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Redskins practice report, Day 18: Fan appreciation day

Redskins practice report, Day 18: Fan appreciation day

RICHMOND—It was Fan Appreciation Day here and 7,130 fans turned out. They watched a practice that has some entertaining moments; here are my observations:

—OT Trent Williams was held out of practice with a knee injury. It was nothing serious; according to Jay Gruden he probably could have practiced but he was held out as a precaution. Willie Smith and rookie Takoby Cofield took snaps at left tackle in his place.

—Rookie Austin Reiter was lined up at center during a run blocking drill and was calling audibles at the line. That is a lot of pressure for a young player and it’s an underrated part of learning the position.

—Wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard pulled WR Rashad Ross aside for some individual instruction. It’s usually a good sign when your position coach is taking the time to give you pointers; he usually doesn’t do that to guys who don’t have a shot.

—OLB Junior Galette made his first appearance in pads for the Redskins and he participated in 11 on 11 drills. He didn’t do anything spectacular in very limited action. After practice, he said that he hopes to play in the Redskins’ third preseason game in Baltimore on Saturday, August 29.

—In a move that I have never seen, the players took off their pads about halfway through practice. Some switched to shells (lighter pads), others went with no pads.

—They went to seven on seven work and Robert Griffin III put on a nice show. First he dropped back and launched a bomb to Ross. The pass seemed almost effortless and it was right on the money to the receiver. Then he did the same thing again, throwing to WR Tony Jones. Then he went down the left sideline to Pierre Garçon. Although there was no pass pressure, the passes were delivered on time and in rhythm. A good showing by Griffin.

—The pass to Jones did not end well for the offense, however. CB DeAngelo Hall was beaten on the play but he recovered to knock the ball out of Jones’ hands after the catch. Hall came up with the ball for the turnover.

Colt McCoy had a tough day, getting picked off twice. During seven on seven work CB Everett Deshazor made a nice grab of one of McCoy’s throws to the flat. Later in full team drills he tried to fit one in across the middle but CB Tajh Hasson make the interception. After Kirk Cousins had a good preseason game on Thursday, the pressure is on McCoy if he wants to stay in competition for the second QB job.

—With the Redskins having lost both Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen for the season, they are looking for anyone who can play tight end. They had tackle Tom Compton lined up there for a few plays. He played tight end in a few games last year and can provide an extra blocker when needed.

—In some red zone work, Griffin passed through a tight window to complete one to WR Evan Spencer and then he ran it into the end zone on a quarterback draw.

Kai Forbath’s training camp got off to a rough start when it came to making field goals but he recovered last week, going eight for eight in practice and then kicking two field goals, including a 52 yarder, in Cleveland. But he regressed today, missing three of four tries. He was good from 33 yards, but then missed from 35, 40, and 43.

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Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.

Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.

Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW

Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return. 

Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games. 

The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury. 

MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

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