Redskins mini-camp notebook: DeSean does work; Reed sits

We may just be talking practice, but the Redskins brought the intensity at the start of mini-camp, which included one notable receiver, but not two others.

ASHBURN, Va. -- Thoughts on the start of the Redskins two-day mini-camp, including the presence of DeSean Jackson, who was only watching and a spirited day from both sides of the ball.

* Before examining those who participated, let's note those who didn't. Tight end Jordan Reed only watched, which is also what he did on the final day of last week's mini-camp. At that time the story was a rest day. On Tuesday, coach Jay Gruden revealed Reed "turned his ankle last week" and that he would not participate in Wednesday's session. After Wednesday, the Redskins are off until July 28 when the team reconvenes in Richmond for the start of training camp. First round pick Josh Doctson (Achilles) remained out of team drills after missing most of such activities over the previous three weeks. Gruden stated "improvement" with the injury, but said Doctson is dealing with "tendonitis on his Achilles. We just want to make sure we can get it taken care of now so t doesn't act up anymore. He could probably go, but we're just being precautionary." It's one thing for a veteran like Reed to miss some work, but this certainly doesn't help Doctson's readiness for what's to come this offseason. The biggest concern is the injury itself, but Gruden doesn't seem fearful.

* For the first time this offseason, DeSean Jackson and the Redskins media were on the Redskins Park practice field at the same time. Not that this was a full-sprint scenario, but Jackson looked prepared physically during unit drills and scrimmages. 

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There's no doubt Jackson's speed element is crucial to all aspects of the offense simply by extending the defense, which then opens room for underneath throws and the run game. Yet on one play, he reminded all why he's truly special as burned Quinton Dunbar deep and hauled in a long toss from Cousins. Speaking of that play...

* Cousins brought the intensity to practice. Reveling in his first offseason as the starting quarterback, Cousins repeatedly roared during practice, particularly after completions. Most notably, the bomb to Jackson down the left sideline, which was where the media stood for practice. Cousins followed the play down the field, racing, pointing and screaming in the direction of reporters and cameramen while making a slight change to his noted catchphrase.

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This wasn't the only moment of clear enthusiasm and possible smacktalk from No. 8, who indeed is taking ownership of the offense.

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* Of course, the defense has plenty of talkers and they let the offense have it when their side made plays. Preston Smith was a pass rushing presence. Once he Mutombo'd a Cousins pass and another time entered the backfield so quickly he forced a throwaway. Bashaud Breeland jumped high and in front of a deep in pass from Cousins to Rashad Ross for an interception, but it was another pick that energized the entire defense. Overall, it was noticeable that Cousins often had to hold the ball while looking for third and fourth options because of the coverage.

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* The defensive backfield will be a major competition this offseason. Sure, Josh Norman and Breeland are the starting corners with DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton appearing set at safety. From there, so much intrigue. Dashaun Phillips continued working often with the starters as the nickelback, but Kendall Fuller and others remain in play for that role. Veteran Greg Toler and rookie Lloyd Carrington fit somewhere down the corner depth chart, but where is uncertain. There could be more than a dozen players vying for 9-10 spots. 

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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