Not much can dampen the spirits of Redskins fans that come to training camp practice, although Mother Nature tried her best today.
In the span of an hour this afternoon, several inches of rain fell on the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
With growing puddles and lightning in the area, practice seemed all but certain to be canceled, but still people came pouring into the seating areas around the fields.
Just before 3 p.m., the skies cleared and it turned into a bright, sunny afternoon. Call it the faith of Redskins Nation. And they were rewarded with a good show.
The coaches put the team right into full-team drills, largely eliminating the position drills and 1-on-1 contests that have been a hallmark this week.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III once again looked comfortable and confident on the saturated ground, completing 16-of-17 passes during 7-on-7 drills.
Coches ran an up-tempo practice today, which head coach Mike Shanahan said was designed to get players into better football shape. The first preseason game starts in almost exactly one week from the end of practice down in Tennessee.
At one point during practice, the team ran 25 plays in 15 minutes. Coming off the field, several of the players mentioned fatigue, but said they were happy to be back at work.
Here are some other observations from today's portion of practice that was open to the media:
- The ball security issues from yesterday were largely a thing of the past, as the offense corrected the fumbling and interception issues. There were still turnovers, but they appeared to be more football-related and less to do with the elements.
- NFL officials were on-hand to watch practice today, standing on the sideline and taking in practice to get back in the flow of football. Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris stood on the near sideline and joked with one of the officials about why he bothered to come if he wasn't going to call push-offs and other penalties on the offense.
- Third-year safety DeJon Gomes also drew the praise of his position coach on several plays, as Morris yelled "2-4!" across the field in his safety's direction. It's a treat to stand near a position coach during full-team drills, as they frequently see and articulate successes and failures that you might otherwise miss.
- Morris communicates freely with each of his players, but takes a special hands-on approach with the three rookies in his stead. At one point during 7-on-7 drills, Bacarri Rambo was called over the sideline right before a snap, being replaced by Phillip Thomas. While Morris coached up Rambo, he simultaneously monitored the action on the field, calling out technique from the sideline.
- Wide receiver Joshua Morgan showed that he has the magic touch last season, recovering a fumble-turned-touchdown from his quarterback against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Today, he had similar fortunate, hauling in a pass deflected and nearly intercepted by rookie safety Bacarri Rambo deep downfield. The deep pass came off a fake by Kirk Cousins and drew huge applause from the crowd.
- Tight end Logan Paulsen may not like to be called a blocking tight end, but he should enjoy if defenses cover him accordingly. When Paulsen gets open over the middle, he rarely misses the ball, even hauling in difficult one-handed and bobbled passes for the reception. With sure hands, Paulsen is the biggest target in this offense full of fast weapons.
- Rookie tight end Jordan Reed is also making the most of his opportunities, showing a willingness to track a ball down out of bounds and dive for a play near the sideline.
- Special teams focused on punt blocking today, rushing both through the middle around the end, practices with trash cans along the line, and giant hula hoops to mimic the circular path to the punter. All 22 players that are currently playing punt coverage were involved in the drills, each taking practice with the skill.
- The defense had the upper hand in 11-on-11 two minute drills, with both the drive by Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins coming up short. For Grossman, the drive unraveled with a pair of "sacks" called in a row, followed by a passed defended by E.J. Biggers, intended for Dezmon Briscoe. Cousins converted one fourth down play with a completion to Pierre Garcon, but ran out of luck on his second fourth down try with the drive dying at the 11-yard line.
Play(s) Of The Day: Offense
The offense got the kinks out early in practice today, allowing for one last great drive at the end of practice.
Cousins completed three lengthy passes on the drive, one each to tight end Niles Paul and receivers Leonard Hankerson and Pierre Garcon. Garcon's reception was the clincher, as he hauled in the pass near the goal line and ran in for the score.
Play(s) Of The Day: Defense
Undrafted rookie linebacker Will Compton has shown a nose for the football in the last several days, intercepting a deflected pass yesterday during drills.
He stepped his game up today, however, jumping a route and hauling in an interception near the goal line. If it were a game situation, Compton may have had the angle to return the ball for a touchdown, but the interception itself was impressive enough.
Later in practice, Compton jumped another route and nearly had his second interception of the day. By next week's first preseason game, Alfred Morris may not be the only No. 46 worth watching on the Redskins.
The Redskins will be back at it again tomorrow, working the normal schedule for one more day before Saturday's Fan Appreciation Day. For more information on the event, check out the schedule page.
Both practices are available to fans tomorrow, with walkthrough beginning at 10 a.m. and practice scheduled for 3 p.m. As always, fans are encouraged to arrive early and bring your official training camp pass.
An unnamed Redskins player and head coach Mike Shanahan will hold press conferences each day, streamed live on Redskins.com.
For your official source of training camp news, follow along @Redskins.