RICHMOND, Va. — This was exactly what the Redskins needed.
The Redskins and Patriots took the field for the first of three straight days of practice sessions on Monday. They ran it like a regular practice, with seven-on- seven drills, some individual work and then team work (11-on-11).
“It was a good day, a learning experience,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “Anytime you get a chance to go against a different defense, you learn a lot. It was excellent for both sides of the ball, nobody got hurt and there were no fights. I think it was a good learning experience for both sides.”
There was one negative that Jay Gruden took away from this mornings practice, it was that he thinks his guys could be in better shape. He said they may do some extra running over the next couple days after practice, noticing guys along the defensive line a little slow getting off the ball. Gruden said that was probably the most disappointing aspect of the day.
Griffin and Brady
The Redskins first team defense got a chance to go up against a Patriots offense and Tom Brady that have been in the same system for 15 years.
“It was good to see how guys adjust in those situations,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said.
Kerrigan and the Redskins defense very impressed with the precision that Brady runs the offense.
“He’s legit, their whole offense is in such unison. They don’t have to take long in the huddles, they just get out there and run the plays. It’s good to go against the kind of pace.”
Second year cornerback David Amerson agreed.
“Tom Brady’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league, everybody knows it,” Amerson said. “He really takes command of the offense, knows what’s going on in dissecting the coverages. He’s one of the best.”
The Redskins defense can only get better from having to go against a high powered offense like New England’s, no question.
Robert Griffin III was able to spend a little time with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady today.
“I got a chance to talk to him, he was interacting with the team, his team and our team,” Griffin said. “Just to see them work, we have a chance to watch them a little bit.”
While he spent some time, he wants to be clear that it wasn’t a ton of time.
“It’s not really a time to for us to watch him like we’re at a zoo and try to figure out things they are doing.”
Sounds like a headline to me.
As far as some of the things they did share…
“He [Brady] was saying that he’s been in the same offense for 15 years, which is astounding. That’s amazing. They have a lot of good pieces there. I will evaluate them, because that’s what quarterback’s do, but at the same time I’m still focused on what we’re trying to do as an offense.”
Griffin was encouraged when Brady told him that it’s still very early in his career, only his third year in the league, and he has a lot of football left in him. Griffin still hopes to spend a little more time with him.
“Hopefully I will get a chance to sit down with him if he’s not too busy.”
It’s no secret that the more Griffin is around and interacting with Brady the better. Jay Gruden knows it’s hard, but he does hope that his quarterback is able to pick some things up from the veteran.
“I think just the way he conducts his business and the pro that he is, and anytime you have a chance to watch him firsthand, it’s fun to watch,” Gruden said. “He’s definitely got total control over the offense and that’s one thing we want to get Robert to where he has absolutely total control over what’s happening on every play.”
Gruden noted that it’s only Robert’s third year and his first in this system.
“It’ll take some time for him, but it’ll come.”
On the other side of the ball, the Patriots had a good opportunity to go up against a mobile quarterback like Griffin. Defensive end Vince Wilfork and the Patriots will face teams throughout the year that have a quarterback like Griffin, and the they are thankful to get a look at it now.
“He’s given us a great look at it today,” Wilfork said. “Being able to move the pocket in the pass game and when there are broken plays, being able to get out of the pocket and make some plays. It’s big for us because in the future we are going to face some teams that have that type of quarterback that can move around.”
Oh, and by the way, Wilfork is coming back from a torn Achilles last year and has lost some weight, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a bigger human being on the football field than this guy. I can’t even imagine trying to block him. He’s officially listed at 6-2, 325 pounds.
More of the same tomorrow
Tomorrows practice will be similar to today Gruden said. There will be full pads and some live sessions again.
Other highlights from the joint practice.
– Watching DeSean Jackson vs Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis. “It’s always good work, competitive nature,” Jackson said.
– Aldrick Robinson continues to have an up and down camp. He had a few drops today, but then connected with Kirk Cousins on a long touchdown pass during and 11-on-11 session.
The first preseason depth chart was released today, but don’t read anything into it Jay Gruden said.
“Nothing is set in stone right now, we just had to do it for the media.”
– After missing Saturday, DeSean Jackson was back today. – Rob Jackson returned to practice today as well. – Jason Hatcher continues his progress after knee surgery. Gruden said he’s close to getting on the field.
The team announced the signing of defensive end Jeremy Towns. He is an undrafted college free agent out of Samford, where he appeared in 45 games from 2008-2013. Last season, he compiled 54 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Earlier in the week the team waived-injured wide receiver Jerry Rice, Jr.
Earlier in the day Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton signed a hefty six year, $115 million contract extension through the year 2020. Gruden was Dalton’s offensive coordinator in Cincinnati.
“Very happy for him, much deserved, Gruden said. “Very proud of the fact that I was part of bringing him into Cincinnati.