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Redskins camp news, notes, and quotes: Rookie Jones gets physical

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Redskins camp news, notes, and quotes: Rookie Jones gets physical

RICHMOND—Rain was a constant threat as the Texans returned for the second of three practice sessions against the Redskins. Here are some quick observations, look for the full practice report this afternoon.

—The teams started off with a long session of special teams work. Although it’s boring to watch since they only go about 70 percent to practice the kicking game, the Redskins certainly need the work.

—Wide receiver Quinton Dunbar changed from a white jersey to a burgundy jersey, indicating a switch from offense to defense. He lined up at cornerback all day and did a credible job. At 6-2, he has the length they like at the position but at 201 pounds he look a bit fragile out there. But with a rash of injuries at corner they needed the help and Dunbar stepped up and provided it. He’s still a long shot to make the team but the more he can do, the better his chances will be of eventually hanging on.  

—Working off to the side at the beginning of practice were Logan Paulsen (toe), Preston Smith (groin), Trevardo Williams (hamstring) and David Amerson (shoulder). During the course of practice, Stephen Paea (groin) and Frank Kearse (knee) joined them on the sideline.  

—The play of the day from the Redskins standpoint came when rookie running back Matt Jones took a handoff and headed down the left sideline. Texans rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson tried to get in his way. But Jones is about three inches taller and 45 pounds heavier than Johnson. Jones easily won the collision and mowed over the cornerback. That drew hoots and hollers from the players on the sideline, both offensive and defensive.

Notable quotables:

—The odd man out in the Redskins’ offensive line shuffle is Spencer Long. He goes from working out as a starter from the second week of OTAs until a few days ago to being on the bench. Here is what Jay Gruden’s said about his situation: “Just come out and compete, like everybody else. Nothing is etched in stone. All these guys are out here playing. You might be on the first team or what have you, but really, you’re going to have to earn your playing time, continue to work and get better.”

—Gruden was asked if he preferred joint practices to preseason games to get ready for the season: “I think both have merit. I like both of them, really. This setting right here you can control the situations that you want. Game day, you might not get as many third downs that you want or third-and-long or red zone situations. Here, we can control the situations – third-and-1, red zone, backed up, whatever it is, two-minute. On game day you can’t control those. So I think there’s merit to having both.”

—Robert Griffin III reiterated that he will not be freelancing on the field, that he will run what the coach calls: "Whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'm trying to do, so if they call drop-back plays I'm a drop-back QB. If they call on-the-move plays, then I'm an on-the-move QB. When things break down, I'll just be myself. I'm not really focused on that. I’ve just been focused on fundamentals and being consistent with everything every single day, coming out here trying to make sure that every day is a new day and playing everything honest."

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

— Contract years: Redskins face 5 tough decisions 

— Dead Money: Trades, misses and mistakes hurt Redskins salary cap

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Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Derrius Guice saw 'Avengers' on Monday night — and brought a bunch of Redskins fans with him

Those who are worried about Derrius Guice's character picked up some added evidence when, on Monday night, the Redskins rookie invited a bunch of fans to watch Avengers with him in Ashburn.

Man, what is this guy's deal?

First of all, not everyone likes superheroes. So how did he know that those who joined him actually wanted to see Avengers?  Did he even ask? What if they wanted to see that really successful, really funny, really well-regarded Amy Schumer comedy, instead?

Then, there's the issue of Guice buying tickets and concessions for those who showed up.

Some people enjoy buying movie tickets — which are absolutely reasonably priced these days — and, as far as the concessions, seriously? Candy? Popcorn? He could've at least offered to buy something healthier, like broccoli. All movie theaters have broccoli.  

Thankfully, those who took Guice up on his invitation weren't grateful for the experience at all, which hopefully means this will be the last time he orchestrates a dastardly deed like this one:

At this point, it's a surprise Guice didn't slide even farther down in the draft, like to the 15th round. Unbelievable.

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