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Redskins practice report Day 13: Good day for RG3, with an asterisk

Redskins practice report Day 13: Good day for RG3, with an asterisk

RICHMOND—It was hot and sticky as the Redskins made their final preparations for their preseason opener in Cleveland in two days. Here are my observations from practice and some quotes from around the Bon Secours training center:

—The players were not in pads, although some wore shells. This is typical for a regular season Friday practice, two days before a game.

—It seems like the tight ends spend a lot more time working on blocking this year than they do on catching. The group moved from a blocking drill with the offensive tackles to one with just the tight ends. Although I can’t say for sure since I didn’t measure the time spent in any way, it appears that blocking is more of a priority than it was before.

Robert Griffin III was about as sharp as he has been all summer, completing seven of seven passes in 11 on 11 work. It should be noted that since they were not wearing pads they were not going at full speed. Still, the Redskins have run practices at similar speeds during this camp and Griffin has not been as sharp.

—Griffin also had a perfect completion percentage during seven on seven work. He capped his six for six session with a 50-yard bomb to Pierre Garçon, who had beaten safety Duke Ihenacho. The pass settled into the receiver’s arms as soon as he crossed the goal line.

—When it was his turn, Kirk Cousins executed a similar pass. He lofted it to receiver Rashad Ross, who had a step on his defender. The pass was on target but the ball bounced out of Ross’ arms.

—Back in full team drills, Griffin threw one deep to Niles Paul, who had beaten linebacker Adam Hayward. The pass was on target and Paul “scored” easily.

Kai Forbath had his second straight strong showing in field goal kicking at the end of practice. He split the uprights on all four of his attempts, from 30, 33, 38, and 40 yards

Notable quotables:

Jordan Reed sees that things are settling down as his unit enters its second year working in Jay Gruden’s offense: “Everybody is where they need to be at. There aren’t as much questions for the coaches. Guys are just getting to a lot smoother.” How does quarterback Robert Griffin III look to him? “He looks real comfortable, man. His grasp of the offense seems pretty tight and he seems like he’s got it.”

—Injuries have forced the Redskins to scramble at cornerback. They signed two new corners last week and they moved wide receiver Quinton Dunbar to cornerback as well. Safety Duke Ihenacho was asked what the biggest issue is with the changes: “Slower communication. Sometimes you got to reiterate a check. If it’s a young guy, it’s like, ‘what’s that mean?’ Some guys just got here a week ago, they haven’t been here all offseason so we’re trying to catch them up to speed, they just have to learn the whole playbook. So when they’re out there with us, the veterans, there’s not just one guy out there, it’s two or three and it was hard to communicate.”

—Preseason openers are old hat to the veterans. But to players like rookie fourth-round pick G Arie Kouandjio they are something special: “I plan on playing a lot. . . I want to diminish as many mistakes as I can. I just want to play to the best of my ability, I just want to go out there and let my hair loose . . . and just play ball.”

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Five observations from the Redskins' rain-soaked win over the Packers


Five observations from the Redskins' rain-soaked win over the Packers

LANDOVER, Md. — Entering Week 3, it was unsure which Redskins team would show up: the team that dismantled the Cardinals in Week 1 on the road, or the team that fell to the Colts by multiple scores in their home opener a week ago.

On Sunday, the Redskins looked a lot more like the team from week 1.

Behind a solid running game led by Adrian Peterson's two touchdowns and a strong defensive performance, the Redskins defeated the Packers 31-17 on Sunday. 

Here are Rich Tandler's observations from Week 3.

1. They got off to a great start and kept going

If the Redskins were going to win this game they knew they would have to stick with the Packers score for score and score touchdowns, not field goals. They did what the doctor ordered, getting in the end zone on two of their first three possession.

The first one was a quick strike with Alex Smith throwing a 46-yard TD to Paul Richardson to cap a four-play drive. The next one took 10 plays and it ended on a two-yard Adrian Peterson touchdown run. That made it 14-0.

The Redskins kept their foot on the gas, driving to two more touchdowns before halftime to take a 28-10 lead into the locker room. It was exactly what they needed coming off a flat loss as favorites last week. 

2. Alex Smith shows he can throw deep

During the week there were plenty of fans and members of the media pointing out that Alex Smith wasn’t throwing the ball deep, that he had returned to being the check-down, game manager he was for most of his career. But he limbered up his arm on the first series with the 46-yard touchdown bomb to.

In the second quarter he went deep down the right sideline to Vernon Davis for a 50-yard game. He finished the day 12 for 20 with 220 yards and 2 TDs. Smith also ran for 20 yards.

Smith had an interception due to a miscommunication with Jordan Reed. All in all, a better day for Smith. 

3. The defense was strong early and late

The Redskins defense was good early, when the Redskins were in the process of building a 21-3 lead. And they were good in the fourth quarter when they held the Packers to a three and out from deep in their own territory.

It should be noted that the did benefit from a dropped deep pass on third down that would have given the Packers the first down and excellent field position. With a little over five minutes left, they got a takeaway to put the Redskins in great position to win.

After a short completion, Fabian Moreau stripped the ball away and Josh Norman recovered at the Packers 46. 

4. Peterson gets back on track 

There was talk that Adrian Peterson all of a sudden aged from Week 1, when he gained 96 yards, to Week 2, when he picked up 20 yards on 11 carries. Today he was back on the ball. He had a 41-yard run in the second quarter. But his best runs were when the Redskins were trying to kill the clock and he tore off gains of 17, two, and seven yards.

He again looked like a viable NFL running back as he ran for 120 yards on 19 carries. 

5. The bye is ahead

The Redskins are going into their ridiculously early bye week on a high note. They have played well twice, and they didn’t show up for the one in between.

They will have a long, tough road ahead of them. The team will go into it knowing that they can compete with one of the best teams in the league with the best player in the league and come out on top. When they return two weeks from tomorrow, they will face another one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Drew Brees.


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How the Redskins capitalized off Clay Matthews being a marked man


How the Redskins capitalized off Clay Matthews being a marked man

The Packers' Week 2 tie with the Vikings was due in large part to the controversial penalty called against Clay Matthews.

Late in the fourth quarter, Matthews sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. The sack should have sucked all the life out of the Vikings' frantic comeback. but instead, referees threw a flag on Matthews for roughing the passer. The penalty never should have been thrown. Matthews' hit was violent, but not illegal.

The Vikings would go on to tie the game, and it would stay that way following a scoreless overtime.

On Sunday, in Week 3, Redskins rookie lineman Daron Payne recorded his first NFL sack, drilling Aaron Rodgers with a monstrous hit.

As our Trevor Matich pointed out, it was very similar to Matthews' hit. Luckily, the referees kept the penalty flags in their pockets.

And as if that were not enough, on the very next series, Matthews was flagged for roughing the passer on Alex Smith.

Like in Week 2, it probably should not have been flagged.

Referees are stuck between a rock and a hard place. But it's clear that Matthews' actions are impacting referee judgment. That is playing into the hands of the Redskins. The NFL agrees that the Matthews' hit on Smith was illegal. 

Redskins fans will take that to the bank, whether or not it should have been called.