Redskins Coach Jay Gruden says he senses a positive vibe at Redskins Park as the team prepares for the start of organized team activities later this month.
That vibe, the second year head coach said, comes from the new blood—free agent players and assistant coaches—that got added to the program this offseason.
“I tell you what, I’m excited about the new acquisitions,” Gruden said at the Ryan Kerrigan Leukemia Golf Classic on Monday. ‘All of them, from the coaches to the players, really.”
Gruden said he’s especially excited about the revamped defensive secondary, which features two new starting safeties in Dashon Goldson and Jeron Johnson in and a new No. 1 cornerback in Chris Culliver. Last year, the Redskins' defense surrendered a league-worst 35 passing touchdowns.
“[In the] secondary, I look at Goldson, I look at Johnson, I look at Culliver; those are three exciting additions, man,” Gruden said. “I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a different vibe in the building with those three guys. Great leaders, great workers.”
Gruden also praised the additions in the trenches, mentioning by name offensive tackle Brandon Scherff as well as defensive linemen Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois and Jason Hatcher.
“I think offensive line, looking at Brandon walking in today, he’s excited,” Gruden said of the team’s No. 5 overall pick, who is expected to start at right tackle. “The defensive line, Paea is doing a great job [and] Ricky Jean. Some of the new guys, and the veterans that we got from last year, like Hatcher, they’re starting to take on a bigger role.”
Rookie minicamp runs Friday-Sunday, while OTA sessions begin May 26 and continue, on and off, through June 18.
“It’s an exciting time,” Gruden added. “I think everybody is excited to get back on the field and play and put last year behind us and move forward.”