My observations from Saturday’s Redskins practice:
—Today was the first practice in full pads with for Mike Shahahan’s teams means helmets, full shoulder pads, and shorts. He never has his players were football pants in camp; he says that the players don’t wear any pads in their pants anyway so they might as well be more comfortable.
—Kory Lichtensteiger was a spectator for this afternoon’s session, on the sideline in a baseball hat. Josh LeRibeus took the snaps at left guard with the first team. (Note: After practice, Shanahan said it was a scheduled day off to rest the guard’s injured knee.)
—Some receivers round off their cuts when running routes. Not Pierre Garçon, he plants his foot and makes a sharp, angular cut.
—In my roster predictions from earlier this month I have Aldrick Robinson making the team as the kick returner/wide receiver and Brandon Banks off. I have to say that if many more practice go like today’s went I might have to chance that. Banks was the one who looked like and NFL receiver out there while Robinson looked like he still needs a lot of work. It’s early, I’m not changing my call yet, but it bears watching.
—In one drill the quarterbacks threw to the wide receivers who were being covered by a cornerback one on one. In the early going, Garçon got past DeAngelo Hall and caught a nice, arching bomb from RG3. During the drill, Garçon beat Hall three times for about 90 yards and a touchdown. Not sure what kind of QB rating that would rack up for RG3.
—The Garçon bomb was not the highlight catch of the session. That distinction belonged to rookie free agent Samuel Kirkland, who went deep, turned around to catch RG3’s underthrown pass, and cradled it in one arm while falling down. That prompted Kirkland to toss the ball to the fans in celebration.
—Alfred Morris hit the hole hard on an inside zone play and the popped into the secondary. I’m not sure they can find a way to keep him but he has impressed.
—Early in 11-on-11 play, Josh Wilson came on a blitz and was in RG3’s face almost immediately. Wilson didn’t go after the quarterback much last year but they would like to figure out ways to get pressure more consistently.
—It just looks odd to see Chris Cooley working with the second team. He was the starter in from 2005-2010 and didn’t practice much at all last year due to his ailing knee. I think he makes it but it’s not a sure thing.
—Brian Orakpo was spending more and more time in the Redskins’ backfield as the 11 on 11 drills went on. This prompted one fan present to look at the quarterbacks’ yellow “not contact” jerseys and yell, “Does Rak have a yellow jersey on, they aren’t touching him, either!”
—Rex Grossman had a nice play, dropping a deep out to Niles Paul in between a group of defenders.
—A few times in the span of several plays, Cooley was able to find a soft spot in the defense, turn around, and catch a pass for about five or seven yards. You get the feeling he could do this all of the time but it that worth a salary of $3.8 million for the year?
—We know that the part of the option that has RG3 running the ball could be pretty exciting but the other part, with him handing the ball off, could produce some big plays as well. Griffin put the ball in Roy Helu Jr.’s belly once and the back burst free for a long gain.
—It’s not always smooth sailing for Helu. A few plays later he gets stuffed at the line by Brandon Meriweather, who pulls off the back’s helmet.
—It’s safe to say that the defensive line is ahead of the offensive line. With backups playing on both lines, Kirk Cousins didn’t even have a chance to cock his arm on a three-step drop. A few plays later with the starters in, RG3 was swarmed before he could think of setting up on a five-step drop.