage inside. OK, Hall did give up one big play: Aldrick Robinson ran an out-and-up and caught a pass from Kirk Cousins. Looked like he would have been down just inside the 1-yard line. It was a good example of a play Robinson would not have made last summer; it showed good route-running and speed.

4. Robinson later made a nice leaping grab in the back of the end zone on a pass from Griffin. If Robinson wants to make the roster he also must show well in the return game. But he flashed as a receiver this spring (which also must continue this summer).

5. The defense in general looked good Wednesday, with Chase Minnifield again showing good coverage skills. This time he covered Anthony Armstrong, coming from his outside hip, to defend the pass. Another time he almost intercepted Rex Grossman with good zone coverage, reading the play well.

6. Rookie Richard Crawford did a good job sinking on one coverage and nearly made a leaping interception of a Grossman pass. Grossman, though, connected with Terrence Austin on a deep post against Crawford, in zone coverage as a safety and corner Trent Morgan, who had deep half coverage.

7. Josh LeRibeus is new to center and one area he’ll have to improve on: shotgun snaps. Had trouble with a couple over the last two days. But he’s worked a lot at all three interior line positions.

8. Not sure I’ve ever seen a tight end get held more than Niles Paul coming off the line. Seemed like every day someone was grabbing his jersey. Paul’s speed isn’t always obvious – he was covered well on one route by Bryan Kehl. But you really saw the speed on one play. First: It shouldn’t have happened. Grossman would have been sacked on the play and he ended up having like six seconds to throw. But Paul turned and sprinted upfield vs. London Fletcher for a big catch.

9. Brandon Banks won’t just make the team as a returner this season. So says Shanahan. “I called him in early and I told him that he was going to have to help us at the wide receiver position as well if he wanted to make this football team. And he accepted a challenge and came in in excellent shape, and it’s really positive what he’s done.  Hopefully he can continue to do it.” Shanahan said Banks added 10 pounds. But he wasn’t necessarily a standout at receiver during the practices open to the media.

10. One thing that is clear: Santana Moss appears safe. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan raved about him Wednesday. Shanahan raves about a lot of players, sometimes even when it’s undeserved. But this one was legit as he even called him one of the “premier” slot receivers in the league.

Actually, once Shanahan said Moss had lost 15 pounds that was a good sign. The coaches needed him to regain his speed and he got a little out of shape last season. And then seeing him in the first OTA workout… he just looked quicker. I have no idea why you’d get rid of a guy like that right now.

11. Wednesday's RG3 report.



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