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Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes, Day 7--Continuity in the running game

Need to Know: Redskins camp news and notes, Day 7--Continuity in the running game

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 1, six days before the Redskins open the preseason against the Patriots.

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News, notes, and quotes from Day 7 of Redskins training camp.

—Yesterday we touched on Alfred Morris possibly catching some more passes. But catching more passes means being in the game more on passing downs and that means being solid in pass protection. Morris talked about some of the challenges he faced when he came into league. “It’s very tough,” he said. “I think that’s one the main reasons why running backs – you might have a big name running back in college that doesn’t make it in the pros, it’s because he can’t pass pro and he can’t read the blitzes. He can’t tell what’s going. And if you can’t protect the quarterback, which is the franchise, then you won’t be on the field. For me in college, I only had to worry about one side of the field when it came to blitz pickups, but here you have to do a full-field scan, and it can be very difficult.”

—It appears that the Redskins running game will be very similar—perhaps identical—to what we’ve seen the past couple of years with a few power runs sprinkled in. Trent Williams likes the continuity. “I think that just goes to show you how football savvy [Jay Gruden] is,” he said. “All coaches preach to guys that you’ve got to be unselfish and do what’s good for the team, and I think that is the biggest example right there. It’s just showing that he can come in and adapt and play to our strengths, even though he is a new head coach.” Contrast that to the square peg in round hole approach we’ve seen from new coaches both here and elsewhere.

—I have a post coming soon based on a talk with Keenan Robinson, the man trying to replace London Fletcher. One thing that impressed Brian Orakpo was how hard Robinson worked to keep up to speed during the nearly year and a half that he missed with injuries. “He hasn’t missed a beat,” said Orakpo. “Even though he hasn’t been on the field with us, he’s been to meetings, he’s been throughout the practices watching and rehabbing, trying to get better. But also he’s been in that playbook, it’s a great thing that he can come in here without any hiccups.”

—Nobody thought that Jerry Rice Jr. had much of a chance to make the Redskins roster but his chances probably got even worse on Thursday when he went out with an injury. “Hurt his shoulder,” said Gruden. “He had a test done today. I’ll know more once I get the results back, but it’s pretty significant, I believe.” That doesn’t sound good for the son of the best receiver in NFL history.

—Gruden has a phrase he likes to use. "I said it yesterday, I’ll say it over and over again, every play is its own entity,” he said. “Sometimes, ‘Heck, should’ve taken off and run here. Heck, if you would have stepped up and slid over a little bit, Santana [Moss] is wide open.’ You know what I mean? It’s just a matter of seeing all these plays develop and then when you give them the ball on game day, letting him be himself and play. We just continue to coach them and work with them, work with his vision, what his progression is, who is he reading, two hands on the ball, ball security. All that stuff comes with the position.” In short, every play is different and even if the same set of circumstances are present the play may unfold differently due to very subtle differences.

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Timeline

—Redskins cornerback Richard Crawford was born on this date in 1990.

Today’s schedule: Full practice 8:35; Jay Gruden media availability 3:45; Walkthrough 4:10; players availability after both practices.

—It’s been 215 days since the Redskins played a game; in 37 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener vs. Patriots 6; Final cuts 29; Redskins @ Eagles 51

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Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

LANDOVER, Md. -- With 22 starters comprising offensive and defensive players, plus another faction handling special teams, football is the ultimate team sport.

Now imagine where the 2018 Washington Redskins find themselves if the front office never brings in Adrian Peterson for that mid-preseason workout. Even Jamie Lee Curtis finds that frightening.

Peterson’s return to football glory continued with 99 rushing yards on 24 carries in Washington’s 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday evening.

“I won’t say we wouldn’t be as good in the run game, but, yeah,” left tackle Trent Williams said of his former University of Oklahoma teammate.

“Obviously having [Adrian], I won’t say it’s everything, but it’s almost everything,” Williams continued. His eyes widened as the Pro Bowl lineman pondered the potential downside of this offense without the future Hall of Famer. That’s a dark timeline.

Peterson’s Redskins career now spans six regular-season games. Sunday’s display of power in tight spaces and speed when daylight exists wasn’t a one-off. In those six games, Peterson rushed for at least 96 yards four times including the last two games despite playing with a painful shoulder.

“I’m feeling good, man, we just got a W,” the smiling running back said from behind the podium inside the media room at his newish home stadium. “That makes everything feel a lot better. I feel better than I did last week, I’ll say that.”

Washington felt concerned enough about its running attack following the second preseason game to scour the free agent market. Peterson arriving at Redskins Park in August generated the expected “Whoa” from the casual NFL fans, who picture the player hammering silly defenders daring to tackle him. That player no longer existed. At least that’s what many assumed.

Peterson last topped 1,000 yards or 4.0 yards per rush in 2015. Injuries and inefficiency headlined his 2017 stops in New Orleans and Arizona. Running backs capable of carrying an offense aren’t just lying around for the taking like a rogue penny on a sidewalk. Yet, there was Peterson, waiting for a team to show interest. After losing Derrius Guice with a season-ending knee injury and recognizing the in-house options were not enough, the Redskins called.

 “We didn’t have many expectations,” Jay Gruden said after the Redskins improved to 4-2 and took a 1 ½ game lead in the NFC East. “We weren’t expecting him to be on our football team until we had a couple of injuries. Then we got him. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know he looked great in that workout.”

That workout led to a signing and almost simultaneously, the starting gig. Now it’s hard contemplating anyone else in those early down and short yardage scenarios. Peterson had runs of 23 and 20 yards against the Cowboys. The latter help set up one of two Dustin Hopkins field goals. His overall production helped move the chains in yet another game where the Alex Smith-led passing game lacked oomph.

This random road to Redskins Park is why Peterson’s renaissance feels shocking to many with one significant exception.

“No, not at all. I think everyone else around is surprised. I’m not,” Peterson said. “I expect greatness from myself. That’s why I put the work in. God has blessed with me this talent. A lot of people see, and a lot of people don’t. … Just keep confidence in myself. When I’m presented with my opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it every Sunday.”

Peterson is taking advantage of this opportunity with the Redskins because necessity is the mother of invention. It turns out Washington’s running attack needed a reboot more than the running back required a makeover.

“There are not many guys like [Adrian] walking around the street,” Williams said, “and luckily, we found a diamond in the rough.”

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Josh Norman rocks Bobby Boucher jersey following Redskins' win over Cowboys

Josh Norman rocks Bobby Boucher jersey following Redskins' win over Cowboys

Josh Norman just took the jersey game to a whole new level.

Prior to the Redskins' gutsy 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Norman showed up to FedEx Field repping a Bobby Boucher Bourbon Bowl jersey from the iconic Adam Sandler movie "The Waterboy." 

He also repped the jersey following the win in the locker room with the media.

Many believed it was a shot at Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., who made comments this week about disliking water. But according to Norman, he just really likes the South Central Louisiana Mud Dogs.

Norman is known for repping a soccer jersey or two following a game, but he has everyone else beat this week.

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