Redskins Park was packed bright and early when they opened the gates at 8am. Redskins fans travelled from all over the world to attend Fan Appreciation Day in Ashburn, Va. and did not want to miss a single second of the experience. For an event that was scheduled to start at 12 pm, fans were waiting around like it started at 9am. The energy level was high and fans were anxious to see their team play.
Attempting to gather a serious opinion about how a team will play during the season by watching them practice is extremely difficult. I understand that people can over analyze training camp, so I’m going to do my best to keep my evaluation unique and interesting, yet relevant.
The first thing I wanted to see was how serious and aggressive the team approached drills and the scrimmages. The drills were pretty much at walk through speed, but you didn’t see guys joking around. There was a level of focus that was clearly noticeable amongst all the players. When practice shifted to the red zone 1-on-1 drills, practice started to pick up. The corners were aggressively jamming the receivers and the wide outs didn’t ease up either. Standouts in the 1-on-1 drills were Briscoe, Banks, Garcon, and Kevin Barnes on defense. Crompton showed good accuracy throwing the back shoulder fade also.
The 11 on 11 scrimmage didn’t disappoint either. From the beginning, the defense looked like they had something to prove. Fletcher got into a minor scuffle with the offense line followed by a fight between Niles Paul and Markus White. Pictured above was the meeting that followed the second scuffle and I think the coaches got their point across because the remainder of practice was clean. The offense had the majority of the breakout plays, started by two untouched touchdown runs by Griffin from about 80 and 50 yards respectively. Both plays were designed run plays so look forward to some exciting action from the Redskins starting quarterback. The other standout play was a play action bomb from Rex Grossman to Logan Paulsen from about 60 yards out. The defense was completely fooled as Paulsen blocked and released to the weak side all by himself.
It looks as though the Redskins will be using the Pistol formation alot as they dedicated a couple drives to just that formation. It also appears that Santana Moss will be used in motion and in the slot alot which will create match up problems for nickel corners across the league. Speaking of the Nickel package, Washington had Deangelo Hall playing the slot with Wilson and Griffin on the corners. I guess we will find out against Buffalo whether or not the Redskins will stick with that look. Outside of those big plays, the defense didn’t look bad at all. The non-big-play drives resulted in field goals that were made by both Rackers and Gano. This bothers me a bit because giving up a big play can be the reason you lose a game. Washington must find a way to remain disciplined for the entire game and not take a play off.
The only bad play of the day came from Robert Griffin III. After practice was over and the players were tossing game balls into the crowd, Griffin began throwing his wrist/armbands to the crowd also. I was WIDE open on the hill and Griffin looked the other fans off…he threw his arm sleeve into the crowd which was the worst pass attempt in the history of throwing a sleeve in the crowd. It was easily intercepted by a young kid which I seriously thought about getting a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty to break up the play. Robert, you owe me a sleeve!
Overall, I cannot complain about how the Redskins performed at practice and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Redskins Park for the day. It is going to be really tough cutting down that roster as the Redskins have a lot of guys that can really play. I am glad I don’t have Shanahan’s job right now. All pictures posted were my original work and the remainder of the on field action photos can be viewed by liking my facebook page . If you are contemplating attending training camp, I highly suggest that you do. It is an event that every fan should experience. Enjoy a few of the photos below and be sure to follow me on Twitter.