Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Andrew Walker break down the key plays and highlights from Day 8 of the Washington Redskins' 2015 training camp in Richmond, Va.
-- The Redskins' offense was at its best during the final drill session of the day, scoring two touchdowns in down-and-goal situations. The first-team, starting on the 8-yard line, gave the ball to Alfred Morris on first down. While he got down to the 4-yard line before the whistle blew, Morris could have possibly gone all the way, even with contact. On second down, Robert Griffin III tossed a perfectly-placed fade pass to Pierre Garçon in the corner of the end zone for the score. The coverage simply had no chance. The second-team, meanwhile, handed it to Matt Jones who took it down to the 4-yard line as well. After a simulated 2-yard loss on second down, Colt McCoy fumbled the ball, picked it up, scrambled out to his right and found Evan Spencer for a score. With an emphasis on better red zone play this season, the coaches have to be happy with these drives.
-- The Texans' defense had difficulty whenever Jordan Reed lined up out wide, as his size and speed creates mismatches. During 1-on-1 drills, the Florida product sped past the defense for a nice over-the-shoulder grab on a go route.
-- Matt Jones may have had the highlight of the day during 11-on-11 drills, as he raced down the sidelined and then proceeded to shoulder off safety Eddie Pleasant for a loud pop that could be heard on the fans' side of the field. Jones' teammates were quick to applaud the rookie for his powerful move. Head coach Jay Gruden said the coaching staff has been encouraging Jones to finish off his runs better, which shouldn't be a problem for such a large back.
-- During one of the sessions on Friday, each team's offense would start at the 30-yard line and get a few plays to register first downs. The first-team's first drive was highlighted by a 22-yard completion to Andre Roberts on 3rd and 4. Roberts did a nice job holding onto a pass that was a little bit low.
-- When the third-team went through the drill, Trey Williams had a 19-yard gain that could have possibly gone the distance. Williams did a nice job of finding a lane and bursting through it. This, however, came after a previous play that gained only one-yard and a "you can't dance" comment by Gruden saying that he was waiting too long to get up field.
-- While Gruden said that Chris Thompson is really starting to grasp the team's third-down back role, they used him on the very first play of 11-on-11's. Thompson, running to his left, hit a hole created by rookie Brandon Scherff, who pulled on the play, and raced up the sideline very quickly. On the next play, Jones barreled over safety Rahim Moore.
-- J.J. Watt continues to provide the offensive line with an opponent who brings it every play, and on one in particular, he showed exactly why he's the best defensive player in football right now. Lining up in the middle of the line, Watt pushed right through the Redskins' offensive line, maneuvered his way around Niles Paul and would have gotten Alfred Morris for a negative play. The next play, though, Griffin III was given a clean pocket after the line held off Watt to give him time to connect with Reed.
-- It doesn't matter which of the quarterbacks is throwing to Ryan Grant in terms of timing, as he's got a great rapport with all three. Grant continues to beat defenses with his sharp route running as well. Next for him will be to do the same in the preseason games like he did last year, and carry it over to the regular-season games when given the opportunity.
-- Scherff impressed during 1-on-1 drills with the Texans pass rushers, especially in a matchup with six-year veteran Brandon Deaderick, as he held him off from the hike to the whistle. We'll see how he does over the next few weeks and in the preseason games, but the rookie has been sharp since being moved over to guard earlier this week.
-- Several defensive players either were held out of practice on Friday, or suffered minor tweaks throughout the session, but are not expected to miss significant time. They include linebacker Preston Smith (groin), Stephen Paea (groin) and Frank Kearse (knee), as well as previously-announced injuries to Chris Culliver (groin), Jeron Johnson (hamstring), DeAngelo Hall (groin) and Trevardo Williams (hamstring). Of those players, only Williams is expected to miss more than another day or two.
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-- Cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who was carted off one week ago after suffering a painful sprained MCL, was looking good off to the side as he worked on agility drills with the team's trainers. Breeland is not expected to be available until at least Week 2 of the regular season, but it's certainly good news to see him responding so well so quickly.
-- With the team's top four cornerbacks sidelined with injuries on Friday, two rookies got their chance to run with the first-team defense: Deshazor Everett and Tajh Hasson, joining veteran Justin Rogers. Everett has obviously made a good impression since signing with the team just six days ago.
-- Junior Galette is still recovering from a pec injury suffered when he was with the New Orleans Saints, but we're told he's close to being a full participant in practice relatively soon. In the meantime, Galette has been working off to the side with strength and conditioning assistant Joe Kim, and you can see why he's so effective at winning 1-on-1s and getting to the quarterback. Galette has showed off a flexibility that is unmatched on the Redskins' defensive line, and his intensity as he runs through drills is impressive. Whenever he's able to get back onto the field, it should be fun to watch Galette and Ryan Kerrigan attack the passer.
-- Speaking of Kerrigan, the fifth-year veteran out of Purdue had a very solid practice on Friday. Starting with 1-on-1 drills against the Texans' offensive linemen, he first beat tackle Aaron Adams with a powerful bull rush, juked tackle Matt Feiler out of his shoes, and then, just for fun, on the final 1-on-1 drill of the session, they moved him over to the right side to go up against Texans left tackle Duane Brown. Brown got a good initial punch on Kerrigan, but the linebacker quickly recovered and sidestepped Brown to get to the quarterback. Then, during 11-on-11s, Kerrigan quickly got to quarterback Ryan Mallett on third down for a would-be sack to force a punt.
-- Fellow outside linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat also had a strong showing during 1-on-1 drills, winning on three straight plays to beat guard Cody White with a strong rip move, blowing by tackle Bryan Witzmann and simply putting in a good effort against Adams.
-- A quick note: 10th-year pro Kedric Golston also flashed throughout Friday's practice, both in multiple 1-on-1 situations, and then getting a would-be sack on Mallett (with Kerrigan also there just in case) during 11-on-11s on the far field. The Redskins' defensive line is deep.
-- Cornerback Trey Wolfe, working with the second-team defense, made a nice play to nearly pick off Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer. Hoyer put some zip on a pass to his left, and Wolfe quickly reacted to get both hands up and knock it down. Continuing with Wolfe, he made a great read on a Hoyer pass later in practice and gambled, diving all out for the football, which evaded his grip and reached its intended target, Damaris Johnson, for a big gain. But the next play, Wolfe redeemed himself by making a nice play to knock Uzoma Nwachukwu out of bounds before he could get both feet in for an incompletion.
-- Defensive lineman Robert Thomas flashed bright on one play, getting through the line and having a clear shot at the quarterback – that is, before an offensive lineman tackled him to the ground. The refs at the practice called holding, but you can bet Thomas would've rather had the sack.
-- The first-team Redskins defense did a good job keeping the first-string Texans offense out of the end zone during a red zone drill at the end of practice. Starting 1st and Goal from the Washington 10-yard line, Houston could only muster getting to the 2-yard line before being forced into a would-be field goal attempt. Dashon Goldson was key on the drive, making two stops.
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-- During the second-team red zone drill, rookie linebacker Houston Bates would've had a sack on Brian Hoyer, but the coaches and refs let the play continue, which resulted in a touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong. It was a nice play by Bates, who was getting second-team reps due to Smith's absence with a groin injury.
-- Since he has no competition at his position in training camp this year, punter Tress Way continues to work on improving after an impressive first season with the Redskins. On early punting drills – full 11-on-11 kicks to the awaiting Texans returners – Way averaged about 4.6 seconds of hang time per punt, according to the official Redskins.com stopwatch. Way also excelled in a later period when trying to land punts inside the opposing 20-yard line, most of which stayed out of the end zone and would've given the opposing offense tough starting field position.
-- There was no open field goal kicking competition in Friday's practice as there has been in recent days for Kai Forbath and Ty Long.