Here are my observations from Thursday’s practice at Redskins Park:
—Brandon Meriweather is very active from the strong safety position. He pressed the line, only to watch RG3 blow past him on an option play.
—Brian Orakpo jumped way offside on one play but Roy Helu Jr. didn’t hear a whistle so he kept the play going, taking a handoff and going against the grin through the line for a nice gain.
—Evan Royster runs a little better than Helu inside; he just seems to be able to find the hole more quickly. But Helu isn’t that far behind Royster when it comes to the inside zone game and he’s well superior to Royster running to the outside. Every day that goes by with Tim Hightower watching the bulk of practice from the sideline makes it more and more likely that the battle for the starting job will come down to those two.
—It was Maurice Hurt’s day to play with the first team at left guard. Although he and Josh LeRibeus are just holding the spot for Kory Lichtensteiger until the opening game, Hurt could work his way off of the roster bubble with a good performance in practice and in the preseason.
—Meriweather continued to be active, crowding the box on some plays and dropping back deep in coverage on others. From what I’ve seen, he’s better off in the former role than in the latter. He moves forward much better than he moves backwards.
—That 20 pounds that Lorenzo Alexander lost is helping him in coverage. He was stride for stride with Chris Cooley as the tight end went down the sideline. To be sure, Cooley never was a speed demon and he’s lost at least half a step but it’s still impressive to see Alexander stick with him in space.
—Hurt with a good effort on one play, scraping off of his man at the line and getting another block off in the second level.
—In what was the play of the day, Rex Grossman rolled right and threw back to the left for Cooley, who had some separation near the sideline. Cooley dove for the ball and, according to the referee who was right there, he came up with the pass. Although the catch may not have survived a replay review it was still an entertaining play.
—Rookie corner Richard Crawford, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, and DeAngelo Hall returned punts from the “leg” of the JUGS machine. There were no muffs.
—This just in—RG3 likes to throw the ball to Pierre Garçon. They had good timing on a quick sideline pass for a first down.
—This also just in—RG3 is still a rookie. A few plays later Kevin Barnes jumped in front of a pass intended for Banks and picked it off.
—OK, one more thing just in—Grossman throws picks. This one came on the next play and it wasn’t really Rex’s fault. The pass bounced off the head of a lineman and into the arms of Madieu Williams.
Apologies for the report being on the short side today. We had to deal with breaking news about Kentwan Balmer during practice and so I missed part of the session.