Practice Notes: 2017 #SkinsCamp, Day 1
July 27, 2017 10:10 PM's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels break down the key plays and highlights from Day 1 of the Washington Redskins' 2017 training camp in Richmond, Va.


--Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said during his Wednesday press conference that second-year wide receiver Josh Doctson had looked "very good" in his return to the field from Achilles injuries that plagued his rookie season. On Thursday, Doctson provided the first glimpse of his potential while in Richmond, particularly in 1-on-1 drills. First, Doctson made a nice sideline catch with Bashaud Breeland blanketing him in coverage and then wrapped up the session with a deep reception against Quinton Dunbar. On the catch, Doctson created separation at the line before outrunning Dunbar for the reception. While Docton's rookie season ended after just two receptions, there was a reason the Redskins selected him in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. In his last season at TCU, Doctson earned a unanimous All-American selection after catching 79 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.

--With Jordan Reed currently on the Physically Unable To Perform (PUP) list, Washington's six other tight ends were on display during the opening practice of training camp. On his first target in 11-on-11 work, Vernon Davis made a bobbling catch before securing his footing and getting up the field. Niles Paul, meanwhile, was positioned all over the field as the Redskins look to tap into the former wide receiver's versatility. As for Derek Carrier, Manasseh Garner and Jeremy Sprinkle, all three made catches in traffic. Sprinkle in particular showed no issues opening up the middle of the field. Despite most pegging him as a blocking-first tight end in the NFL, Sprinkle is the all-time leading receiver among tight ends in University of Arkansas history.

--As for Reed, Gruden said the team is going to take is slow with the Pro Bowl tight end as he recovers from a toe injury. After practice, Reed was spotted working with the JUGS machine.

--Returning off a breakout sophomore season, Jamison Crowder looked at ease on the field at times. On Kirk Cousins' first pass attempt during 11-on-11 drills, Crowder showed no issues catching a pass right in between three defenders. The pass was perfectly placed by Cousins and drew a "Great accuracy!" comment from Gruden. Safety D.J. Swearinger, meanwhile, joked that Crowder should be careful catching balls in his presence.

--While the quarterbacks mostly threw short routes and checkdowns during 7-on-7s, the longest gain during the session came when rookie wide receiver James Quick made a diving catch on a pass attempt from quarterback Colt McCoy. Quick is one of the many young wide receivers trying to grab a roster spot. He played collegiately at Louisville from 2013-16, appearing in 45 career games, catching 126 passes for 2,032 yards with 14 receiving touchdowns.

--One offensive line update: first-year East Central (Okla.) product Kevin Bowen was back on the field after suffering a left leg during offseason workouts. He appeared at left tackle with the three offensive line unit behind veterans Trent Williams and Ty Nsekhe. The 24-year-old is one of five listed tackles on the roster (offensive lineman John Kling has be appearing on snaps at right tackle with the third unit opposite Bowen).

(Stephen Czarda)


--Though the Redskins defense kept the 3-4 scheme from the last several years, fans got their first look at new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and his more aggressive style, offering a few slight twists than in years past, according to players. There were also new faces to account for, including a starting safety tandem, middle linebacker and a few defensive lineman, that got their first chances to put on pads and play together as a unit in Richmond.

--The safeties in question - Su'a Cravens and D.J. Swearinger - should provide some excitement, and looked smooth in their first time out on the field. Swearinger will be playing free safety, sitting back and preying on passes over the middle, and could already be heard barking at teammates (Quinton Dunbar, to be exact) about switching and lining up properly. Cravens played the majority of his time in the box, where he situated himself last season as a linebacker. He will have more opportunities in coverage but will thrive on attacking run plays, as he did on Thursday.

--It's possible to see a little of Manusky's aggressiveness come through occasionally on some saftety blitzes. In those circumstances, Swearinger has charged in from the left side of the field, leaving Cravens and Kendall Fuller to take over in coverage. Fuller had quite a day with two interceptions. The first came against a Brian Quick streaking for a deep ball -- with Josh Norman tailing him -- that Cousins tried to heave. The final one essentially ended practice, taking advantage of an overthrown ball by Nate Sudfeld intended for Jeremy Sprinkle.

--The defensive line saw a lot of rotations, as will be the case over the next couple of weeks, but began with a starting line of Ziggy Hood, Terrell McClain and Joey Mbu in the middle at nose tackle. Phil Taylor, Stacy McGee and A.J. Francis got second and tertiary opportunities at nose tackle in the midst of some switches. While receivers and defensive backs worked on 7-on-7 drills, the offensive and defensive lines went head to head for some 1-on-1 matchups. The team's first two picks in the draft this year looked strong. Jonathan Allen burst around Isaiah Williams, and later found a nice hole against the second-team offensive line, flushing Colt McCoy out of the pocket. Anderson meanwhile had success with a bullrush against Vinston Painter, showing off his strength, while Painter held his own on the next matchup in which Anderson tried to beat him around the edge.

--A fun thing, which will remain a fun thing, is watching defensive line coach Jim Tomsula speak to his players. At one point during a drive down the field, he made sure to have the whole group follow him down the sideline, telling them to stay attuned to the down and distance. As McGee will attest, Tomsula teaches everyone as though in a classroom, not highlighting anyone over another.

--At inside linebacker, it's not exactly clear if there is a set grouping the defense will go with just yet. The very first pairing included Will Compton and Mason Foster, but those eventually split off with Zach Brown and Martrell Spaight. It should be interesting to see if any of these pairings take hold in the coming days.

--While DeAngelo Hall is on the PUP list, watching practice from the sideline and staying in tune with the play calls, rookie defensive backs Fabian Moreau and Montae Nicholson worked out on a side field with helmets and pads. There is no specific timetable for them to start practicing with the team but it is likely sooner than later.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

Special Teams:

--The special teams unit was only used for field goals on Thursday. Dustin Hopkins was perfect, hitting from 28, 33, 35, 38, 43 and 48 yards.

(Jake Kring-Schreifels)

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