When the Redskins took the field on Saturday the vibe seemed quite different. It didn't take long to show why, as the team held their first padded practice of the 2017 season. Early on in the session, coaches shouted out for specific matchups in the first real hitting drills of the year. Check out the first pairing, Niles Paul and Will Compton, below.
First hit of camp pic.twitter.com/iWrE7sYDdn— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) July 29, 2017
I talked to a number of players, especially on the defensive side of the ball, who all said they were so eager to start hitting that they might have missed assignments. It was a fun and spirited practice, but not neccessarily a good one for the offense.
- Kirk Cousins' delivered a quality ball for a big gain to Josh Doctson on the first play of 11v11s. That was the highlight of Cousins' day, however, as he sailed other balls and didn't look crisp. None of the other QBs on the roster did either, and it's worth pointing out the Redskins were practicing in windy and wet conditions. It's one practice in July, not reason to freak out.
- Jonathan Allen took snaps were the first-team defense. You read that right. After a few days of working mostly with the third team, the Redskins first-round draft pick got called up to the top unit once the pads came on. Expect a lot of rotation along the defensive line, and remember Anthony Lanier did not practice with a knee ailment, but Allen held his own with the top group.
- Jamison Crowder missed the afternoon session. In his place, Ryan Grant caught a number of bubble screens. 3 in fact. I can't imagine the bubble screen to Grant will be heavy in the playbook, though the bubble screen to Crowder might be.
- Don't look now, but Matt Ioannidis is showing signs of life.
- It's early in camp, but I don't see how Arie Kouandjio will push Shawn Lauvao for his job. I wanted to wait until seeing both players in pads, and though it's only one day, it seems clear Lauvao is stronger than Kouandjio in the upper body. Health has been a concern for Lauvao, and Kouandjio proved an able backup in spots last season. I think that role will continue.
- The wind was blowing in Richmond, but Dustin Hopkins struggled to hit field goals as practice wrapped up. He wasn't particularly accurate, and it wasn't all because of the wind. After practice, I caught up with Hopkins for a few minutes and he explained some days just aren't your day. Similar to the QBs.
- I will never know why the Redskins stuck with Donte Whitner in 2016 instead of giving Deshazor Everett a chance. In 2017, I think Everett still has some quality football in him. Needs a chance, and that will be harder with the improved safety situation in Washington, but he showed he can hit and anticipate plays again on Saturday.
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