The View from Austin: Random Thoughts from Week 1 of Training Camp
After a 6 week layoff from OTAs, the Redskins reported last week to the brand new Bon Secours Training Facility in Richmond. Over the past three days, they have practiced before a total of 34,000 fans in relatively nice weather for the end of July. Here are some observations I took away from week one, culled from news reports, Twitter and NFL Network.
- Robert Griffin III was medically cleared to practice, albeit on a limited basis. He shows no sign of a limp and appears very fluid in his running, in spite of his leg brace.
- Almost everyone, including LeRibeus passed their conditioning tests going into camp. No drama, no surprises. The only person who failed was Jordan Bernstine, who was still not fully recovered from a gruesome knee injury. Bernstine was released, but Shanny left the door open for him to return next year.
- Orakpo, Minnifield, Meriweather, Wilson and Garcon returned from injuries and are participating in camp. Minnifield has already turned in several strong plays and could challenge Crawford on the depth chart. Wilson was on the PUP list for a few hours, but activated as soon as Shanny was convinced he could pass the strength test following his shoulder surgery. Meriweather is being worked in cautiously. Good move on Shanny’s part. He had a slight limp in walk-throughs on Saturday, and was held out from full team drills. Orakpo is at full speed, and practicing like a man possessed. I’m very encouraged by this, but wouldn’t mind seeing him dial it down a bit.
- Rookies are making an impact. Amerson and Rambo have gotten plenty of work with the first team and they are not disappointing. Amerson has long arms, and is doing a good job of jamming receivers and disrupting the timing of plays. Jordan Reed is getting acclimated to the speed of the game. He’s showing good hands and blocking, but started running patterns too fast, which affected his footwork and cutting. Chris Thompson is on the field without a leg brace and is showing good speed. He was a little tentative in the first practice, but managed to work in a few “jukes” once he gained confidence. Brandon Jenkins abused Tyler Polumbus on a few rushes getting leverage under the pads and demonstrating speed on the edge. Very little on Jawan Jamison thus far, except for hearing that he executed a very nice block during one play on Saturday. Surprisingly, very little has been said about Phillip Thomas, but training camp has just started. Skye Dawson torched everyone on a deep rout Saturday.
- Hankerson, Morgan and Robinson are making some nice grabs, but also dropping some catches they should have made. Shanny is stressing consistency, especially when it comes to Hank.
- Trent Williams is a force to be reckoned with. He is displaying the strength, speed, footwork and technique that will make him a perennial pro-bowler, if he remains healthy.
- Don’t count on Kai Forbath to drill field goals from 64 yards and out. But on Saturday he was perfect on 7 attempts from 58 yards in.
- Huge crowds in Richmond and a beautiful field. Players seem to enjoy the fan base showing up in numbers.
- Adam Carriker and Keenan Robinson possibly out for the season. Carriker was never able to get full range of motion on his injured quadriceps tendon, requiring a 3rd surgery. Keenan Robinson tore his other pectoral muscle, and is likely out for the season.
- With Carriker out and Jarvis Jenkins suspended (bonehead), depth concerns are surfacing at DE. Chris Baker has a bit of a learning curve as a backup to Golston, and gave everyone a brief scare when he was carted off the field yesterday with cramps.
- Donte Stallworth has a slight hamstring strain, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
- This gets nit-picky, but there were too many dropped passes in my opinion. Granted training camp has just started, and everyone needs to get into the flow of practice, but the Redskins receiving corps needs to shake off the rust and step it up.
- Jarvis Jenkins. A four week suspension for violation of the NFL’s banned-substances policy? Really? What the heck were you thinking? The only good news out of this bone-headed incident is that he didn’t go down with an injury. Jenkins needs to grind the remainder of training camp and preseason working on technique and explosion, including his first step.
- The YouTube video of the woman crying after she didn’t get an autograph.
- NFL Network analysts need to do a little more fact-checking. Granted they are busy, but things change very quickly in football. One analyst reported that the Redskins will continue to put their players at risk until they address the turf at FedEx field. Umm, that turf was replaced a few months ago. On Friday, another analyst reported that the Redskin’s defense would be greatly improved with the return of a healthy Carriker. I couldn’t agree more, but he’s out for the season. Maybe next year. Maybe.
- The Mike Shannahan Drinking Game. Thank God his pressers don’t last more than a half-hour. Take a drink every time Shanny mentions the word “Anytime”. Take 2 drinks every time he says “football shape”.
- The Washington Post has really elevated its game with the arrival of John Keim. I can’t remember enjoying the WaPo Sports page this much since the 1970s and 1980s.