Redskins

Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 13, 43 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Minicamp quotes and comments

Here are some of Jay Gruden’s answers at this press conference yesterday along with my comments. 

On the players who spent practice rehabbing injuries off to the side:

“We’re very positive in their recovery right now. They’ve all worked extremely hard. Trent [Williams] came in here and has shown great progress, great strength. So I don’t see any reason why these guys won’t be ready for training camp.”

Comment: Along with Williams (knee), some other players working on the side were OT Morgan Moses (ankles) and TE Jordan Reed (toe). None of them seemed to have any difficulty getting around and there were no crutches of big braces being used. Of course, it’s a long way from being able to walk normally to being able to put your legs through the pounding of playing NFL football. As of right now, there is no reason to doubt what Gruden said but nothing is certain until camp gets underway on July 26.

On if he expects Alex Smith to be proficient in the offense “by midseason”:

“He has got to get it down by the first game. So, I think he is already close to having it down for the most part . . . We are not in here to build the team around him, the team is built and he has to lead it like right now. This isn’t a two- or three-year process. This is a one-year process and we have got to win right away.”

 

Comment: Being a veteran getting paid a lot of money, Smith should get no grace period to adjust. He has to be effective right out of the gate. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be better in Week 10 than he is in Week 1, but he has to be at least very competent from the very first snap.

On what needs to happen for the team to stop the run after upgrading some personnel:

“Stopping the run, it’s a team thing. It’s an 11-man deal. You have got to be in your right gap. You can’t abort your gap and leave somebody on an island or what have you. So, it’s up to the defensive line to stay in their gap, the linebackers will play off of them and obviously, the safeties have to be a part of it and sometimes when the safeties get blocked by the receivers, then the corners have got to come and crack-replace. So, it’s a total team thing on defense.”

Comment: I’m not sure why they couldn’t do this last year. Techniques and fundamentals are, well, fundamental. They didn’t have to bring in very man defensive players off of the street so most of them were there during training camp. I’m a big believer that it’s more about personnel than coaching so their rushing defense should be better with the addition of Daron Payne and a healthy season from Jonathan Allen. But the improvement will only be marginal if the coaches don’t fix what’s wrong. 

On how he feels about where the Redskins are at this point in the offseason:

“I’m always confident, really, but I feel really good. I think from a draft perspective, Payne is everything that I thought he was. Derrius Guice is everything I thought he was and more. He’s a lot faster than I thought. He plays faster – explosive. Christian adds great depth to the offensive line. Shaun Dion, like I mentioned, great depth at the linebacker position, could eventually be a starter, who knows? The rest of the guys are excellent.”

Comment: The draft class has indeed looked good in minicamp. Payne has shown quickness and agility and Guice has been doing well both running and receiving. There were major question marks about the latter skill coming in. As Gruden often notes, this is the offseason program and there are no pads. We don’t even start to collect hard data about the rookies until the games begin. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Timeline  

Today's schedule: Minicamp practice, 11:30; Jay Gruden news conference, player and offensive assistant coaches availability afer practice, approx. 1:30

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 43
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 57
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 80

The Redskins last played a game 162 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 88 days. 

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