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Practice Notes: 2017 Minicamp, Day 2

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Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 2 of Washington Redskins 2017 minicamp.


Offense:

--Wednesday marked the second and final day of minicamp practice before players leave the facility to vacation and return home. Naturally, practice had a "last day of school" vibe to it. That started from the top, as head coach Jay Gruden was in good spirits, talking it up with the quarterbacks and chasing running backs around and yelling as they caught passes and turned up field.

The Washington Redskins offense held their second minicamp practice of 2017 on June 14, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

--Besides the early smiles, the offense struggled throughout the course of practice, starting with some deep pass attempts to Terrelle Pryor Sr. Quarterback Trent Williams got eager trying to stretch the defense, and lofted a deep ball to Pryor in double coverage which drifted right and into Josh Norman's arms on the other side of the hash marks. A near interception on a similar play happened on the next sequence for the first team, in which Pryor couldn't haul in another deep pass while being covered by D.J. Swearinger Sr.. The safety grabbed a second interception later on a miscommunication between Cousins and Josh Doctson, in which the receiver cut back on his route and Cousins thought he would keep running down the sideline.

--Cousins said after practice that last year he treated a lot of the offseason and training camp like he was preparing for Monday Night Football, and that he has been trying to take it easier to not feel "burned out" before the regular season. As he continues to adjust to a new crop of receivers, and for that matter, the defensive backs covering them, the chances he's taking downfield will likely find better results.

--One of the rookie receivers, Zach Pascal, received some praise from Gruden during practice. He complimented the way Pascal ran some routes during individual drills and made a nice grab over the middle in some traffic.

--During 7-on-7 drills, wide receiver Ryan Grant caught a pass over the middle. The reason this is noteworthy is because of the little attention paid on him. Both Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Jordan Reed lined up next to each other on the left side of the offense, grabbing a lot of eyes and leaving the middle of the field open for Grant to find a big window. That could be one of the more advantageous ways in which the offense lines up this season.

--The team wrapped up with some red zone work, and the offense found a little more rhythm. Cousins showed off some of his scrambling skills on a couple plays – "Ok, fine, I'll score then," he joked as he raced across the goal line – while tight end Niles Paul caught a tough touchdown pass from Colt McCoy in traffic in the back of end zone. 

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

Defense:

--Redskins head coach Jay Gruden wanted quarterback Kirk Cousins to test his deep pass ability during Wednesday's practice session, and while No. 8 hit some of his targets, it resulted in a pair of interceptions for the defensive unit. First, cornerback Josh Norman took advantage of a pass thrown behind wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. to record an interception. Then later in 11-on-11 drills, D.J. Swearinger was able to pick off a pass intended for wide receiver Josh Doctson before coming down and tapping his toes inbounds.

The Washington Redskins defense and special teams held their second minicamp practice of 2017 on June 14, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

--The Redskins were impressed with Swearinger throughout offseason workouts and the 25-year-old proved once again why on Wednesday. Not only did the South Carolina product record that interception, he also had a nice pass breakup in 7-on-7s, reaching over tight end Vernon Davis to knock the ball away, and was one of the most vocal players on the field throughout the afternoon. He is coming a career year with the Arizona Cardinals, recording personal bests in passes defensed (eight) and interceptions (three).

--Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula noted this week that he doesn't look at his defensive linemen in a hierarchy. There isn't a depth chart right now and even when one is on paper during the season, a rotation will be implemented. During Wednesday's practice, the defense started with Matt Ioannidis and Ziggy Hood at defensive end and Joey Mbu at nose tackle. Mbu also got some work in at nose tackle with the third-team defense while also playing some defensive end during red zone work. Phil Taylor Sr., meanwhile, was the nose tackle working with the first-team defense in the red zone. Earlier in the day the former first-round pick had one play in which he burst through the offensive line to stop a run.

--While Zack Brown, Will Compton and Mason Foster are rotating in and out with the first-team unit at inside linebacker, rookies Nico Marley and Josh Harvey-Clemons worked with the second unit and Zach Vigil and Pete Robertson with the third unit. Martrell Spaight did not participate in offseason workouts as he continues to rehab from a shoulder injury suffered late last season.

--The defense's third interception on the afternoon came courtesy cornerback Dashaun Phillips on a 2nd-and-goal play from unit's own eight-yard line. Phillips jumped a ball intended for wide receiver Matt Hazel from quarterback Colt McCoy. Phillips, of course, started Washington's first two games last season and appeared in a total of five games. 

(Stephen Czarda)

Special teams:

--The Redskins had eight players lined up deep to return punts during the only special teams-only segment of practice: Bashaud Breeland, Jamison Crowder, Will Blackmon, Matt Hazel, Levern Jacobs, Chris Thompson, Maurice Harris and Zach Pascal.

(Stephen Czarda)

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