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Practice Notes 8/28: J.D. McKissic's Versatility Leads To Explosive Plays

Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team
Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team

The Washington Football team has had an extended off period since Tuesday's practice. After taking a scheduled day off Wednesday, the team also postponed Thursday's scrimmage to discuss racial inequality in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake.

On Friday, the team resumed camp with a fully-padded practice. It was the first of four straight practices, including three in pads and one in shells.

Here's what we learned from Friday's practice:

OFFENSE:

-- Practice started off with an inside run play session, and the offensive line was opening lanes for running backs. Geron Christian Sr. had a nice block on Chase Young, creating a gap on the outside of the offensive line that allowed Antonio Gibson to slip through the line of scrimmage.

-- Later on in the inside run drill, Bryce Love showcased his sudden quickness. On a particular play, Love met linebacker Jon Bostic at the line of scrimmage. Rather than meet Bostic head on, Love made a quick juke and got past Bostic for three extra yards.

-- Alex Smith continues to show velocity in his throws and his ability to throw off his injured leg. He received four reps during 7-on-7 drills and completed 3-of-4 passes to Marcus Baugh, J.D. McKissic and Isaiah Wright. The next step for him will be 11-on-11 drills, and head coach Ron Rivera said they will continue to evaluate him and let him participate in the drill when he is ready.

-- McKissic had one of the best performances of practice and showed off his athleticism as a runner and pass catcher. His had quick bursts through open gaps in the offensive line and was often a reliable target for quarterbacks. He was able to slip by Kevin Pierre-Louis on multiple occasions, including on one play during inside running drill that caused Pierre-Louis to clap and scream in frustration. During two-minute drills, McKissic ended a series with a run into the end zone.

In the passing game, McKissic was targeted on five plays and caught passes from Smith, Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Kyle Allen. In an 11-on-11 drill highlighting specific down and distances, McKissic caught Haskins' first pass of the series. Haskins went on to complete his next three passes to Antonio Gandy-Golden, Dontrelle Inman and Logan Thomas.

DEFENSE:

-- Montez Sweat has had a exemplary training camp, and that trend continued Friday during the 1-on-1 pass rushing drill, getting past right tackle Morgan Moses to win the matchup. Rivera said he has noticed Sweat transformed his body during the offseason, saying that Sweat looks bigger and stronger than last year. He added that he can tell Sweat has responded well to what the coaching staff has asked of him.

-- Young was back in action Friday and showed why he was drafted No. 2 overall. He was quick and found ways to be around the ball. After a relatively quiet 1-on-1 pass rush drill, Young bottled up Thomas in the backfield and got some praise after the play.

After practice, Rivera said Young "looked fresh" during drills. The team still wants to gradually increase his workload, but he did receive more reps Friday than he did earlier in the week.

-- Being an interior defensive tackle doesn't lend itself to making many standout plays, but Daron Payne has found a way to affect the passing game by developing a knack for batting down passes. He has done so on multiple occasions throughout training camp, and he added another one Friday against Haskins.

-- Rivera has said that Jimmy Moreland has a knack for being around the ball, and Moreland backed up that claim during 11-on-11 drills when he wrapped up Cam Sims at the line of scrimmage.

-- Troy Apke had another solid day at free safety by breaking up a pass from Kyle Allen to Isaiah Wright. The ball was delivered accurately to an open Wright, but Apke came in at the last moment and delivered a hit to knock the ball loose. Rivera said Apke has done what has been asked of him and is learning to play fast and aggressive. And when players learn to do that, Rivera said, good things tend to happen.

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