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5 Takeaways: Jay Gruden's Week 3 OTAs Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's Week 3 OTA press conference in Loudoun County, Va.


1. Gruden says cornerback David Amerson has been committed to improving this offseason.

In his rookie year, Amerson certainly showed more than a few glimpses of why the Redskins picked him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, playing in all 16 games with eight starts and recording 48 tackles with two interceptions and 10 passes defensed.

His first-career interception he returned 45 yards against the Oakland Raiders, recording the longest return by a Redskins' rookie since cornerback Champ Bailey in 1999.

But Amerson struggled a bit in 2014, increasing his total tackles to 61, but recorded just seven passes defensed and no interceptions in 15 total games.

Gruden said Amerson has been a constant at the Redskins' training facility this offseason, and is one of many returning players to "buy in" in 2015.

"David is a one of the great examples of coming in every day, learning the new system and competing," Gruden said. "We signed Chris Culliver. He could have buried his head. We've got [DeAngelo] D-Hall coming back. We've got [Bashaud] Breeland who had a great year last year as a rookie. But David has come in here, opened his eyes up, learned a new system and competed just like everybody else has, so I've been very impressed with David."

Amerson could still be a huge part of the Redskins' defense in 2015, particularly in their nickel packages.

2. The competition is high, even at primarily non-contact OTA practices.

Gruden, who is entering his second season as the Redskins' head coach, said his players at each position have embraced the concept of competition as practices get more and more detailed.

"Everybody understands in pro football, man, there's going to be somebody behind you, somebody next to you you're going to have to compete with every day," Gruden said. "In order to keep your job, you've got to maintain a high level of excellence."

Gruden said those in "starting" positions at the moment should never feel satisfied.

"If you're a starter right now, you've got to maintain it," he said. "Otherwise, somebody is going to be right on your heels. That's the way it should be. We have great competition at every position. It's exciting to watch these guys play."

3. Gruden isn't worried about the presence of HBO's cameras when the Houston Texans come for joint training camp practices.

The Texans this training camp will be the featured on the hit HBO series HARD KNOCKS, and, as was announced on Monday, they will be coming to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center Aug. 6-8 to conduct joint practices with the Redskins.

Check out images from the Washington Redskins' OTA practice on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

Yes, expect the cameras to follow them there. But that doesn't worry Gruden one bit.

"They'll be focused on them, but I'm sure they'll sneak a camera shot in on us a little bit," Gruden said with a smile.

If nothing else, Gruden knows the folks at HARD KNOCKS will have the opportunity to showcase the Redskins' "good group of guys."

"I'm not worried about HARD KNOCKS," Gruden reiterated. "We're going to have some fun with it and practice and compete."

4. Speaking of joint training camp practices with the Texans, Gruden says the experience is "going to be beneficial to all of us."

"It's game situations," Gruden said. "It's something we don't know is going to happen. It's unscripted plays. It's red zone. It's move the ball. It's third downs. It's all the situations you get against an opponent. It's competitive every day. You get to see our young guys against their young guys, our vets against their vets. It's going to be a good time and I welcome it."

Gruden knows from experience, after all. The New England Patriots came to Richmond, Va., last year for three days of joint practices, giving the Redskins' staff and players an up-close-and-personal look at how future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady operate in a practice setting.

"You get to see veteran players and a veteran coach that has won a lot of football games, obviously, a head football coach that every football coach looks up to," Gruden said. "You get to see how he worked, which is exciting, obviously one of the best quarterbacks of all-time work."

Overall, Gruden said the Patriots practices, however, were less about what New England was doing, but "how we can do things better and how we can make our team better."

"You're trying to evaluate your team and trying to make the final cuts because cuts are looming right around the corner and you've got to make a decision on your 53 guys," Gruden said. "You're trying to put guys in position where they're going against other guys fighting for their lives in real situations and that's great to see."

5. The Redskins will experiment by shuffling around members of their offensive line during practices.

Tuesday's practice, for example, saw Tom Compton lined up at both left tackle and right guard, the latter of which Compton hasn't spent much time with at the professional level.

Gruden said it's always important for an offensive lineman to be versatile, because when one lineman goes down with an injury, you need someone to plug in who can be effective right away.

"You have to be able to play right guard, left guard and center. You have to move around. You have to practice it," Gruden said. "That's why these guys are moving around so much. So on game day it's, 'OK, get at left guard… but I've never taken a snap,' you know what I mean? So it's very important to get their reps."

Gruden praised the team's offensive line and coach Bill Callahan for "working very well together" this offseason.

"Their communication is excellent and they're all learning and they're all getting better," Gruden said, "and that's kind of the theme around here."

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