The Redskins held their OTA session today under mostly sunny skies with a fairly strong breeze blowing. Here are some observations from the practice.
—DeSean Jackson was not present for the voluntary practice after attending session on Monday and Tuesday. Nobody seemed to be particularly concerned.
—Jordan Reed was on the premises but he did not participate; Jay Gruden said that he was just given the day off.
—During offensive line drills, Bill Callahan continually stressed the need to be physical and aggressive while executing blocks. It will be hard to tell if his coaching on these aspects of line play is having an effect until they get the pads on in Richmond in late July.
—TE Marcel Jensen has a ton of competition in front of him and he can’t afford many mistakes. He dropped an easy pass over the middle in team drills. Jensen has some work to do even to get on the bubble and he can’t afford many mistakes.
—Trent Williams stayed at home today because of an illness. Ty Nsekhe took his place at left tackle. Other than that one change the offensive line was identical to the one that played most of last year with Spencer Long at left guard, Kory Lichtensteiger at center, Brandon Scherff at right guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle.
—Rookie QB Nate Sudfeld showed off his arm when he fired one over the middle to rookie receiver Maurice Harris, who didn’t have much choice but to catch it.
—RB Matt Jones is running upright through the line. For now, that’s a good thing; a year ago coaches were concerned that he would hurt someone with his physical running while nobody was wearing pads. But he ran a little too upright during the season, making himself a big target. Jones will need to adjust his style when the pads go on.
—Will Blackmon was among those returning punts. After practice he said that returning kicks saved his career. He has returned 72 punts, three of them for touchdowns, and 81 kickoffs in his career.
—Also fielding punts were Rashad Ross, and Dashaun Phillips.
—Ross had some issues holding on to the ball a couple of weeks ago in OTAs. He mishandled another punt today but he had a good reason—he was holding another football in one arm and was attempting to make the catch one-handed.
—In a play during seven-on-seven drills, Josh Norman was lined up in tight coverage on Pierre Garçon. The receiver made a quick stutter step at the line and beat Norman with an inside route. The ball didn’t go to Garçon but he’s likely chalking that one up as a win over the prized free agent corner.
—Kirk Cousins got hot as those drills reached the red zone. He fired a TD to Jamison Crowder in a crowd in the middle of the end zone. Then he went back to Crowder on a fade in the end zone and a few plays later he fired one to Garçon along the sideline. Replay would have been needed to determine if two feet were inbounds and control were established on the last two plays but they were nice passes and good catches regardless.
—Cousins isn’t just concerned about the performance of the players at the top of the depth chart. After one incompletion he ran over to the sideline to correct the pattern run by rookie free agent receiver Maurice Harris.
—I don’t think I’ve ever seen the team practicing onside kicks this early.
—The second team safety alignment has Blackmon at free and Duke Ihenacho at strong.
—Marcel Jensen did make up for his early drop, at least in part. He made a nice sideline catch while going out of bounds and showed a big catch radius reaching out on a grab over the middle.