Redskins.com's Kyle Stackpole breaks down the key plays and highlights from Day 5 of Washington Redskins 2019 OTAs, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.
-- All eyes continued to be on the quarterbacks during Wednesday's practice, and both veteran Case Keenum and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins gave the media and servicemembers in attendance reason to be optimistic about the current situation under center.
Keenum explicitly displayed his arm strength and accuracy on two plays -- the first a completion to Cam Sims on a deep out route and the second a pristine deep ball to Josh Doctson. He then showed his poise during the team red zone portion of the session. On 4th-and-11, Keenum scanned the field before firing a bullet to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle in the front center of the end zone.
Haskins, too, showcased the skill set that led the Redskins to draft him 15th overall in the 2019 draft. On one play, he connected with Sims by dropping a dime in between two defenders on a corner route. On another occasion, he launched a pass that found a streaking Jehu Chesson downfield but bounced off of his hands for an incompletion.
At times, the signal-callers struggled, like during the team periods when they were faced with constant pressure from the Redskins' young and talented front seven. Keenum threw a pass into coverage that was tipped and intercepted by Jimmy Moreland. Haskins was also burnt by Moreland at the end of practice when he telegraphed his pass to the front-left center of the end zone. Moreland jumped the comeback route and hauled in another pick before streaking the other way.
"For 7-on-7, that drill we are getting a good feel for route concepts and making good throws," head coach Jay Gruden said. "When we get into team periods, it is kind of been a little tough, defense is doing very well. I think they are just progressing nicely, both of them, all three of them, really. Josh [Woodrum] is doing some good things, too. Just have to keep at it, keeping throwing things at them."
-- Inexperience and injuries have left a heap of questions surrounding the current wide receiver corps. But to Gruden, it's the most exciting group right now, and several players made notable receptions Wednesday.
Sims was a popular target for both Haskins and Keenum, displaying the size and athleticism that prompted the Redskins to retain him despite missing all of 2018 with an injury. Veteran Brian Quick burned a linebacker on a quick out, while Chesson leaped over a defender to haul in a touchdown pass from Haskins. And that's not even mentioning Doctson and Trey Quinn, both of whom worked with the first-team, as well as rookies Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, Steven Sims Jr. and T.J. Rahming.
"Josh Doctson, like I mentioned, I think is going to have a big year," Gruden said. "Trey Quinn has taken over the inside slot role. He's confident, he's quick, he's got strong hands, he's physical, he's tough. Brian Quick with some veteran experience. Paul Richardson's not even out here yet with his speed. But Terry [McLaurin] and Kelvin [Harmon] are – knock on wood right now – are very very good."
-- Speaking of rookies, offensive lineman Wes Martin stepped in as the starting left guard during Wednesday's practice, while Ereck Flowers played left tackle in place of the absent Trent Williams. While Flowers could see time at tackle moving forward, Gruden said the Redskins envision moving the offseason signing back to guard once the entire offensive line returns to practice.
"It is good for him," Gruden said about Flowers. "Keep his mind fresh with tackle, but we will get him plenty of reps at guard as well."
As for Martin, Gruden referred to the rookie out of Indiana as a "very, very bright guy" who has been steadily progressing within the offense.
"I just think he has to continue to work on his fundamentals and he'll be fine," Gruden said. "I like where he's at."
-- You cannot mention the Redskins' defense without mentioning the playmaking ability of seventh-round cornerback Jimmy Moreland, who came away with three interceptions Wednesday. First he ripped the ball out of wide receiver Darvin Kidsy's hands on a screen pass and then he snagged possession off of a tipped ball. And if that was not enough, Moreland sent the defense into a frenzy with another interception to conclude team drills. He noticed Haskins staring down his receiver, jumped the route in the end zone and was off to the races the other way with his fellow defenders sprinting and cheering close behind him.
"He's a fun guy to watch," Gruden said. "He's always around the ball, excellent ball skills. That's what drew us to him, and he's proven to be quite the athlete. He's picked up the system very well. He's playing inside and outside. I've been very impressed with him."
It remains to be seen what role Moreland will have moving forward. He earned plenty of reps Wednesday, but Josh Norman was absent and Quinton Dunbar is still recovering from an injury. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky did refer to Moreland as a "young nickelback corner," so he could find some playing time there. There's also a chance Moreland gets a crack at contributing on special teams, Gruden said.
"When you see him run it with the ball in his hands, there's a chance he could be a good punter returner too by the way he runs with the ball in space," Gruden said.
-- The public was able to see Landon Collins in action for the first time Wednesday. After missing the last open OTA day last week -- Collins was still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery -- he was in full uniform Wednesday, continuing to ease back towards becoming a full participant. Gruden said the team is still being "very cautious" with the All-Pro safety, though he was able to participate in some 7-on-7 drills. In fact, on the last play of the period, Collins blanketed tight end J.P. Holtz on an out route before easily deflecting an incoming pass.
"At his own discretion with the trainers, he'll do some team periods every now and then just to make sure he's careful," Gruden said "He understands his importance to this football team. It's fun to look at him over there instead of playing against him with the New York Giants all the time. He's a good guy to have out there. He's a communicator. It's hard to tell how his presence is felt in shorts, but when the pads are on that's when you feel Landon."
-- The linebacker unit looked a little different in the absence of Reuben Foster, who was placed on IR with a torn ACL last week. The first defensive snaps Wednesday featured Mason Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton as the starting inside linebackers, but that changed throughout the session. One at least one occasion, Josh Harvey-Clemons was out there with Hamilton. On other plays, newly-signed Jon Bostic was making defensive calls. Plus there's rookie Cole Holcomb, whose speed and overall athleticism could serve the unit well in spots. It remains to be seen who will emerge from the group once the Redskins begin training camp this summer.