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Redskins practice report Day 13: Good day for RG3, with an asterisk

Redskins practice report Day 13: Good day for RG3, with an asterisk

RICHMOND—It was hot and sticky as the Redskins made their final preparations for their preseason opener in Cleveland in two days. Here are my observations from practice and some quotes from around the Bon Secours training center:

—The players were not in pads, although some wore shells. This is typical for a regular season Friday practice, two days before a game.

—It seems like the tight ends spend a lot more time working on blocking this year than they do on catching. The group moved from a blocking drill with the offensive tackles to one with just the tight ends. Although I can’t say for sure since I didn’t measure the time spent in any way, it appears that blocking is more of a priority than it was before.

Robert Griffin III was about as sharp as he has been all summer, completing seven of seven passes in 11 on 11 work. It should be noted that since they were not wearing pads they were not going at full speed. Still, the Redskins have run practices at similar speeds during this camp and Griffin has not been as sharp.

—Griffin also had a perfect completion percentage during seven on seven work. He capped his six for six session with a 50-yard bomb to Pierre Garçon, who had beaten safety Duke Ihenacho. The pass settled into the receiver’s arms as soon as he crossed the goal line.

—When it was his turn, Kirk Cousins executed a similar pass. He lofted it to receiver Rashad Ross, who had a step on his defender. The pass was on target but the ball bounced out of Ross’ arms.

—Back in full team drills, Griffin threw one deep to Niles Paul, who had beaten linebacker Adam Hayward. The pass was on target and Paul “scored” easily.

Kai Forbath had his second straight strong showing in field goal kicking at the end of practice. He split the uprights on all four of his attempts, from 30, 33, 38, and 40 yards

Notable quotables:

Jordan Reed sees that things are settling down as his unit enters its second year working in Jay Gruden’s offense: “Everybody is where they need to be at. There aren’t as much questions for the coaches. Guys are just getting to a lot smoother.” How does quarterback Robert Griffin III look to him? “He looks real comfortable, man. His grasp of the offense seems pretty tight and he seems like he’s got it.”

—Injuries have forced the Redskins to scramble at cornerback. They signed two new corners last week and they moved wide receiver Quinton Dunbar to cornerback as well. Safety Duke Ihenacho was asked what the biggest issue is with the changes: “Slower communication. Sometimes you got to reiterate a check. If it’s a young guy, it’s like, ‘what’s that mean?’ Some guys just got here a week ago, they haven’t been here all offseason so we’re trying to catch them up to speed, they just have to learn the whole playbook. So when they’re out there with us, the veterans, there’s not just one guy out there, it’s two or three and it was hard to communicate.”

—Preseason openers are old hat to the veterans. But to players like rookie fourth-round pick G Arie Kouandjio they are something special: “I plan on playing a lot. . . I want to diminish as many mistakes as I can. I just want to play to the best of my ability, I just want to go out there and let my hair loose . . . and just play ball.”

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.