Kevin Hogan knows he's not going to be the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, but he still plays a crucial role in training camp.
As Alex Smith and Colt McCoy walk off the field after practice at the Bon Secours Training Center, it's easy to spot the McLean, Va., native getting extra throws in with undrafted rookie receivers.
Hogan's responsibility in Richmond is getting the younger receivers in his group ready for the reps with the second and first team, giving them as many opportunities as possible to showcase why they should make the 53-man roster.
"We spend a lot of time together and I think that it goes to show the character of the guys in the QB room and the receivers room," Hogan said. "Those guys are always asking us questions, what they can do better and we're giving them feedback. Everyone's willing to learn and listen and I think that goes very well because we're able to communicate, take coaching and apply it."
The quarterbacks and wide outs go over the film from practices in their meetings, which is also a time for the receivers to talk about where they want the ball.
Not only does the 6-foot-3 quarterback focus on how he can make himself better, but he also turns his attention to the prospects around him in the passing game. Whenever Smith and McCoy are getting reps, that allows Hogan to see the way a play is supposed to be run.
His understanding of how the first team executes the offense is helping the younger wide receivers prepare for when their opportunity comes.
"I'm learning that more and more each day," Hogan said. "It's about repetition and seeing when Alex and Colt get a rep on film, I got to kind of visualize that so that if I get that rep I can make the same read or go somewhere else with the ball. Then it's just about getting reps. A lot of times, I have to get visual reps. After practice, it's my time to get the reps with the guys that I'm going to be in the game with and during practice with. So I'm making sure that I'm getting tons of reps with those guys."
After being traded to Washington from the Cleveland Browns, the former Stanford quarterback is now helping the new guys adjust to life in professional football. Hogan has conversations with rookie receiver Cam Sims after every throw to make sure both have the same route concepts in mind, a discussion Hogan has with multiple players.
Having starting experience in the NFL, Hogan has shared stories of the adjustment a college player must make to succeed at the next level. His wisdom is helping players like Sims make that change to the more rapid pace of a Redskins practice.
"I had to adjust real quick from college to the NFL and he helped me with that," Sims said. "The timing is way faster and everything is moving a lot faster. So he just helped me with that."
The Washington Redskins conducted their sixth day of training camp practice Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
Using the extra work from Hogan and the similarity of how the first team runs their offense, undrafted rookies are already moving up the ladder just a week in. Wednesday's practice saw former Indiana standout Simmie Cobbs Jr. catching some passes from Smith during individual work, with Sims coming down with a reception for a touchdown when the group faced the defensive backs in 1-on-1 drills.
While head coach Jay Gruden wants most of the reps to go to his starter, he appreciates the fact that Hogan has taken advantage of his opportunities to make everyone around him a better football player.
"Kevin's been great. You know it's another one like [running back] Martez [Carter]," Gruden said. "Some of these down the line guys don't get many reps in practice. You know, Alex needs as many as he can get and then the ones that are left, Colt [McCoy] is a ball hog, he's gonna take the rest of them so we have to tell Colt to get out of there and get Kevin in there. But, Kevin's done a good job. Kevin has always been a smart quarterback without a doubt, University of Stanford, it's well documented of what he's done and his production there.
"He just hasn't had quite the reps to where we've had a great chance to look at him," Gruden added. "But, when you're third string quarterback, you better be smart and when you do get your reps you better know where to go with the ball and Kevin's done a good job of that."