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5 Takeaways: Jay Gruden's OTAs Day 9 Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's media session with reporters during the third week of OTAs at Redskins Park.


1. Gruden expects Jamison Crowder to be ready to go for next week's minicamp.

Jackson attended OTAs for the first time this week, participating in Monday's and Tuesday's practice sessions.

While he was not on the field on Wednesday, Gruden expects Jackson to be a full participant for next week's three-day minicamp, the final practice sessions before training camp opens up in July.

"We expect him to be here next week," Gruden said. "I mean it is what it is. We are going to coach the players that are here. It's voluntary for these players to show up. We'd love for them all to be here, but I trust that if he's not here he's getting his body ready and he proved that the last couple days."

Jackson missed significant time during the first half of last season, as a hamstring injury forced him to miss six games and a majority of the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. But when the three-time Pro Bowler returned, his well-known speed opened up the entire offense.

Gruden said during the two practice sessions Jackson attended this week, "he looked the fastest he's ever been, had great stamina."

"DeSean is going to be just fine," Gruden said. 

2. Gruden has been "very impressed" with Martrell Spaight.

While Spaight was a fifth-round pick out of Arkansas last year, he was expected to contribute as a rookie.

Check out these photos of Arkansas linebacker Martrell Spaight, the 141st-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

But in the very first game of his NFL career, Spaight suffered a season-ending concussion.

As he works his way back onto the field, Spaight, who admitted he feels like this season is "make-or-break" for him, is playing with the same passion and potential the Redskins saw in him during his college career.

"He's made some mistakes because he missed a lot of time last year, but he plays with a lot of energy," Gruden said. "You're really not going to see the impact he has on a football game until he puts the pads on and starts hitting. That's what he did at Arkansas and that's what he's going to do in the preseason games."

Gruden said during this time of year, "you won't see the true Spaight." Get him in pads and it's a different story.

"I'm really impressed with the way he's come back and I can't wait to see him hit," Gruden said. 

3. Trent Williams is playing with "a lot of confidence" right now.

One of the biggest takeaways from Wednesday's practice session was just how sharp Cousins looked against the Redskins' revamped defense.

Cousins not only threw multiple touchdown passes, he operated the offense in a similar fashion to his final few games of the 2015 season.

"He's got great command of the offense, that's one thing that you notice," Gruden said. "He's got great command over the formations, he's got great command on the snap count, and that's something he didn't so much have the first year I was here and even last year in this time of year. But when you get command of the little things, it makes the big things a lot easier and he's seeing things a lot better, concepts versus different coverage, he's doing a good job."

To keep Cousins on his toes, not allowing the quarterback to get too comfortable or set in his ways, Gruden has been challenging him in different situations.

"Backed up, red zone, third down, fourth down, two-point plays, all of it and trying to see how he handles them," Gruden said. "Offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, offensive line, everybody. Not just the quarterbacks. We're trying to challenge him and push the envelope a little bit, get as many situational problems as we can get them on tape and see how they react and correct off of it and he's much more comfortable in all of them."

4. Gruden expects to see progress out of the Brandon Scherff-Morgan Moses tandem.

One of the brightest spots on a terrific season for the Redskins in 2015 was the play of rookie guard Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses.

With Moses only getting significant action in one game as a rookie and Scherff still fresh out of college, the thought that the two would excel quickly didn't seem possible to some.

Together, though, they helped turn around an offensive line that had struggled the previous two seasons.

Heading into the 2016 season, Gruden believes the two will pick up right where they left off.

"Just progress, keep getting bigger and stronger in the weight room and continue to progress mentally," Gruden said. "Continue to gain confidence over the situations, the fronts and the movements and they're doing that. They're an excellent group of young prospects to have in this building, both love football and they both work extremely hard. We feel they will continue to grow and get better."

5. The transition to safety has been natural for DeAngelo Hall.

The second-longest tenured player on the Redskins' defense, DeAngelo Hall is entering new waters going into his 13th NFL season.

He's now a safety after quite the successful career at cornerback.

Hall has been working with the first-team at safety, during OTAs where he's been able to show off some of his natural abilities, but is having to learn on the fly, too.

"There are some nuances at safety that he has to adjust to," Gruden said. "He had an opportunity last year to get a taste of it and this year with the offseason now, it's very important to show up especially if you're playing a new position. There's no substitution for reps and we're getting a lot of quality work and for guys like him to see whether he is a pull safety or a cover two safety, or if he's down in the box. All these reps are important to him to see what gap he is filling. He's getting more and more comfortable by the minute and I think he's going to be a heck of a player at that position."

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