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Veteran minicamp notes, Day 3: Redskins close with red zone work and Jimmy Moreland pops again

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NBC Sports Washington

Veteran minicamp notes, Day 3: Redskins close with red zone work and Jimmy Moreland pops again

The 2019 Redskins' mandatory minicamp was a little less mini than it has been lately under Jay Gruden, as the head coach decided to have the team report to Ashburn for all three days instead of cancelling the third as he's done in the past.

That, in part, is due to a shifted offseason schedule. But the coach also explained on Wednesday that he wants the 'Skins to get as much offseason work as possible, seeing as they have new QBs to work in and plenty of other younger guys as well. 

So, how'd Washington do with the extra action? Here are your bullet point observations on what went down Thursday...

  • Trey Quinn wasn't on the field, but Gruden said he just tweaked his hamstring and they were only being cautious. Adonis Alexander, meanwhile, did a tiny bit after dealing with a groin issue on Wednesday. However, he still was absent in 11-on-11s, which isn't great for someone who's in a crowded position battle. 

 

  • One of the more entertaining people to watch this week has been Nate Kaczor. Washington's new special teams coach is wildly energetic and very vocal. During one punt return drill, the return team did a nice job sealing up their blocks and giving the returner a lane. A proud Kaczor turned to Greg Stroman, who was waiting to catch the next punt, and screamed, "WHAT'S THAT SEAM LOOK LIKE?" Stroman didn't answer with words; instead, he just put his hands up for a touchdown signal. 

 

  • Thursday's session was a bit shorter than the other two this week, and it included a ton of red zone and goal line scenarios. The first notable sequence came when JP Holtz hauled in a very easy score on a simple crossing route, and Gruden was furious about it. "Every team runs this," he yelled at his defense, and he made both sides of the ball walk through the call again. At real speed, the linebackers failed to pass off Holtz, which allowed him to get so open. For a defense that had serious issues with crossing stuff last year, it wasn't surprising to see the head coach get so upset about the blown coverage, even if it's early June.

 

  • It's a rule that if you write about a Redskins practice, you can't go past the fourth bullet point without giving an update on the quarterbacks. Thursday was more of the same, with Case Keenum continuing to run a more polished offense while Dwayne Haskins struggled with inaccuracy and, for the first time with the media around, interceptions. Keenum has shown really sweet touch on some 10- and 20-yard throws, including one to Brian Quick for six.

 

  • Haskins had back-to-back turnovers down near the goal line during team work, with one resulting more because of a standout defensive effort and the other falling mostly on him. First, he connected with Cam Sims on a quick out route, who made the catch and turned to try and get into the end zone. But Jimmy Moreland, who had been a bit quieter this week than he was during OTAs, just ripped the ball from No. 89, turning a TD into an INT. It was a terrific job by the seventh-round rookie, and after, Gruden noted that it was the fifth pass that Moreland has pilfered since arriving. It was probably the top highlight of the afternoon.   

 

  • Haskins' next giveaway, however, was fully his mistake. Josh Norman — who explained after practice how he's been yearning for the chance to square off with the popular passer — was lined up on the right side and the 15th overall pick decided to challenge him. It didn't end well for the youngster. Norman jumped the route and pulled in an aggressive interception. There was some debate as to whether Norman was in bounds when he got his hands on the pass, but the DB let the refs handle that while he sprinted allllllllllll the way the other way for a touchdown. Gruden came over and slyly convinced one official to drop a flag, making a confusing situation even more muddled. But regardless of the final ruling, Norman absolutely won the matchup. 

 

  • At one point, an incomplete pass bounced through the end zone and into some high grass behind it. So, who ended up retrieving it? Rob Ryan, who announced, "I'll get it!" and then hustled over to recover the lost ball. Hopefully Ryan coaches here for eternity, and then another eternity after that.

 

  • As mentioned a few times in other recap posts from this week, tracking running plays can be difficult because no one's really blocking and no one's really tackling. With that being said, it wasn't hard to imagine how one toss to the right would've ended up in a legitimate game, because Jon Bostic whistled through a gap and was there to meet the back well behind the line of scrimmage. He's known as a linebacker who can really contribute in the running game and he showed it there. 

 

  • Dustin Hopkins was brought on to end Thursday's practice and was tasked with kicking at a set of goalposts that are skinnier than the NFL standard. He hit a beauty from 47 yards out that was good, but then yanked a rushed one that came after Haskins and the offense hurried off the field for a simulated fire drill kick. It's important to remember that Nick Sundberg is still not practicing as he rehabs from injury, so Andrew East is serving as long snapper. East filled in at the end of 2018, but his snaps were slower than Sundberg's. Hopkins, Tress Way and Sundberg have been together for years now, so hopefully Sundberg will get 100-percent right before 2019 begins. 

 

That's it for minicamp. The Redskins will be in Ashburn for one final open OTAs session on Tuesday, June 11, but since that's another voluntary get-together, attendance might be lighter. NBC Sports Washington won't be taking it off, though, so be ready for more updates there.

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One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

What will Ron Rivera bring to the Redskins in 2020 and beyond (well, besides lots of people who worked with him in Carolina)? That's a question everyone's trying to figure out.

Many are hoping for more wins, obviously. Washington's been one of the league's worst franchises for the past decade, while Rivera was a two-time Coach of the Year with the Panthers who made it to the playoffs four times in nine seasons there.

Beyond that, however, there's an expectation that Rivera can also elevate the Burgundy and Gold's day-to-day operations, making the organization more professional, consistent and stable — words that haven't been used to describe their operations in a long time.

In an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast, longtime NFL agent Andy Ross spoke to that second point.

"I will say this," Ross, who reps players such as Morgan Moses and Taysom Hill, told the podcast. "The one thing that Ron really instilled in the players, because I've had players on Carolina, was accountability. These are young men that are growing into men, so he wants to teach them to be strong men, be strong leaders. And I think that's something he's going to bring into Washington."

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANDY ROSS ON THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

The 2019 campaign was beyond chaotic for the Redskins, and one of its major turning points came when Dan Snyder made the decision to fire Jay Gruden after five straight losses to open the year. One of the most popular criticisms of Gruden was a lack of accountability. According to Ross, that won't occur now that Rivera's in charge.

The 58-year-old also possesses another quality that'll be incredibly valuable as he tries to turn around the Redskins, a place that's been plagued by distractions, leaks and fracturing season after season.

"He doesn't allow the outside influence to affect his football team," Ross said. "So I think you're going to see, with the Redskins going forward, that everything is going to be really kept in-house."

Rivera's reputation precedes him. Right after he was hired by Snyder, in fact, Panthers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said he would tell players in Washington that "one of the best things in your career is about to happen."

Ross is yet another person to echo that kind of praise for the head coach. With each passing day, it sounds more and more like the Redskins landed someone with an approach that's precisely what everyone involved with the team needs.

"They have some really good, young talent," Ross concluded. "And I think he's really going to mold a lot of these young players into really strong men, and that should be good for the culture."

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Ron Rivera sends military veteran to the Super Bowl

Ron Rivera sends military veteran to the Super Bowl

One lucky fan is headed to Super Bowl LIV, courtesy of Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

Teaming up with USAA and the American Veterans, Rivera is sending military veteran LeCheton “Omar” Settles to Miami. The Redskins head coach tweeted about it on Wednesday.

Settles joined the United States Marines at age 17 and dedicated eight years of his life to service. During his military tenure, Settles spent time as a Field Artillery Cannoneer, Marine Corps Security Force Guard, Martial Arts Instructor-Trainer, and Small Arms Weapons Instructor.

Rivera comes from a military background himself and is using this as a way to reward one military member for his service.

"Inspired by my father’s military service, we always had a strong military appreciation in our team’s culture during my time in Carolina and I plan on continuing that now with the Redskins in Washington, D.C.," Rivera said in the release. "To kick that off, I am privileged to partner with USAA and AMVETS to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sergeant Omar Settles in recognition of and for his service to our country."    

 

He will meet with Settles on both Friday and Saturday of Super Bowl week at the USAA Salute to Service Lounge in Miami. 

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