Here are five things I’ll be looking for at today’s OTA session at Redskins Park, which is open to the media:
Spencer Long at right guard—He will line up with the first team after last week’s departure of Chris Chester. Last year Jay Gruden let it be known that Long had the opportunity to push past Chester on the depth chart but he never could quite do it. This year they apparently think he is ready. They’re not in pads yet so it will be an incomplete picture of where he is in his development but we can see how he fits in with the starters.
Robert Griffin III’s consistency—Last week the quarterback was not bad, not great. That was fine for the first OTA, the first time the offense had lined up against the defense and Griffin had a chance to put together the classroom learning and the individual drills that he has been working on. But progress is expected and he should be a little bit more confident and effective than he was last week.
Jerrell Powe and Willie Smith—These are two young veterans signed this week who could be more than camp fodder. Powe could push for a backup nose tackle spot and Smith, who broke into the NFL in 2011 when he made the Redskins as an undrafted rookie, will compete for one of the spots as a reserve tackle. Both have started some NFL games so they are worth keeping an eye on.
Duke Ihenacho at strong safety—The coaches appear to be intrigued by Ihenacho, who started in a Super Bowl for the Broncos after the 2013 season. I have not see him work much since he came to the Redskins just before the season started and was on injured reserve a few weeks later. It will be interesting to see what he can do.
Preston Smith coverage—I want to see him dropping back and see how he does there. His ability to do that will go a long way towards determining how much he will play this year. If teams know he has to pass rush when he is in at linebacker that will limit what the defense can do to confuse the opposing quarterback. It also would mean that Ryan Kerrigan would have to drop back in coverage more and he’s more impactful moving forwards, not backwards.
I suppose I could add a sixth item and say I’m looking forward to hearing what DeSean Jackson has to say about missing the first week of OTAs last week. But I find it difficult to gin up much enthusiasm about being absent for three days of voluntary work. Jackson has no obligation to explain himself to the media or anyone except possibly his coaches and teammates.
Today’s practice starts at 11:15. Look for practice tweets from me @Rich_TandlerCSN and colleague @TarikCSN, my practice report after it’s over, and reports on what the players and Jay Gruden had to say. Oh, and look for some pictures and videos on the Real Redskins Facebook page and @RichTandler on Instagram.