As the Redskins near the end of OTAs, the positions of strength become more and more clear. On the flip side, so do the weaknesses.
For somebody entering a new offense, Alex Smith seems to have few problems picking up Jay Gruden's terminology and scheme. In fact, it seems like Smith already has the nuts and bolts of Gruden's West Coast system under control.
Particularly, Smith seems to be in a comfort zone with wideout Jamison Crowder. The two connected on a few routes during Wednesday's OTA session. There was plenty of other action on the field in Ashburn.
- Paul Richardson worked very well in misdirection schemes while in Seattle, and it seems like Washington intends to do the same thing. On one red-zone drill, Richardson went in motion toward the short side of the field, and the defense shifted to the wideout. At the snap, Derrius Guice leaked out to the opposite flat, and Smith found the rookie runner for an easy TD.
- Speaking of Guice, any questions about his ability catching passes are over. Gruden said of Guice after the session "it's been very exciting" watching the rookie as a pass-catcher.
- One more Guice note - on one catch near the sideline in a red zone drill, he quickly jumped and re-planted his feet. It looked like he was heading to the sideline, and that's where the defender went, only when Guice landed and cut inside the defender fell to the ground. Guice's quick feet caused the Ashburn grass to tear a bit, only when the linebacker on the ground tried to point to the grass as the reason he fell, one player from the offensive bench yelled out, "It's not the field."
- As much excitement as Guice continues to create, don't sleep on Rob Kelley. He's looked good.
- Jeremy Sprinkle got a lot of reps with the first-team offense.
- The Redskins offense worked A LOT with a fullback. Gruden after the session: "It’s good for our defense also to see some reps with teams with a fullback, so we are giving them a good look at lead plays and power plays and all that stuff so they can prepare for it. It was also a chance for Elijah [Wellman] to make the team whether we need a fullback or not."
- Not everything was good news. Third-string QB Kevin Hogan had a rough day. He held the ball too long in both full team and 7v7 drills and didn't look accurate when he did throw the ball. For the small chorus of fans that thought Hogan could push Colt McCoy for the backup job, think again.
- Speaking of Colt, he again connected on a deep pass to Robert Davis. Those two appear to have found some rhythm.
- Rookie Troy Apke still has a lot to learn. On consecutive plays during red zone drills, he appeared to get caught inside as plays developed in the outside corner of the end zone, and both resulted in touchdowns.
- A strong offseason continues for Quinton Dunbar. Challenged repeatedly, Dunbar broke up a few passes and seemed to be in good position on others.
- At one point, Gruden flashed his temper. the third-team offense got to the line of scrimmage slow and then a tackle jumped offsides. Gruden wasn't pleased, barked at the team to get back to the huddle, and the play got run again. Having watched Gruden run through the monotony of OTAs and non-pad practices for a few years, it becomes clear he's willing to be relaxed, but will not tolerate sloppiness. Similar scenes have unfolded in Richmond in the past.
- Last note - there is a lot of down time during OTAs. Typically, the quarterbacks break off in their own cloister while much of the rest of the team takes part in special teams drills. On Wednesday, the QB group often had a special guest: Josh Doctson. It seemed like every chance, Doctson worked with Smith on timing routes and ball location. That's exactly the kind of stuff that should happen in June.
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