The Washington Redskins returned to practice in Richmond Saturday and Jay Gruden addressed the media following the lone session in the sizzling heat. Here are three notes of interest from the head coach.
Injury report: The offense line is beat up. Center Kory Lichtensteiger (sore arm) was limited. Left tackle Trent Williams (knee), who didn't play in Thursday's preseason opener remained out but is "very, very close" per Gruden. "I think he’s going to go tomorrow." Williams' replacement, Ty Nsekhe, "tweaked his knee a little bit" late in practice, but was able to walk off. Tight end Niles Paul (knee hyperextension) could return to practice Sunday. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) practiced, but Maurice Harris also tweaked his knee. "Nothing serious," the coach said.
Penalties: The Redskins committed them early and often against the Falcons. Gruden:
“Four of them were just alignment penalties by our defensive ends. [They] were lined up in the neutral zone. That's easily corrected and that’s partly my fault for letting that go on during practice. So we’ll get that corrected easy. The holding call on Morgan [Moses], the holding call on [Takoby] Cofield, we’ve just got to keep our hands inside, we’ll keep working that. Those things will happen from time to time. The PI on Dunny [Quinton Dunbar] that got called back, he just got there a little early. The special teams penalty is really what we’ve got to address. We’ve got to work on those; those are very, very important. We should never have a holding call on a pooch punt, for goodness sakes. Those are big yards, those 10-yarders that back us up. Instead of getting the ball at the 20, [we get it] at the 10. Those are big. So we’re going to coach them up. We’re going to work on it and make sure we do our best not to let it happen again.”
Rookie reflection: The coach was asked his thoughts on the new guys now that he's had time to review their performances.
“Yeah, you know, some of them showed up and some of them struggle a little bit like they do. We had some issues, little deer-in-the-headlights-type thing for some of them. A couple of them got settled in and played very well. Su’a [Cravens] played well for the most part, had a couple of assignment errors. But for the most part these guys came out and they competed. They’re going to make their mistakes, you know? It’s not an easy thing to do, to play professional football with a new system, new teammates, on the road. The fun thing about it is to just watch their gradual progress and just keep coaching them. There’s a lot of skill there for us to work with and that’s our job to get it out of them, their job to study and get their bodies ready to go and they’re going to be fun to watch.”
Gruden was asked a follow-up on Su'a Cravens.
“Just being around the football. When he’s around the football, he makes plays. He’s batting balls down and on a punt play, the guy cuts it back, one man to miss and he upends him. He makes his presence known. When you’re on the sideline with all the stuff going on, guys flash and pop out at you and Su’a is one of them. He’s all over the place. We’ve just got to keep coaching him up. Sometimes he’s out of place, but he’s out of place with great effort. That’s for sure.”
On if there have been fewer 11-on-11 reps during practice this year:
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