The Redskins know they need to score more touchdowns in the red zone this season. It's been a point of emphasis throughout training camp, and was again on display during Wednesday's practice session.
Jay Gruden shouted out to the offense, "First and 10. No timeouts. 20 seconds left," and the coach lined the ball up about the 20-yard-line. Kirk Cousins came out to the field, and on consecutive passes, fired to slot receiver Jamison Crowder.
The third year wideout out of Duke caught the first ball and promptly stepped out of bounds, a result of about an 8-yard gain. On the next play, Cousins fired a pass into Crowder's belly, and the receiver bounced untouched into the end zone.
The two plays were textbook, and Gruden grinned. Crowder makes a big difference for the Redskins offense when he's on the field, and meshes very well with the quick triggered Cousins.
More notes and observations below:
- Lots of different combinations for the Redskins on the defensive line. It's hard to tell who would start, but Jonathan Allen continues to impress. Matt Ioannidis and Anthony Lanier as well from the end spot. Phil Taylor's incredibly journey back to the NFL keeps on running, as he seems to have secured the top nose tackle job.
- Zach Brown showed how good he can be, registering a near interception during 11v11 coverage on Niles Paul. His speed from side to side stands out on the practice field, and he has plenty of pop against the run and lead blockers.
- I've seen this a few different times: In nickel coverage, Preston Smith slides in, lines up in a three-point stance and plays alongside Ryan Kerrigan. Interesting look that could give defenses fits.
- Trent Murphy's injury might have helped the roster prospects of Chris Carter. At inside linebacker, Carter was stuck behind Brown, Will Compton, Mason Foster and Martrell Spaight. Now running with the OLBs, maybe there is a spot with Murphy gone for the year. Carter showed good burst going against Ty Nsekhe, and even got some reps with the first team. Some of that might have been because rookie Ryan Anderson didn't practice Wednesday, but Carter is maximizing his opportunity.
- Don't look now, but rookie Montae Nicholson is making some folks take notice. He is very big for the safety spot and has great speed. He has a ton to learn but a strong tool set.
- Quarterback play wasn't great during Wednesday's session, but Cousins delivered late in the practice session. Nate Sudfeld and Colt McCoy didn't have particularly sharp practices.
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