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Some positions become clear, while others get murky at Redskins OTAs

Some positions become clear, while others get murky at Redskins OTAs

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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Jets DC Gregg Williams says Jamal Adams will "get bored" after trade to Seahawks

Jets DC Gregg Williams says Jamal Adams will "get bored" after trade to Seahawks

Once the Jets agreed to send Jamal Adams to the Seahawks in exchange for three draft picks, it ended a long saga between the disgruntled superstar and the franchise. Or so we thought. 

During a conference call with reporters Thursday, former Washington and current Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams expressed his concern with Adams' new team, saying he'll be "bored there." 

"Jamal may get bored there because they don't use safety-type things and all the different complexities of maybe not showing what they're doing as much as we do," Williams said. "We'll still do the same patterns of things, we'll still do a lot of the same exact things, but we'll highlight the people we have here."

The Seahawks have a reputation for their zone defense, which reached its peak with the "Legion of Boom" with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Adams figures to add to that legacy of success in the secondary and help put a contending Seattle team over the top in the NFC. 

RELATED: ADAMS DIDN'T WANT A TRADE TO WASHINGTON

Still, Williams' overall point was that their defensive scheme doesn't tend to highlight the skills of its players as much as his does in New York. 

"You saw what we did [in 2019] was, [Adams] had maybe his most productive year here because we highlighted the skill sets that he's had," he said. "I've had a lot of really good guys at that position, a lot of really good safeties to build things around."

It's hard to argue with that. I mean, Adams became an All-Pro last year at the age of 24 and solidified himself as one of the best defensive players in the game.

But you also can't argue with the track record Seattle's system has had over the years. No matter what players have played on that defense, they're routinely solid and difficult to move the ball on. If the Seahawks don't bring Adams to a new level, there's a good chance he'll be able to do it for them. 

Great players typically elevate good systems. 

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Montez Sweat expects to have his hand in the dirt more for Washington in 2020

Montez Sweat expects to have his hand in the dirt more for Washington in 2020

During his Thursday Zoom press conference with the media, Montez Sweat gave a 16-word answer that will have Washington Football Team fans around the nation and the world rejoicing, celebrating and maybe even tearing up.

The response came to a question about how Sweat's role will change in 2020 under a new staff that includes Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio, and while it was short and simple, it was also glorious. 

"We're going to have my hand in the dirt more so than I was last year," Sweat said.

That's right, everybody. It sounds like the plan is for Sweat to rush the passer as much as possible this year, instead of sometimes rush the passer and sometimes drop into coverage like he was asked to do as a rookie.

Isn't that a novel idea?

Between that attack-first approach Rivera and Del Rio are "preaching" and the switch to a 4-3 scheme, which Sweat starred in at Mississippi State, the 2019 first-round pick is feeling confident about his immediate future.

Those factors aren't what makes him most optimistic, though. 

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In reflecting on his debut campaign, Sweat described how much more comfortable he got as the schedule progressed. The numbers back that up, too — 5.5 of his 7 sacks came in Washington's final eight contests.

That increase in production came as he began figuring out how to study for his opponents and how to better take on the lineman across from him. Those are things he's prepared to carry over into 2020, too.

"I feel like I developed more of a rush plan going into the games," he said. "Winning with speed and stuff like that isn't going to work most of the time. You have to get moves, you have to refine your technique."

Add all of that up, and Sweat is fully ready to do more for the defense after what he's personally labeled a slightly disappointing rookie season.

"I definitely didn't live up to my expectations and my standards," he said. "It was a learning year for me. I learned a lot, and I just want to show what I learned coming up this next year."

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