As the practices start piling up, players really begin being tested in some high stress situations both physically and mentally. The Redskins finished up their sixth day of practice without a few key names on the field. Here are my "Fun Bunch" of thoughts from Day 6.
- I noted on Twitter yesterday that inside linebacker Su'a Cravens did not participate in the live sessions of offense vs. defense. Coach Jay Gruden explained why media during his press conference that Cravens would miss practice today and "maybe" tomorrow due to a strained tendon on the back of his leg. Gruden made a joke about rookies and tendons on the back of their legs. That seems like a decent coping skill. That Cravens still performed some basic rookie duties after practice indicates this injury isn't major.
- I'll follow who was missing from practice by who was added. Wide receiver Reggie Diggs was activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list. He towered over most of the other receivers during drills so it wasn't hard to spot him. He didn't participate in any live action drills as they are bringing him along slowly, but at 6'4" he might be someone to pay attention to with most of the other undrafted guys not distinguishing themselves.
- Defensive end Kendall Reyes continues to split time with Ricky Jean Francois as the first team RDE. Reyes spoke to a few of us yesterday saying that while it's his first year in Washington, it's his fifth year in defensive coordinator Joe Barry's defense. Reyes said players come up to him and ask him about certain things in the defense. He said he hasn't just practiced in this system, he's seen this system for five years in live action so he knows what works and what doesn't.
- I have yet to comment on the videos of cornerback Josh Norman that people seem to be using to force agendas. I kept a close eye on him during 11 on 11 sessions and he was all over wide receivers. He was able to play more zone and quickly identified anyone who entered his zone then locked them up. Norman also carried a receivers through his zone and quickly transitioned to the next guy. Norman carried wide receiver DeSean Jackson on one play as Quarterback Kirk Cousins found running back Matt Jones in the flat and Norman was already back in the flat with an opportunity for an immediate hit. The Redskins are paying Norman to play in the system.
- It seems to me like quarterback Colt McCoy is pressing a little bit. He has been taking more chances and throwing some pretty dangerous balls in to good and even double coverage. He has just been more reckless with the ball than I am accustomed to seeing from him. He has had some good balls too like today when he hit Wide receiver Ryan Grant on a corner route right between cornerback Quinton Dunbar and safety Duke Ihenacho. But later, he threw a pass to tight end Niles Paul that got picked off by linebacker Martrell Spaight. To be fair, I thought Paul looked open too and Spaight came from the opposite seam, it's just an example of McCoy's up and down play while Coach Gruden is looking for an elevated medium.
- Cornerback Greg Toler had another strong day smothering wide receiver Pierre Garcon on a couple of end zone throws. I can't emphasize enough the showing he is having here in Richmond. With Norman and Breeland firmly atop the depth chart, Toler might be competing with cornerback Quinton Dunbar for snaps which seemed offensive to even suggest a few weeks ago. With cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and DaShaun Phillips competing for snaps in the slot, Toler is making the third boundary corner spot interesting. Toler and Dunbar will also have to show their chops on special teams.
- Offensive guard Shawn Lauvao, who returned this week after five surgeries since Week 3, and inside linebacker Perry Riley continue to get snaps with their respective first teams but there hasn't been any extreme changing of the guard yet. Walking off the practice field, Lauvao told Breaking Burgundy's Ben Standig he only experienced the usual soreness following his first practice Monday since and that practice number two went just fine. Spencer Long and Mason Foster continue to get more of the snaps at their respective positions for now.
- Running Back Keith Marshall is as good as gone when there is a big hole. When there isn't, he still needs to work on his patience but the Redskins are giving him every chance to develop it. Marshall continues to get a few carries with the first team while running back Chris Thompson comes in on passing downs and utility duties.
- At 6'3" linebacker Terence Garvin sometimes looks out of place in the middle of the defense because so many of Washington's Inside linebackers are shorter. Garvin got some work with the second team next to Spaight today and he was very active. He met Marshall in the hole once and stopped him in his place. He met Marshall in the hole again with a big hit, and when Marshall bounced off the hit and tried to head outside, Garvin brought him down from behind. Later in practice, running Back Mack Brown caught a ball on a flare route and Garvin was out there and gave him quite a pop. Garvin did give up a deep pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder but that is to be expected. It was a good job by quarterback Kirk Cousins finding the mis-match.
- Speaking of Cousins, he and Linebacker Will Compton are the clear leaders on their side of the ball. On one fun play today, Cousins came up to the line of scrimmage, he scanned the defense and quickly called and audible. Compton came up to listen to the audible and called a counter audible. The defense shifted and Cousins called off his audible which caused Compton to call off his audible. With time running out, Cousins tried to fit a quick pass into Garcon that almost got picked off by Breeland. To watch the chess match play out was great to see.
- Running back Robert Kelley confirmed with Ben Standig that he will return to practice Wednesday after missing the last two days with a hamstring injury.
Paul Conner is the Film Analyst and Draft Evaluator at Breaking Burgundy. You can follow him on Twitter @P_ConnerJr
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