Each day during training camp, Redskins Insider Rich Tandler will pick out a play from practice to break down in some detail. The focus will be on plays that can give us some hints as to what we can look forward to this season.
RICHMOND—Usually in this spot, we look at a good play made by a player demonstrating how he might be able to help the team this year. But this one is a little different. It’s more about what may be the end of something rather than a beginning.
Before we get to the play in the Saturday afternoon practice, let’s back up a little bit to Jay Gruden’s press conference, which he does just before the start of practice. Gruden was asked if any player has stood out.
Gruden, like any coach, generally is hesitant to answer such open-ended questions. He doesn’t want to leave anyone out. And at first, he didn’t name anyone.
“Nobody really; we haven't had the pads on really,” he said. “You know, we've just been in shorts.”
But then he named a name.
“All throughout the OTA process and mandatory camp, there's been some guys, like Keith Marshall's flashed a little bit from his injury, coming back,” said Gruden. “I think people are sleeping on him a little bit.”
Marshall was a seventh-round draft pick last year. A variety of injuries kept him sidelined during the offseason program and he was put on injured reserve with a shoulder injury before the season started. He had a history of injuries at Georgia that limited his production after being a five-star recruit out of high school.
This year, Marshall appeared to be in good health. He participated fully in the offseason practices that were open to the media. In the early training camp sessions, he turned some heads by showing some impressive burst off the line. Marshall was still a long shot to make the roster but if he kept it up and ran well in preseason games he might have been able to force his way on to the roster or at least earn a shot with another team if the Redskins cut him.
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However, it appears all that is on hold for at least a while and maybe all season. During 11 on 11 work on Saturday Marshall found some running room to the left. As a defender ran into him—there was no live tackling—his cleats got caught in the turf. Marshall went down and didn’t get back up. As trainers rushed towards him, he pounded the ground and shouted an expletive, probably in both pain and frustration.
The trainers put a brace on his left leg and helped him up onto the cart. While this was going on, the offense changed direction and practice went on.
We don’t know how serious the injury is yet. But even if it isn’t as bad as it looked, Marshall needs every rep he can get if he is going to have a chance to make the Redskins. He likely will be out a few weeks and probably longer.
Whether this injury ends Marshall’s NFL dreams remains to be seen. But it certainly is a setback for a player who has experienced plenty of them.