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Practice Notes: 8/23 Redskins Fan Day

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Redskins.com's Andrew Walker and Stephen Czarda break down the key plays and highlights from the team's Aug. 23 practice on fan appreciation day at Redskins Park.


OFFENSE:

-- Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was a full participant in Sunday's practice, three days after head coach Jay Gruden said he had suffered a concussion in the second quarter of the team's preseason matchup against the Detroit Lions at FedExField. Gruden said Sunday Griffin III was cleared for non-contact drills for Sunday's practice and is showing no effects of a concussion, though he still will see a neurosurgeon and go through the entire league concussion protocol.

-- Making their returns to practice in a full capacity on Sunday were left tackle Trent Williams and wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Williams did not play Thursday due to a sore foot, while Crowder has been held out the past couple weeks with a sore left hamstring. Crowder took part in warmups Thursday vs. the Lions, but did not play in the game.

-- DeSean Jackson also made his return to the practice field Sunday, albeit in a limited capacity. Jackson, who has been out with a shoulder injury, took part in positional drills, but did not wear shoulder pads like the rest of his teammates. Tight end Jordan Reed (hamstring), meanwhile, did not practice on Sunday, but did do some work off to the side with team trainers and strength staff.

-- It didn't take long for tight end Derek Carrier to be thrown into the mix in his first practice with the Redskins. Acquired Friday in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, Carrier, working with the third-team offense on Sunday, caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Colt McCoy on the first play of the unit's 11-on-11 drills. Carrier, a converted wide receiver, is said to be an athletic, strong blocker – especially in the run game – but can also be a weapon in the passing game, as well.

-- The Redskins continued throwing tackle Tom Compton out as an extra tight end with the No. 1 offense on Sunday. With Compton on the line, Washington has an extra blocker who obviously knows the ins and outs to protect both his quarterback and running backs during specific plays. We're yet to see Compton catch a pass in practice, however, which would be the true test of his skills at the tight end position.

-- With Reed out, Je'Ron Hamm received most of the reps as the No. 1 tight end on Sunday. Although the team's unofficial depth chart has Carrier listed above him, Hamm, for now, will continue to get the first-team reps. Hamm again caught several passes on Sunday, including a 20-yard touchdown from Griffin III on a great route and throw.

-- Griffin III showed off his legs on a couple plays in particular during the 11-on-11 portion of Sunday's practice. On one play, Griffin III scanned the field off the play action to his running back and couldn't find a receiver open. With outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan breathing down his neck, Griffin III took off to his right for about a 10-yard gain before getting out of bounds. On a second play later in practice, Griffin III and the Redskins faced a 3rd and 10 from the opposing 25-yard line. Griffin III sensed the pressure and stepped up before finding an open field for a rushing touchdown.

-- Kirk Cousins looked solid in 7-on-7 drills on Sunday. Leading the No. 2 offense, he completed 5-of-5 passes for about 80 yards, including a 50-yard bomb to Rashad Ross that was stopped short of the goal line.

-- Also in 7-on-7s, Griffin III completed 4-of-6 passes for about 30 yards, missing on a bomb to Evan Spencer down the sideline on what appeared to be a catchable ball. McCoy, meanwhile, got off to a great start in 7-on-7s, completing a 55-yard touchdown to Andre Roberts, and completed 3-of-4 passes overall for about 80 yards. He nearly threw a pick to safety Akeem Davis, however.


DEFENSE:

-- Perhaps the biggest headliner for the defense today was the return of cornerback Bashaud Breeland to the practice field. Breeland – a second-year Clemson product – suffered a sprained MCL on July 31 and was given a 4-to-6 week timetable for return. He, however, looked ahead of schedule during rehab work at training camp practices and showed no signs of the injury outside of a bulky knee brace. Breeland tested it early in the day Sunday with fumble recovery drills, showing no hesitancy, and participated in 11-on-11 drills.

A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins linebacker Will Compton during the 2014 season.

-- DeAngelo Hall (toe) and Will Compton (groin) also returned to practice Sunday in limited fashion, while Trent Murphy practiced only a portion of the day. The 2014 second-round pick is day to day with a hip injury according to Gruden.

-- Preston Smith had a solid day throughout individual and unit drills, as the rookie linebacker was beating offensive linemen and getting in the quarterbacks' vicinity on numerous occasions. During 1-on-1s with the offensive lineman, Smith got past veteran Tom Compton on two different occasions, using both speed and power to get the advantage. Later in 11-on-11s, Smith did a nice job to get around starting right tackle Morgan Moses for what could have been a sack on Kirk Cousins.

-- Speaking of speed, Junior Galette continues to be one of the fastest guys on the field when he's out there. The 6-foot-2, 258 pounder lines up in the four-point stance and has a quick burst when the ball is snapped. He and Trent Williams had a few good battles in individual and unit work; the three-time Pro Bowl tackle rarely gets beat, but the linebacker tests him on every snap.

-- With Hall only active during individual drills, David Amerson remained with the first team alongside Chris Culliver, and Justin Rogers was in as the nickel corner. While Breeland could be a great fit in the slot, the second-year cornerback is suspended for the season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

-- Defensive coordinator Joe Barry may bring some unique schemes to the table once the season starts, and Sunday may have provided a glimpse of that when he brought Galette and Ryan Kerrigan from the same side to rush Griffin III. The two could combine to create a scary one-two pass rush punch.

-- Through the first two preseason games, Houston Bates leads the team with three sacks and looked like the same player that can create havoc in the pass game on a few plays Sunday. The rookie flashed some good pass rush moves in 1-on-1 drills with the offensive lineman. While we may see Galette and Kerrigan in preseason action at some point, Bates has flashed quality play in his reps over the last few weeks.

-- During 11-on-11 work, Cousins completed a nifty off-balance touchdown completion in which Ricky Jean Francois could have gotten a sack or, at the very least, disturbed the quarterback's timing. Again, the front for the Redskins could be the defense's strength this season.

-- When on the field, Kedric Golston was seen around the ball on numerous occasions, as the 10-year veteran showed good lateral movement in the run game in pursuit of Trey Williams and Chris Thompson on wide runs, while also collapsing the pocket on one of Cousins' throws.


SPECIAL TEAMS:

-- With kicker Kai Forbath not participating in Sunday's practice (quad), rookie Ty Long did a solid job handling the kicking duties for the Redskins. His first opportunity came during the second-team offense's two-minute drill, when Cousins led the offense to the opposing 25-yard line before spiking the snap with a few seconds left. Long's 43-yard field goal – on the skinny goal posts at Redskins Park, no less – was good.

-- In field goal drills shortly thereafter to end practice, Long nailed 6-of-7 of his kicks, making from 38, 38 and 39 yards, missing a second attempt wide right from 39 yards, and then making from 40, 44 and 44 yards. These kicks were also executed on the skinny field goal posts.

-- DeSean Jackson was seen taking a rep at punt returner at the beginning of practice. Jackson fielded a punt last season against the San Francisco 49ers, so we'll file this one away and see if it comes up again this season.

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