Check out images from the Washington Redskins' first mandatory minicamp practice on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
The Washington Redskins on Tuesday had their first mandatory minicamp practice of the 2015 season. Here's some notes and observations from Redskins.com's Andrew Walker.*
- Tuesday's minicamp practice session began with a vigorous special teams session, led by special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica. While the rest of the team was stretching on the other field, the special teamers were already working up a nice sweat working on punt and kickoff coverages.
- Along those same lines, you can sense a quicker pace in practice this year than last year's sessions – which is a good thing, considering the players will need all the stamina they can get heading into training camp, which features practices this year in the middle of the afternoon vs. the morning sessions a year ago.
- Because of CBA rules, the players cannot do any live hitting during their minicamp practices. But that isn't stopping defensive coordinator Joe Barry from installing tackling drills. During one early-practice session, the linebackers were working on shedding a blocker and then hitting a tackling dummy, landing on a large pad to end the drill. The point of the drill was not only to work on completing a play, but improving tackling form, as well, as players were instructed to strike "just below the numbers."
- Veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall was back on the practice field Tuesday for position drills. Hall, who tore his Achilles Week 3 last season against the Philadelphia Eagles, hopes to be back to 100 percent by training camp.
- Head coach Jay Gruden said today that mental mistakes are a huge point of emphasis this offseason, and this theme was very apparent at Tuesday's practice. If a defensive back dropped a pass during a positional drill, they did push-ups. If an offensive lineman jumped offsides, they ran a lap around the field and were replaced for the ensuing play. Gruden said shoring up these mistakes could be one of the biggest factors as the Redskins work on a much better win-loss record in 2015.
- Offensive line coach Bill Callahan was literally under center taking snaps for one portion of positional drills, getting a bird's-eye view of how his unit is progressing. Callahan is *everywhere * during practices, and continues to chip away at turning his offensive line into one of the best in football.
- Speaking of the offensive line, the Redskins utilized the same "first group" as they did in OTAs last week: Tom Compton at left tackle, Shaw Lauvao at left guard, Kory Lichtensteiger at center, Spencer Long at right guard and Brandon Scherff at right tackle. Trent Williams continues to rehab his ankle, and is expected to return during training camp.
- Running back Silas Redd Jr. made a violent cut to break free on a run to his left during an early 11-on-11 play. It was a nice play by the second-year running back, but he would end up tweaking his ankle later in the day, Gruden confirmed. Although the injury is not believed to be too serious, Gruden said Redd Jr. could miss the rest of this week to rest up for training camp.
- Quarterback Kirk Cousins did a nice job evading the pressure on one play in particular, planting his back foot and delivering a strike to fullback Jordan Campbell, who was left uncovered in the flat. Linebacker Adam Hayward expressed his frustration with the defense about the miscommunication.
- Robert Griffin III showed his progression in Gruden's offense on a couple specific plays. On the first play, with time to throw, he stayed in the pocket and scanned his options, eventually delivering a strike to Pierre Garçon across the middle for a nifty 15-yard gain. Then, a few moments later – during the 7-on-7 period – Griffin III showed off his accuracy on a well-placed ball to DeSean Jackson along the far sideline, a pass just out of the reach of cornerback Chris Culliver.
- Rookie cornerback Tajh Hasson had a nice day, picking off two passes. In the 7-on-7 period, Hasson jumped all over a pass that hit off the hands of Colin Lockett, plucked the ball out of the air and turned in a decent return. In 11-on-11s, Hasson picked off a Kirk Cousins pass along the sideline during the 1-minute drill portion of practice. Hasson, a UNLV product, had three interceptions with the Rebels from 2010-14.
- Wide receiver Andre Roberts made a highlight-reel catch during 7-on-7s. On a throw across the middle from Colt McCoy, Roberts completely laid out and held onto the ball as he hit the ground by pressing it against his helmet.
- In a goal line drill, cornerback David Amerson forced a would-be field goal, batting a Griffin III fade to Ryan Grant to the ground on 3rd and 3.
- In the one-minute drill from their own 30 yard line, Griffin III found Roberts wide open for a 70-yard touchdown on the very first play. The background on this play, however, was Griffin III had perhaps too much time to throw (the defenders can't hit him, obviously) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland fell down in coverage.
- During special teams drills, the punt returners were tasked with fielding a punt with one football already tucked under one arm. Wide receiver Rashad Ross made an impressive catch on one punt in particular from Tress Way, running a long way to the sideline and holding on to both footballs.