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Redskins Close out May with an OTA!

May 31, 2017
The Redskins are in their second week of organized team activities, as they inch closer to wrapping up their final phase of their off-season program.

On Wednesday, for a second time in two weeks, reporters were allowed to watch a practice session and here’s what I and others noted.

***Early in the team session, Terrelle Pryor blew past Bashaud Breeland and came down with a huge throw-and-catch from Kirk Cousins of at least 45 yards.

Pryor dropped one of these last week, which is going to happen from time-to-time. More importantly, the Redskins have shown a continued interest in airing the ball out, despite not bringing back DeSean Jackson.

So as everyone worries about the Redskins not having a long-ball threat, I wouldn’t. Pryor is plenty fast enough and my eyes are not deceiving me or anybody else.

“Terrelle is a different guy when he is running. He is such a long strider that it doesn’t look like he is running that fast,” Jay Gruden told reporters Wednesday. “We have underthrown him like a dozen times already in two weeks.”

Gruden says that Pryor’s speed is somewhat deceptive because he’s a long strider and that quarterbacks are going to have to trust that “he’s going to get it.”

**Gruden signaled out several receivers by name as part of that same answer, but did not mention Maurice Harris and specifically, Brian Quick.

It could have been a simple oversight, because the belief is that Harris is in good standing and not nothing last week to disappoint. However, Quick could be in some early trouble.

The free-agent addition hasn’t really stood out in either of the two sessions that media has been allowed to see. Kirk Cousins overthrew him once deep today in early team drills.

Gruden noted that Quick had “a big red zone catch (Tuesday) on a fade and he has done some good things.” However, Quick better crank it into gear. Gruden pointed out that Quick has “got to learn who to block in the running game” better and that the decision on who to dress as the teams five wide receivers on gameday would be difficult right now. “

Gruden stressed that special teams’ ability would be a big part of that decision. Crowder and Pryor are locks. Harris and Grant both contribute on specials and Josh Doctson (if healthy) will absolutely be on the active gameday rosters come the regular season.

It appears that right now, Quick would be in a battle for a likely final roster spot with rookie Robert Davis, Kendal Thompson (who was injured and Gruden is hopeful to have him back for training camp in late July), Matt Hazel and Zach Pascal.

One league personnel source that I spoke with recently does not hold Quick in very high regard and it could be that Gruden doesn’t either.

New Rams head coach and former Redskins coordinator, Sean McVay, wasn’t interested or hell-bent on keeping him around despite a career high in receptions (41), targets (79), receiving yards (564) and touchdowns (3).

  **Other random practice notes from Wednesday:

Trent Williams, Jordan Reed, Matt Jones and Ty Nsekhe were all not in attendance per other reporters on the scene. I arrived right in time for team drills, so roll-call for a non-mandatory practice was not on the menu.

DeAngelo Hall and Martrell Spaight were still not practicing for Washington.

On two consecutive plays, Kirk Cousins used a hard-count to get Ziggy Hood to jump initially and on the next play, Trent Murphy, jumped way off-sides.

Part of the reason why the Redskins wanted to bring Cousins back (despite being woefully wrong on the contract situation) is that a third-year starting quarterback entering his sixth NFL season is going to be much better at the nuances of the position than a rookie or even Colt McCoy might be.

Cousins can try and keep defenses guessing and honest, or perhaps draw a critical five-yard penalty with his cadence and command at the line of scrimmage. He also can run more up-temp by design and operate in two-minute situations more effectively.

Experience and quality has a price and a reward.

Josh Norman had a perfect break-up of a pass intended for rookie Robert Davis that was almost an interception. He got good inside leverage, broke on the ball and jumped the pass, knocking it up in the air and away. Preston Smith had terrific pressure on the play from the right side of the defense, opposite of Norman’s side.

In one nickel situation, Trent Murphy dropped all the way back into the middle of the defense and appeared to even be behind starting inside linebacker, Will Compton. Vernon Davis caught a short pass in the flat on this play.

On another play, Murphy hobbled off the field but I don’t believe it was anything serious.

Quinton Dunbar was also banged up during the practice session but Jay Gruden wasn’t giving any injury updates.

Niles Paul had a terrific leaping catch in the back of the end zone during the first portion of two-minute offense drills from Kirk Cousins.

This was set up by a Chris Thompson dump screen to Cousins’ left side. When Thompson finished the play way down the field, running backs coach Randy Jordan was jumping up and down, screaming at him to get “Get off the field!”. The Redskins are clearly taking situational football seriously, as they should, but I haven’t seen a coach that emphatic in a while. Especially in May. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com) & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN  


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