5 Things We Learned from Washington Redskins' OTAs
Organized team activities are over, minicamp starts next week and Redskins fans are a couple steps closer to real football: training camp on July 25, a final 53-man roster on Aug. 30 and Robert Griffin III starting on Sept. 9.
But believe it or not, the Redskins' OTAs revealed more than just Griffin swiftly moving about the field and firing passes to his receivers despite a nasty ACL tear to end last season.
Here's a handful of takeaways from the past couple weeks at Ashburn.
Alfred Morris Won't Repeat 2012 Production
A popular question surrounding the 2013 Redskins appears to be the anticipated production from second-year running back Alfred Morris.
After being drafted by head coach Mike Shanahan and the Redskins in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, Morris was the definition of a no-name camp body.
But 1,613 yards and a conference-best 13 rushing touchdowns later, and Morris is a household name for both football fans and fantasy team owners.
The obsession, however, regarding Morris' output and whether or not he can duplicate his rookie season in 2013 seems a bit much.
For Redskins fans, the better outcome would be less carries for the 218-pound power back.
If Morris can smash another 1,600 yards this season, great—but not at the cost of another 335 carries. The Redskins added two backs in the draft in Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison to help lighten the load, and both are favorites of mine to make the final roster.
Counting on Fred Davis?
When Fred Davis went down last season with a blown Achilles tendon, there were plenty of fans who predicted a grim outcome for the 27-year-old tight end's football future—myself included.
Not only are Achilles injuries known for being one of the toughest rehabs, but Davis was also on a one-year franchise tag. The team wanted to make sure he could behave himself (see: drug suspension) before dishing out a big contract.
Following that injury, the Redskins re-signed Davis for a bargain price after the market for his services showed nearly flat. One year removed from a torn Achilles isn't to be taken lightly.
So far, so good.
Davis appeared on NFL Network's NFL AM last Thursday, talking about his rehab, progress and cutting. He said the following via Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
Right now, I'm in the training process, still rehabbing. I'm doing a lot more running though, a lot more drills, doing some route-running, throwing with Robert (Griffin III), with the other guys who have been hurt on injured reserve. Other than that, I'm just going to probably be ready in a couple more weeks to get ready to be active so I feel pretty good.
Entering another one-year type of show-me deal, Davis knows what kind of work he has cut out for him not only in rehab but also in camp. The team re-signed backup Logan Paulsen and drafted Jordan Reed.
Thankfully, he has the right mindset.
"The key with the Achilles is you just have to sit and wait," Davis added. "It's a sitting game, it's a mental game, really, more mental than anything."
OK, so maybe they weren't actually secrets. But Mike Shanahan and the Redskins are damn good at keeping Redskins Park locked down when it comes to in-house information.
Although it was his foot that kept him off the field for most of last season, Pierre Garcon opted to forgo surgery on the torn ligament.
But he didn't have a choice when it came to shoulder surgery in January to repair labrum damage following the Redskins' first-round, home playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
“The shoulder is good,” Garcon said via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “There shouldn’t be any worries for me for the season coming up. So it should be good to go.”
As for cornerback Josh Wilson, Mike Jones of the Washington Post reported on May 23 that Wilson underwent surgery two months ago for what is now being described as a pretty nasty labrum tear that bothered the 28-year-old corner for most of last season.
If Shanahan and the coaches believe it's better to keep injuries and surgeries from being recycled media throughout the season, then so be it.
The important part is that each are expected to be ready by Week 1.
Adam Carriker's Setback
Although defensive ends in the 3-4 scheme rarely receive much attention, there's no denying Adam Carriker's contribution to the Redskins defense.
After going down early in Week 2 with a torn quadriceps tendon, Carriker reportedly suffered a setback in his recovery according to head coach Mike Shanahan.
Shanahan refused to give much detail on the recovery hiccup, but he did mention it occurred towards the end of last season via Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington.
"I could tell you, but I don’t want get into it," Shanahan told reporters. "I’m still hoping he will be ready."
Carriker is arguably the team's best pass-rushing end, and he seemed to find a groove during the 2011 season when he registered a career-best 5.5 sacks.
Without a time table on Carriker's return, all eyes shift to Jarvis Jenkins and his development heading into his third season.
If Carriker's health remains uncertain, so could a secure roster spot.
Richard Crawford on the Rise
As a rookie last season, cornerback Richard Crawford began making a name for himself in the latter part of the year by way of punt return skills and becoming a handy man when it came to turnovers.
Entering his second season, many are raving about Crawford's progress.
John Keim of the Washington Examiner is one of the many reporters at Redskins Park that has been impressed with Crawford so far, noting his intelligence and instincts.
ESPN 980 beat reporter Chris Russell says Mike Shanahan takes a strong liking for Crawford and his development as well, mentioning how he can anticipate better this year and that he's a film rat.
Keim also mentioned in his email report last Friday that Crawford often talks with former Redskins legend Darrell Green.
According to Keim, "...the two attend the same church and often talk afterward for 10 or 15 minutes about various aspects of football, focusing often on technique. They’ll talk other times as well."
"Talking technique and what he used to do; it’s really helping me,” Crawford said.
Keim also notes Crawford and Green will work together after the organized team activity sessions and mini-camp is done.
I'm not saying Crawford is the next Green, but a fan can dream, right?
He's certainly impressing so far and saying the right things, via JP Finlay of CSN Washington.
OTAs aren’t anything, its all about what you do on Sundays and how many games you win, getting that big Lombardi trophy. I’m fully confident in myself to do whatever the coaches want me to do and contribute to the team.