ASHBURN -- Some thought and observations after attending Wednesday's Organized Team Activities at Redskins Park.
- Another week, another week without DeSean Jackson during non-mandatory OTA. This isn't a scandal, but it's not ideal -- unless you're one of the other wide receivers hoping to standout. Ryan Grant, who started several games opposite Pierre Garcon last season while Jackson sat with a hamstring injury, worked with the starters Wednesday. Holdover Rashad Ross and undrafted free agent Maurice Harris also had opportunities during Wednesday's session. Following the selection of first round pick Josh Doctson and the release of Andre Roberts plus other depth chart battles, it's conceivable Washington only keeps five receivers. Jackson, Garcon, Doctson and Jamison Crowder are locks. That's why these practices are valuable beyond pure practice for those hoping to stand out.
- In terms of the starting lineup, the offensive line remains arguably the most fluid. Spencer Long has a decent chance to start at both center and left guard. On Wednesday, the 2014 third round selection lined up at guard between Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger. That seems the likely spot for Long seeing as coach Jay Gruden said, " I love the way Spencer came on at the end of the year" while noting he remains a work in progress at center. The mystery man in this equation is Shawn Lauvao, who shined at left guard before suffering a serious and season-ending ankle injury. If Lauvao is, as Gruden hopes, "going to be healthy here shortly" then it's game on at left guard. Yet considering the issues a center last season an Long's overall growth, the Redskins be open to letting him cut his teeth in the middle of the offensive line.
- What stood out most about Crowder's day was just how often Kirk Cousins threw his way. I didn't track targets when the Redskins were running full team sets, but it sure seemed like the slot threat was receiving two of every three or so throws. Crowder told me later he wasn't thrilled with his performance because of a few drops. That's fair, but drops weren't a notable issue last season.
- Ross, who would likely be the fifth receiver and primary kick returner, hauled in some nice catches one week after several drops. He went low for one toss and jumped a defender in the end zone for another.
- One interesting moment came on the sideline between safety DeAngelo Hall and tight ends coach Wes Phillips. It appears that Hall believed he was held by a tight end on one play and then took issue with Phillips praising the unknown TE for his work. This went on for around five minutes with Phillips eventually trying to laugh it off and Hall having none of it. Doug Williams and then later Gruden both came over to calm Hall down. Who says OTA are competitive?
- The additions of David Bruton and Su'a Cravens have overshadowed the return of safety Duke Ihenacho, but he shouldn't be overlooked in the battle for a starting spot opposite DeAngelo Hall. Ihenacho broke up a pass intended for Crowder at one point, trailing the play before accelerating as the pass neared the target. That said, Bruton primarily worked with the first-team.
- Speaking of defensive backs, Dashaun Phillips worked with the starters in nickel packages and looked adept on pass defense. As with any of these lineup notes, realize that in some cases the coaches may simply want to get a closer look at different players in different spots to see what they can and can't handle. The defensive backfield rivals inside linebackers for most competitive when it comes to deep roster battles. Phillips seemed on the outside, so his usage is something to keep an eye on going forward.
- The run of the day didn't belong to Matt Jones or rookie Keith Marshall, but undrafted free agent Robert Kelley. The 6-foot-0, 228-pounder stood out one play around midfield when he quickly accelerated through a hole and raced to the end zone. Running backs Randy Jordan loudly celebrated the play, screaming, "That's a touchdown, dog! Bam!" Gruden noted the true limitations with evaluating the running game when everyone is only in "shorts and helmet."
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