Stating the group of wide receivers represents the strongest unit on the Washington Redskins isn't a stretch. Yet that group is taking some lumps early on the injury front now that Jamison Crowder remains sidelined along with Josh Doctson.
Crowder did not participate in practice for the second straight session with a "hamstring issue," coach Jay Gruden said Sunday. The slot receiver also sat out Friday's practice and might not play in Thursday's preseason opener at Atlanta. The team took the day off Saturday.
"He's going to be close to Atlanta. If not Atlanta, then the following week," Gruden said of Crowder's status. "He's not far away."
The second-year receiver is locked into the starting slot role with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon on the outside. Doctson (Achilles) has yet to participate fully in training camp and remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Tight end Jordan Reed (thumb) and left tackle Trent Williams (sore knee) both returned to practice after missing recent sessions. Williams did not join the first unit for 11-on-11 work, replaced by Ty Nsekhe.
“Trent went through individual, did a little bit more today," Gruden said. "We’ll gradually progress him until he’s ready to roll, which is very, very close.”
* Here's what Gruden said when asked about the young running backs.
“Running backs, all you’re looking for – well, number one – you’re looking for how they pick it up mentally, their footwork and obviously the pass protection. We take very seriously our pass protection around here. But as far as running the football, we’re going to see that on game day. You know, some guys I’ve seen in shorts, running backs like, ‘Holy cow, this guy can’t be tackled,’ and then he gets into a game and then he gets into a game and he gets tackled and runs backwards the wrong way. So we’ll see how it works out. But I really am excited to watch these guys run. Robert Kelley has been very impressive. Mack Brown’s been hitting some holes extremely well. I’ve seen Chris [Thompson], and Matt [Jones] is exploding through there. So we have some interesting guys to choose from and it will be fun to watch.”
That's some nice recognition for Kelley, an undrafted rookie from Tulane. It's notable Gruden didn't mention Keith Marshall, Washington's seventh round pick and the fastest player at this year's NFL combine.Those hoping he emerges as the third back behind Matt Jones and Chris Thompson shouldn't fret just yet. As Gruden stated, the true test as runners won't come until game.
* Speaking of the left tackle spot...
“They are going at it. Both of them are doing some good things," Gruden said. "They’re learning the system. It’s a good matchup. Fuller’s come in – coming off of the injury in college – and we didn’t expect to see him this quick, especially in OTAs when we saw him. We gradually progressed him and he’s making a run for it. Phillips is using last year as an advantage and a springboard to gain more confidence and learn the system, and he’s got a great skillset. It’s a good battle and we’ll see in preseason how they tackle and all that stuff.”
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