Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 5, eight days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 40
—Training camp starts (7/27) 52
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 66
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 97
Five pack of OTA observations
I’m back from vacation, catching up on the past week of OTAs. Here are a few things that caught my attention.
—Things will be very different for RB Rob Kelley this year compared to 2016. For one thing, he knows he’s on the team. Jay Gruden joked about him being the “9th string” running back last year. His reps in team drills were few and far between. This year he will get plenty of run with the first team, allowing him to focus on doing his job, not just making the team. Kelley will be able to focus on the finer points, not just getting through practice without doing something that could get him cut. “You become more comfortable at the running back position when you’re not thinking about, ‘Right foot back, left foot stutter step, drop step,’ all of that stuff. ‘Am I aiming at the outside leg of the tackle, inside leg of the tight end? Where am I going?’” said Gruden.
—The same is true for WR Maurice Harris. When Josh Doctson was rested for part of Wednesday’s practice he stepped in with the first team. He will get a lot of extra attention that he didn’t get last year. He should be the primary backup for both Terrelle Pryor and Doctson. This may be getting too far ahead of things but ideally, he will develop to where he could be able to start next year. If the Redskins have a viable alternative to Pryor next year they might be able to avoid the need to give Pryor a huge contract. Harris will get his shot but it’s no sure thing that he will develop into a No. 2 receiver.
—RB Chris Thompson and Gruden seem to have quite a mutual admiration society going. They spoke highly of each other last week with Gruden calling the running back “a great human” and “a joy to be around”. Thompson has averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt over the past two seasons and he could get the ball in his hands a little more often this year.
—I saw that the coaches want OLB Ryan Anderson to lose some weight. This means that he is more likely to play in nickel situations than in base defense on first down. They have him listed at 253. He could drop a few and still effectively rush the passer but he might have problems setting the edge on running plays.
—In general, it seems that the players are well prepared. The practice sessions open to the media have been crisp, with mental mistakes at a minimum. I don’t know how much it means, but I suppose it’s better to be sharp and not sloppy at this time of year.
Tandler on Twitter
We’ll see if he stays healthy. Some ability there but availability an issue.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) June 4, 2017
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