Second-year running back Bryce Love, who missed all of 2019 with a knee injury, also received the day off following two consecutive practices with contact. Chase Young sat out as well. Head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Young is dealing with a hip flexor.
With an off day Friday, Rivera said the team thought it was a good opportunity to let these players rest. It also created more opportunities for younger players on both sides of the ball.
Here's what we learned from Thursday's session:
-- Rivera said he has seen the progress from Dwayne Haskins Jr. that he was hoping for so far. Haskins was inaccurate at times Thursday and threw an interception in the end zone during the two-minute drill, but he also made some quality throws that pass-catchers dropped. The highlight of Haskins' day was when he delivered a strike to Terry McLaurin for a short touchdown on a slant route during an 11-on-11 red zone drill.
When evaluating quarterbacks, Rivera re-emphasized that decision-making is more important than accuracy at this stage. And over the past three days, Haskins has mostly been on target.
-- Rivera noted that quarterback Kyle Allen sometimes bypasses the easy play for the sensational one. That was apparent during the 9-on-9 portion of practice, when Allen had Darvin Kidsy open short but attempted a longer throw that rookie Kamren Curl could have intercepted. For the most part, though, Rivera said Allen has made good decisions and done "some nice things."
-- After participating in 7-on-7 drills the past two days, Alex Smith progressed to 9-on-9 competition and faced a pass-rush for the first time. With bodies flying around him, Smith made two on-target throws and completed one pass in three reps.
-- It was fun watching McLaurin match up with Kendall Fuller and Jimmy Moreland in 1-on-1 situations. On the final play of the session, McLaurin beat Moreland on a dig route and yelled afterwards, "I told you I'd get you on the next one!"
-- Logan Thomas and Marcus Baugh have been receiving most of the first-team reps at tight end. A lot has been said about Thomas, the quarterback-turned-tight end whose athleticism caught the coaching staff's attention, but Baugh had not been asked about before Thursday. Rivera described the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Baugh as a "young, athletic tight end" who stood out when he was with Carolina last preseason. Baugh ended up on Injured Reserve and was waived after the season, but he showed Rivera enough to warrant Washington signing him this offseason.
-- Another day, another new starting defense. With Kerrigan sidelined, Ryan Anderson started opposite Montez Sweat. At linebacker, Shaun Dion Hamilton replaced Cole Holcomb and joined Kevin Pierre-Louis and Jon Bostic with the ones. And in the secondary, Fabian Moreau replaced Kendall Fuller and played alongside Ronald Darby, Troy Apke and Landon Collins, with Jimmy Moreland serving as the nickelback. It marked the third straight practice during which Apke was with the first unit.
-- The defense shined at all three levels Thursday. The front four applied constant pressure -- Sweat even stripped Haskins on one play -- the linebackers flowed to the ball carrier and the secondary corralled two interceptions and was in position to haul in four.
After Greg Stroman dropped an interception, energetic defensive backs coach Chris Harris bellowed, "Do you not like nice things?!" Stroman redeemed himself later in the session by picking off Haskins. Safety Jeremy Reaves then corralled an interception of his own on an errant pass from Allen.
The other defensive highlight was when linebacker Khaleke Hudson stripped tight end Richard Rodgers and took off the other way, sending the defense and Harris into a frenzy. It was the appropriate response for what was a dominant practice for the players in red jerseys.