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Redskins practice report: All hands on deck for minicamp

Redskins practice report: All hands on deck for minicamp

—Yep, it was hot as the Redskins took the field for the first of two minicamp practices this week, with temperatures in the mid-90’s and typical DC area humidity. But the players were energized as they got in about an hour and a half of good work.

Here are my observations:

—RB Matt Jones, OT Trent Williams, and TE Jordan Reed, all absent from OTAs, were present. After Reed made a catch in position drills he got a “Jordan Reed, back in the house” shout from Jay Gruden. All three had been working out elsewhere and appeared to be in good condition.

—If Reed looks this good all year, they might have him skip OTAs next year, too. He was very sharp and he caught everything thrown in his direction.

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—It doesn’t appear that new DL coach Jim Tomsula is very worried about a depth chart at the moment. On the first snap of 11-on-11 work, with starters on the field at other positions, the Redskins defensive line was, from left to right, Ziggy Hood, Joey Mbu, and Matt Ioannidis. I think it’s safe to say that group will not be the Week 1 starting front.

—CB Bashaud Breeland wants a big contract next year and he will make himself some money if he plays the run well. He did a good job on one play when two tight ends lined up on his side. Breeland recognized the running play quickly and would have stopped RB Chris Thompson after a short gain if they were tackling live.

—A little while later, the defensive front was Stacy McGee, A.J. Francis, and Brandon Banks. Then it was Mbu and Jonathan Allen on the outside and Phil Taylor in the middle. Obviously, Tomsula sees this is a time to mix, match, and experiment.

—Second-round draft pick OLB Ryan Anderson has some work to do. He was a little bit late in recognizing a few plays, certainly nothing out of the norm for a rookie. He plays with such intensity that there a may be a problem in the early going with him going a million miles an hour to the wrong place. He will learn.

—A reluctance to participate in special teams is why Jones would up being inactive for the last nine games of the season. I’m not sure how seriously he wants to make the team after seeing this:

—In seven on seven drills, Will Blackmon almost intercepted a Colt McCoy pass that was thrown low and short over the middle, but it bounced off the safety’s thighs and was incomplete.

Nate Sudfeld showed his good and bad sides when he got a few seven-on-seven snaps. On his first play, he hesitated in making his decision and may have taken a sack if it was live football. A couple of plays later he threw a nice out pattern to WR Zach Pascal.

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Josh Norman has been working on his off-coverage technique all offseason. Today, he seemed to be seeing how far back he could play. A couple of times he lined up eight or nine yards off of the receiver. It probably will not be that long in most game situations but he wants to see how far back he can go and still be effective in coverage.

—There isn’t supposed to be any contact during minicamp but Norman and WR Terrelle Pryor bumped into each other hard fighting for a pass near the sideline. Norman won the battle, knocking the ball away.

—Safety Deshazor Everett made a few plays on the ball, knocking a few passes down and nearly picking off a Colt McCoy pass during a two-minute drill. On the near interception he jumped in front of the receiver on the sideline and got two hands on the ball but he lost control when he hit the ground.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler


Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond.