Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels and Andre Earls break down the key plays and highlights from Day 8 of the Washington Redskins' 2018 training camp in Richmond, Va.
-- With a large throng of fans in attendance, head coach Jay Gruden promised more energy and he got it, orchestrating a schedule that allowed for more competitiveness and tackling than had been previously allowed through the first week. That primarily came from some short-yardage situations, in which Gruden instituted a third-and-1 scenario to see which side could win in a best of five series. The defense stopped the offense three times around the 20-yard line, while the offense won the second round on the goal line. It was a good opportunity to see the physicality emerge in the trenches and which running backs could push and slip through holes. Linebacker Mason Foster made one of the more popping plays at the goal line, preventing Rob Kelley from getting around the edge.
-- Rookie defensive lineman Daron Payne is out of his walking boot, but still has a couple of weeks of recovery until he sees the field. Before practice on Saturday, he went through some ladder footwork drills on the side field, a good sign for his progression.
-- For the first several days of practice, throws in Josh Norman's vicinity were few and far between. That's changed over the last couple of days, especially on Saturday afternoon. Norman has emphasized finishing plays better than he did last season, which he proved during just the second pass play of the day. He tracked an underthrown deep pass to wide receiver Robert Davis, jumped high and fell backwards with the interception, popping up and running an additional 20 yards. During the short yardage drills, Norman made an even more impressive play, tracking wide receiver Maurice Harris on an underneath route and wrapping him for a tackle before he could stretch for the needed yard. It reminded me of a similar play he made against the Seahawks last year, taking down Thomas Rawls on third down.
-- During the first half of practice, the Redskins offense had trouble completing any passes past the line of scrimmage – a product of tight coverage across the board from all three defensive units. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick had great technique on a Paul Richardson slant pass that he batted away. Not long after that, Fabian Moreau made a similar deflection on a far side floating pass to Trey Quinn. Safety Fish Smithson finished team drills with an interception in the end zone, collecting an errant pass from Kevin Hogan intended for Matt Flanagan.
-- The Redskins finished out practice with a late-game drill in which the offense had one minute and 11 seconds on the clock and one timeout at its disposal. The defense held the offense in check early until it converted on fourth down with a pass to Vernon Davis over the middle. Smith threw a touchdown pass to Richardson in the corner of the end zone to end the drive in time with the desired result.
-- Jake Kring-Schreifels
-- As Week 1 of preseason steadily approaches, camp has gotten increasingly more intense. Day 8 of training camp marked the third day of practice with full pads. Due to the increased physicality on both sides of the ball, Alex Smith's connection with the wide receivers was tested. Long balls were a little more difficult for Smith to execute, seeing as the defense was able to play with a more aggressive style.
-- 11-on-11 drills were a bit more exciting to watch today, and we saw a lot of new faces get some first team reps at the skill positions. For wide receivers, we saw Robert Davis, Trey Quinn, and Brian Quick rotate in and caught balls from Smith. It should be noted that Trent Williams, Morgan Moses and Josh Doctson each got a couple snaps at the very start as they continue to work back from respective injuries/surgeries.
-- Second-string running backs saw opportunities to get first-team reps as well, with Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine seeing a significant amount in the rotation. Even Byron Marshall saw a couple first team reps. Notably left out of first team snaps was Martez Carter, who recently had a baby and had been absent from camp for the past couple days. Coach Gruden already articulated that he would be cautiously working Chris Thompson back in throughout preseason, stating that he would not be active during Week 1 of preseason.
-- As Gruden mentioned before practice, the team worked on a lot of short-yardage situations. It's clear that running backs coach Randy Jordan liked what he saw, even slapping Rob Kelley on the shoulder pads enthusiastically after a physical run play. Another high-point in practice was Samaje Perine smacking into linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton on an end-zone run play. From that point on, the intensity during practice increased. Being one of those players with an extremely fluid rep count, Perine took full advantage of having multiple team reps, and he looked good in all areas.
-- The team shifted between the 20-yard line and goal line to practice the short-yardage situations. On one goal-line run play, we saw a triple tight end formation that included Jordan Reed, Jeremy Sprinkle, and Vernon Davis. Another play featured wide receiver Paul Richardson on a sweep play out of the backfield, as the playbook starts to incorporate more gadgets with Alex Smith under center.
-- Wide receiver Jamison Crowder stood out again within his position group. Crowder ran an array of different routes, and didn't drop a ball all day. His best route was a seam caught in front of strong safety Montae Nicholsonthat he took to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. He continues to show off how dangerous he can be getting lost in the middle of the field and then jutting out wide open towards the sideline uncovered.
-- Andre Earls
-- Dustin Hopkins finished out practice making four of his five field goal attempts. Rookie Martez Carter got some more work at punt return while a variety of players took reps on kickoff returns, including Robert Davis, Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall.