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Practice Notes: 2017 #SkinsCamp, Day 8

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Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 8 of the Washington Redskins' 2017 training camp in Richmond, Va.


Offense:

--Just days after fellow wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. made the play of training camp so far with his acrobatic, one-handed grab for a touchdown on a fade route, Josh Doctson had a similar play Saturday afternoon. During a red zone period of 11-on-11s, the offense was tasked with scoring a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from the five-yard line. After the offense broke the huddle and lined up, quarterback Trent Williams made an audible. Just seconds later, Cousins lofted a ball into the air for Doctson who jumped over cornerback Quinton Dunbar. The 2016 first-round pick would come down with the ball and touch both feet inside the back corner of the end zone for a score.

--While the wide receivers are at an advantage from the get-go with 1-on-1 drills with the defensive backs, they show why the coaching staff is eager about the potential of both Pryor and Doctson. On one rep against cornerback Bashaud Breeland, Doctson went up the ladder to secure an impressive catch over the Clemson product.

--Speaking of the wide receivers, both Jamison Crowder (hamstring) and Maurice Harris (knee/illness) returned to practice with limited workloads. Both participated in individual drills and took reps at punt return but were on the sidelines during 11-on-11 drills. During the period of kickoff return work, Crowder worked on the far field running short routes for the three quarterbacks. Levern Jacobs (lower leg), meanwhile, did not practice.

--Running back Rob Kelley (neck) returned to 11-on-11 drills after being held to just individual work for a few days. Kelley had a few solid runs on the day, particularly up the middle as the offensive line was creating big holes for the second-year Tulane product.

--Rookie Samaje Perine, meanwhile, carried the load for the second-team offense during red zone work. Starting from the 20-yard line with a fresh set of downs, the Redskins gave the ball to Perine four straight times to get down inside the five-yard line before trying a few throws. After ranking 30th in red zone scoring last season, the Redskins are hoping Perine can be a powerful asset inside the 20-yard line.

--The depth at tight end continues to shine during practices with Jordan Reed still on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list with a toe injury. During unit drills, Cousins hit Vernon Davis on a few throws in the middle of the field for would-be chain movers. Later, Cousins hit Derek Carrier for a 10-yard touchdown on 1st-and-goal. Rookie Jeremy Sprinkle also made a tough catch in traffic between safety Deshazor Everett and cornerback Jonathan Allen. The fifth-round pick also showcased his blocking skills on a throw to Rob Kelley in the flat.

--The longest completion of the day came when quarterback Colt McCoy hit rookie wide receiver Robert Davis on a throw down the left sideline. Davis gained just enough separation from Dunbar to haul in the catch. The Georgia State product ran the 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine in 4.44 seconds. 

(Stephen Czarda)


Defense:

--The defense had a little more edge to it on Saturday, evidenced in the fact that coaches let players get more aggressive in their tackling. Noticeable the most on the third team drills, players got an opportunity to show off their tackling skills, which have been hard to identify throughout the last week of camp due to NFL practice rules.

--Without linebacker Preston Smith for 1-2 weeks due to an ankle sprain he suffered a few days ago, the team relied more heavily on Trent Murphy and Junior Galette to take his place. It's been pretty clear the way the team has used him that Galette will primarily be on the field for third down and obvious passing situations. But Saturday, he showed off his versatility against the run, setting a hard edge and even zooming in to disrupt the backfield and make a tackle. Over the next few practices, it should be interesting to see if Galette gets more reps along with Ryan Anderson with the first team in base formations as the Redskins find a way to plug holes for Smith.

--During 1-on-1's with the defensive backs and receivers, Josh Norman got things going with an interception against Brian Quick by jumping a hook route on a pass thrown behind the wide receiver. On the opposite side, Breeland couldn't do much with some perfect fade throws to Doctson, but did manage to bat a deep ball down to Pryor on an underthrown pass. The same could be said for Quinton Dunbar, who couldn't defend a fade touchdown pass to Doctson, but then got some revenge on a similar looking play, in which Cousins motioned out of the fade and called for an inside slant that Dunbar broke up. Later in 11-on-11 drills, Dunbar took over for Breeland, who tweaked his groin he said and sat out of the second half of practice. As camp has gone along, these matchups have started to heat up and defenders are getting better looks about how to defend these taller receivers while also realizing their limitations against them, too.

--One of the things that Su'a Cravens brings at strong safety is his instinctiveness, which was on full display Saturday. As he gets used to playing in coverage more, he will get better at diagnosing where passes are going on his side of the field. On one play Saturday, Cravens made a hit on Niles Paul right as he caught the ball that would have kept him to gaining just five yards. On a later play, Cravens made a quick decision that paid off, gunning in front of a pass towards the sideline and breaking it up, nearly picking it off.

--The defense played in a lot of nickel formations on Saturday, which meant that cornerback Kendall Fuller saw the field more and the defense went with a lot of two-defensive linemen sets. For the majority of the time, Matt Ioannidis and Terrell McClain were the first pairing to start the team drills. McClain at one point fired off the line and center Spencer Long couldn't handle his spin move, resulting in a would-be sack. Ziggy Hood and Jonathan Allen would usually be the next pairing behind them. At inside linebacker, Mason Foster and Will Compton spent the majority of nickel formations on the field together, subbing in with Zach Brown on occasion, as that spot on the field continues to get sorted out.

--In the final portion of practice, the third team defense got its most consecutive work together, finishing out the day for about six minutes on the field. Some highlights included inside linebacker Zach Pascal making a nice tackle in the backfield on running back Mack Brown before the other inside linebacker, Pete Roberston, grabbed an interception near the end zone just in front of tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. 

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)


Special Teams:

--No field goal work today, but the unit got more focus on punting formations. One thing of note was that Crowder got back to work returning punts, along with Will Blackmon, Chris Thompson, Maurice Harris and James Quick.  

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

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