Day 2 of Redskins rookie minicamp saw the team's newest and youngest players get another day to show off their skills and begin to adapt to a new system. It also gave the opportunity to hear from head coach Jay Gruden as the new season begins to pick up. Here are some takeaways from what he had to say.
1. Gruden is excited to get to work with Haskins
Bringing in a new quarterback, especially one with Haskins' background, is always an exciting storyline to follow for the fans. However, for the head coach, implementing a new man to lead your offense can be a daunting task at times. Yet it seems that Gruden is in the same boat as the Redskins faithful.
“I think it’s just kind of neat to have a quarterback here that you draft that high, and you come in here and give him a set of plays and go out there, work with him and watch him spin it," Gruden said of his first days coaching Haskins. "It’s just been a treat.”
The head coach was impressed with Haskins' first two days of work, saying that he's shown he has the ability to make all the throws, even "some throws that turn your head.” Though its been a small sample size, Gruden seems eager to continue to prime his young passer.
2. There will be an open competition at QB
This one doesn't come as a huge surprise, as Gruden has stated before that taking a quarterback in the first round shows that the starter spot is open for the taking. He emphasized this once again on Saturday.
“We’re gonna go at it. Throw the ball out there, let those guys compete," Gruden said. "He’s obviously displayed enough of a skill set to warrant the 15th pick in the draft and to give him an opportunity to see how far he can this thing, without a doubt.”
An open competition, however, doesn't essentially mean the job is Haskins' to lose. Gruden was also complimentary of his other two quarterbacks in the running, praising Case Keenum's veteran experience and Colt McCoy's familiarity with the offense.
With a whole lot of work still to be done, all three will have a chance to prove that they should be the guy. As Gruden said, “Competition will be there."
3. Gruden really, really, REALLY likes Montez Sweat
When a question about the No. 26 overall pick's first two days was prompted, Gruden's demeanor lit up in a way that is similar to how I feel when I discover leftovers at 2 a.m. Raving about his athletic ability, Gruden really likes Montez Sweat.
“Yeah I have no doubt he’s going to play a lot. Obviously the skill set that he has is quite evident," Gruden said. "You see his length and then you watch him run after practice he’s probably faster than anyone we have right now.”
The speed is something that really seems to have caught Gruden's eye. While the coach knows it will take some time for Sweat to mentally learn the defense, he's been impressed with his quickness. He also made sure to point out that he's not talking about linebacker-fast, he's talking about fast-fast.
“He’s just fast, he’s fast. He eats up ground when he runs," Gruden said about Sweat. "It’s like three strides, he’s all the way across the field. It’s crazy.”
4. The young wide receivers have impressed
There's no denying the fact that the Redskins need help at the receiver position. In this year's draft, they worked to address that by drafting Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon to bolster the depth and add some explosiveness. Through the preliminary showings, they've proved they can do just that.
With McLaurin, Gruden sees the potential of a reliable, big-play receiver for anybody under center.
“Terry was very, very impressive in these two days with his speed, ability to get off jams and make plays down the field," Gruden said. "Easy guy to throw to, fast and big.”
As for Harmon, it was his size that immediately stuck out to Gruden. Explaining that while on tape Harmon's size may not always stick out, he's seen a big target that is "a very quarterback-friendly talent."
That big size will help Harmon work on the outside, but Gruden also sees a path to him lining up elsewhere. Comparing him to a former standout receiver he worked with in Cincinnati, Gruden has plans to use the NC State product in a variety of ways.
“He didn’t do a lot of inside work at NC State, but I think there’s a place for him where he can work on the inside,“ Gruden said. "Very similar to Mo[hamed] Sanu...very similar in my opinion.”
5. The rookies carry talent, but also leadership
Though having the talent to perform at the highest level plays a large role in how a team evaluates talent, personality traits including leadership can be more telling on how the player is going to turn out in the long run. This is something that Gruden and his staff took into consideration when drafting this year, choosing multiple players who were captains during their collegiate careers.
“It’s very beneficial, really," Gruden said about bringing in players with past leadership experience. "It’s not so much, we didn’t exactly only target captains, but if it’s close between two players and one of them is a two-year captain at wide receiver with the skill-set that Terry had, it’s an easy pick.”
“When you find good players that also are good people and good leaders, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
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