With 16 days until kickoff, the storyline remains injuries – especially on the defensive side.
At linebacker, Perry Riley, Kelvin Sheppard and Jacob Cutrera have all missed time. After he battled through a shoulder surgery, Riley is back with the team. Cutrera – whose injury is undisclosed – has not rejoined the squad. Sheppard, who was dressed in a green non-contact jersey, worked out with taped arms on Thursday.
Miles said that while the starting unit has not been intact, the level of concern would not rise until game week.
“Certainly there are some guys that are nicked up that will be healthy,” Miles said. “Early in camp when you miss a guy, especially a veteran, you make it a thicker position. The young guy gets the reps, and he gets ready to play. Then the elder guy, when he gets back, has got to get his conditioning caught back up – but he knows what he is supposed to do and he plays.
“It makes the position a little richer and a little deeper,” he added. “My level of concern at this point is none. I will wait until we get to game week and then I will see who I am going to have and not. Then, my level of concern might change.”
The one healthy body, Harry Coleman, drew praise from the headman.
“The Coleman shift has been tremendous,” Miles said. “Sheppard and Riley are again in position to play, and they are playing well. I like where we are right now.”
Miles declined to comment on Cutrera’s injury, though he did confirm that the senior was not prohibited from conditioning.
On the defensive line, Miles commented on the redshirt possibilities of a pair of freshmen tackles.
“[Josh] Downs certainly knows how to step on the field and play, and he has a motor that runs hot,” he said. “And Chris [Davenport] is learning the position, so there is plenty of talent. Both guys are close enough to playing on Saturdays. How it will end, I am not ready to say. Both have made strong moves.”
In the defensive backfield, Ron Brooks is back with the cornerbacks after his stint at strong safety. Morris Claiborne, who has worked as Patrick Peterson’s back up at right corner, will stay on the defensive side.
“With Brooks, it is need based at corner and it is what is best for Ron Brooks,” Miles said. “We like Mo every place we can put him. I think he could be a wide receiver or a cornerback, but right now we are really comfortable with his improvement at corner.”
Offensively, Miles made a point to bring up the progress of DeAngelo Peterson – a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end who converted from wide receiver in the offseason.
“[Peterson] is getting better, and he is blocking better,” Miles said. “I think when we are in a two-back spot that he has the potential to be a legitimate Y.”
Of the wide outs, Miles expects both Chris Mitchell and RJ Jackson to step up in the numbers category.
“We will have the opportunity to get the ball to more receivers,” he said. “I think that this season, [Mitchell’s] catches will be key possession catches and key big plays. Both he and Jackson are having great camps. They are guys that we will turn to and count on in games.”
At running back, expect Charles Scott to take the reigns at Washington. Yet, don’t count out the development of Keiland Williams, who hopes to play his biggest role in purple and gold yet.
“Charles certainly might take the first snap at tailback, but I think Williams is legitimately improving,” Miles said. “That was something that [Williams] needed to do, and we see it on a regular basis.”
The team will return to practice Friday morning in preparation for Saturday’s “thud” scrimmage.