Redskins training camp: Kirk Cousins' work and other August 7 observations

Emmanual Benton shares his notes on the latest practice session at Redskins Training Camp including thoughts on Cousins, Josh Norman and a veteran lineman finding his stride.

RICHMOND -- The Washington Redskins returned to practice Sunday following a day off. Head coach Jay Gruden addressed several matters after practice, including Jamison Crowder's lingering injury. Here's what I saw during the day's lone session.


  • Kirk Cousins believes he's better since the start of camp and he had a solid outing Sunday. He looked good in the two minute drill and was overall efficient. He had trouble throwing behind receivers last season on those inside routes. I saw that a few times Sunday.

  • It's hard to gauge Matt Jones' progress when the team isn't tackling. But I like what he's doing from a technical standpoint. He's pressing the ball inside instead of constantly cutting outside. That should help his yards per carry. He's also lowering his shoulders more often.

  • Staying with the running backs Mack Brown stood out with a really nice cutback run. Keith Marshall has great speed but has to be careful about freelancing. He did a nice job pressing the hole on one play in team drills. The next play Marshall missed a hole by bouncing outside too soon. Consistency will be key.

  • This isn't a snap decision, but Josh LeRibeus struggled Sunday. He snapped the ball from center high three times, continuing an issue that plagued his 2015 when he filled in. 

  • Morgan Moses is great in the run game, but the massive right tackle is very grabby against pass rushers. He uses his long arms well to initiate contact. However, Moses grabs immediately when rushers beat him off the line.

  • Tight end Jordan Reed looked really smooth in his return to practice after missing Friday's session with a thumb injury. He had a nice diving catch in team drills. His feet looked quick in one on ones. Niles Paul and Vernon Davis also impressed. Solid group.

  • Brandon Scherff is invisible in drills unless you're keying in on him. That's a good thing. If there was a weakness that concerned many about him coming out of college, it was against pass rush. He looked really stout in both one on ones and teams drills.

  • For all the talk about the left guard battle, I'll be surprised if Shawn Lauvao doesn't start. He stood up in practice from the start upon returning from a lengthy injury absence and looked really good from what I saw on Sunday. On one play in team drills, Lauvao literally parted a massive hole on a run play with help from right guard Arie Kouandjio. His teammates went wild.

  • Rookie QB Nate Sudfeld has a gun but lacks touch right now. Needs to work on keeping his feet moving in the pocket. He does do a solid job going thru reads.

  • Kouandjio really struggled in one on ones (more below), but did a solid job in team drills for the most part.


  • Kendall Fuller had a really nice snap vs DeSean Jackson in one on ones. The rookie cornerback stayed on Jackson's hip and attacked the ball for a pass break up. He has great feet and attacks the ball well.

  • Much has been said about @josh norman's training camp performance, but the Pro Bowl corner looked great in team drills. He was in DeSean Jackson's pocket on two deep outside routes. I don't think Cousins even threw his way on Sunday.

  • Inside linebacker Will Compton showed great range by identifying an outside run and chasing down the speedy Marshall before he turned upfield. It was a really impressive play.

  • Defensive lineman Stephen Paea is using his hands really well to create penetration. He was a complete animal in one on ones -- bull rushing Kouandjio to the ground twice. Paea looked like the best defensive linemen out there on Sunday. If that holds up when the season starts, questions about the defensive line decrease.

  • The Trent Murphy position watch remains as moved back and forth from DE to OLB. He had some unsuccessful snaps vs Moses showing a lack of hand usage at DE.

  • Taking advantage of Trent Williams sitting out the 11-on-11 session, Preston Smith had a nice showing on Sunday. He had some nice battles against backup left tackle Ty Nsekhe both in one on ones and team drills. Preston showed good hand usage and won majority of the battles. I like how he uses his hands to combat offensive tackles. "Big hands - long arms -- ain't nothing better," yelled linebacker coach Greg Manusky after a would've been sack.

  • Cornerback Quinton Dunbar attacks the ball aggressively. He did a nice job breaking on a short route in two minute drill -- popping the receiver and forcing an incompletion.

Special Teams

  • The Redskins plan to try kicking shorter kickoffs this season to offset the new touchback rule. Dustin Hopkins does a good job getting the ball inside the 20 yard line. But the coverage team will have to be extremely stout or the Redskins could give up even more yards to the opposing offense. It's a risk-reward game for sure.

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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