Washington Redskins Training Camp: Checking in on the Rookies
The Washington Redskins have been camping for nearly a full week now. I've combed through some of the best coverage available for some of the most notable snippets pertaining to the team's top rookies and inserted my thoughts and analysis.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III
Quarterback Robert Griffin III during the first five training camp practices has taken more than a few sacks because he didn't get rid of the ball quickly enough. Sometimes he holds the ball in the pocket for what seems like an eternity – really it's three or more seconds – and the rush gets to him.
The 'Skins are down two regular starters on the offensive line, and this is a team that surrendered a league-high 43 hits on the quarterback last season. Griffin might be better overall and significantly more mobile than Rex Grossman or John Beck, but he's also less experienced (obviously) and this isn't the first time we've heard that he has a tendency to hold on too long. It wouldn't surprise me if this becomes his most obvious flaw in his rookie campaign.
And if that's the case, I have a hard time envisioning him playing all 16 games.
Campbell has also noted that Griffin has struggled to throw across his body while rolling to his left, which isn't a surprising mechanical issue and shouldn't be too concerning, long-term.
Guard Josh LeRibeus
Offensive line coach Chris Foerster coached up rookie LG Josh LeRibeus on his first step after DL Chris Baker swam through him in one-on-one drills. Foerster had LeRibeus immediately get back into the drill to correct the mistake, and he was beaten the second time because he set too high.
LeRibeus, a left guard in college, looked like he has been practicing at center. His timing seemed a bit off, which is understandable. He and LT Trent Williams had trouble with one stunt during team drills, and ROLB Brian Orakpo came free inside for a pressure. On another stunt later on, though, LeRibeus set deep enough to have time to react.
Of the rookie linemen the one I like the most so far is center Josh LeRibeus. He lunged a couple times Thursday but in the times I watched him today that was not the case. Sometimes it's hard to get a great read on a guy; you might watch four plays of his and miss either his best or worst (it's impossible to watch everything). But with LeRibeus he appeared to be consistent vs. backup defensive linemen, especially Chris Neild. Liked the way he was able to control Neild. Didn't always move him out, but he could get him turned to a side and keep him long enough to help open a hole. At times Neild looked a bit too outstretched, losing his base of power.
This is just one of many examples we've had so far where beat writers aren't seeing eye to eye. I don't want to say everything should be taken with a grain of salt, because these practices matter greatly. That said, as Keim points out, it's impossibly to watch every player on every play, so we'll just try to put everything together and see what kind of picture is painted.
Regardless, the 'Skins had better hope Maurice Hurt stays healthy and Kory Lichtensteiger is able to get back in time, because it appears it's going to be a slow process with LeRibeus, a third-round pick out of SMU. Not necessarily any slower than expected, but he certainly isn't standing out.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins
QB Kirk Cousins took second-team reps Monday, part of the scheduled timeshare with QB Rex Grossman. Cousins has fine arm strength, but he must improve his accuracy and decision making.
Kirk Cousins is looking like a talented rookie. He fired three darts in a row. Two of them went right to receivers and the other went towards an empty area.
Just me, but I'd prefer an accurate backup who makes good decisions over a backup with a great arm who can't hit his targets. I know, I know, it's early. Just saying. I definitely think that Rex Grossman has to be this team's backup throughout 2012. Let's see how Cousins looks in terms of something other than velocity come next spring.
Linebacker Keenan Robinson
There's been very little on Robinson thus far, but I have read a few times about one particular interception he had on Cousins. From Mike Jones of the Washington Post:
Rookie inside linebacker Keenan Robinson is battling for a spot behind London Fletcher, Perry Riley and Lorenzo Alexander. Robinson had an interception in the middle of the field off of a pass from fellow fourth-rounder Kirk Cousins.
I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that we're barely seeing him mentioned thus far, but Robinson has an opportunity to earn a big chance early with Jonathan Goff now out for the year. The fact that he's not screwing up is probably a positive sign, but we'll see what happens in Week 2.
Guard Adam Gettis
Fifth-round rookie RG Adam Gettis impressed with his quick feet and sound base. He stayed low and square against DE Adam Carriker, and he even delivered a firm punch that helped keep Carriker at bay. Gettis shuffled well to stop DE Kedric Golston later in the session. Both of those defensive ends are veterans, so it's not like he beat a guy who won't make the team.
Rookie Adam Gettis is a battler and I like how he sets his lower body. But he also gets stood up quite a bit; as with all rookies it's early.
The more I see of Adam Gettis the more I like him. When he'll be ready to play I have no idea. But some guys are technicians and he's one. Always seems to have a good base. In the one-on-ones he did let Doug Worthington move him back. But he did a good job vs. Adam Carriker and then Kedric Golston and finally Kentwan Balmer. Why? Because Gettis keeps a low base. Don't go crazy on him just yet, but know that he's off to a solid start.
I think it might be safe to say he has an early edge over LeRibeus. Campbell and Keim are big fans of his technique. There are concerns about his size, but he might be good enough to overcome that.
Running back Alfred Morris
Sixth-round rookie Alfred Morris didn't redirect his path from a play-action fake in time to stop blitzing S Reed Doughty on one play. Sound pass blocking would really help Morris' chances to make the team because Mike Shanahan already is confident in the other three backs' running ability.
OK, so not the most glowing review, but it's based solely on one play.
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.
OK, a much better review, again based solely on one play, from a day later.
As a runner, Morris continues to intrigue. It's impossible to get a good gauge on the running backs because you need to see if they're breaking tackles, how they elude defenders, etc. Can't see that until they play. But I continue to like the way Morris runs. Doesn't waste movement with his feet on his cuts. That's important.
There's a broader take, and one that I align with. Problem is, Morris can't make the team unless someone gets hurt or Darrel Young can't get himself together.
Rookie running back Alfred Morris did a good job of displaying his running style today. He ran hard and with purpose. No dancing around-- one cut, and up the field.
Cornerback Richard Crawford
Rookie CB Richard Crawford intercepted Cousins earlier in the session by playing a ball intended for WR Anthony Armstrong. Crawford was close enough to Armstrong's back that he tipped the ball up and then caught it as he fell to the ground.
Crawford has at least two interceptions in camp. His instincts have been very good on the ball. Also, he ran stride-for-stride with WR Santana Moss on a deep incompletion on Saturday. It seems he has some quality cover skills, and there's room at the bottom of the cornerbacks depth chart for him.
Will Richard Crawford make the final roster?
Tandler also noted in his Friday report that Crawford has been fielding punts. He's had off days, too, but I have a strange feeling that he could replace Chase Minnifield as the next rookie to come from nowhere and play a big role.
Running back Lennon Creer
Rookie Lennon Creer had all sorts of technique problems – reaching, not staying low, not moving his feet. Coaches had him repeat the drill three consecutive times.
For players below on the very outside parts of the bubble to make rosters, they have to start camp with a bang. I just can't see Creer landing anywhere but the practice squad at this point.
Morris is inconsistent in his pickups, but no one struggled like Lennon Creer. Could be the last time I write that name.
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