Here are my thoughts from some of the quotes from Mike Shanahan’s press conference after training camp on 7/29.
On cornerback DeAngelo Hall’s ankle:
“That’s all I know is that he rolled it. I don’t think it’s that serious right now. I know it’s quite sore. It takes a little while to find out for sure. Hopefully he’s okay. We’ll know more in the next 24 hours.”
My Take: Not good news for a defense that has already lost a couple guys to injury and a couple more to suspensions.While this probably won’t keep Hall out from the start of the season, ankle injuries can get to be nagging if he tries to do too much too soon. Even if this comes back as something minor, I’d look to rest Hall for the next week to 10 days. It lets some of the younger guys get some extra work and helps ensure there isn’t a setback.
On running back Alfred Morris coming in as a starter not having to learn as a rookie like last year:
“Well, Alfred Morris is an elite running back. We felt that when he first came in and we got a chance to evaluate him during preseason. I think you could see right away his natural running skills. He’s come back after a great year of offseason conditioning, feeling a lot more comfortable in the offensive system and himself. And he’s actually running at a different level right now than he did when he came in. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. I think he has got a good feel of what we are asking him to do, and he does everything he can in the right manner. So I think he’ll just keep getting better and better.”
My Take: This is great to hear (though not unexpected). Morris is so vital for this offense to work and will need to have a big season if the Redskins are to defend their NFC East Title. While I don’t know if I’d expect another 1,600 yards, I think he will easily be one of the league’s top 10 and likely top 5 rushers.
On if quarterback Robert Griffin III was more involved in practice today:
“We didn’t increase anything today for Robert. He didn’t have a walkthrough. What you see there at the start of practice — he plays the first three periods, that’s our screen drills. We’re not playing against anybody. So we’ve got the same plan for Robert that we did the first day. We’ll have that for the next couple of weeks, make sure he’s in football shape. He’s feeling stronger. I can see him improving every day. He’s getting some good 7-on-7 work; he got about 10 reps today. He had 30 minutes of individual [work], he had 20 minutes in special teams and he worked after practice as well on some of his quarterback keeps and throwing on the run. So we’ll continue to do that for a while.”
My Take: I like this. If you are going to have RGIII practice, you have to take it slow. There is zero reason to rush him at this point and let him just shake the rust off and not put too much pressure on the knee. I know Griffin may want to ramp up his timeline, and that is what you’d expect from the player, but the coach has to step in and manage it correctly. It looks like Shanahan is doing that right now and that is a big positive.
On if he is satisfied with the running backs in pass protection:
“That kind of the fun part about Training Camp is you get a chance to have those live drills against linebackers. It’s really tough on those running backs. They’re blocking guys 260-270 pounds and some of these guys are 190-200. But we want to see if guys will hit, people will strike, what type of toughness they have, what type of technique they have. I thought for the first day they did well.”
My Take: I know he didn’t criticize them, but the fact that he felt the need to make excuses, sounds like a “no I’m not satisfied” to me. Yes it is early in camp, but these guys are the last line of defense to get to Griffin and they have to succeed for him to stay upright. They don’t always have to level a guy with a big block (i.e. Clinton Portis), but they have to buy Griffin time.
On evaluating Griffin III’s plant leg:
“That’s part of what we’re going now. Through every part of our individual drill, you take a look at him with three-, five-, seven-step drops, if we’re in a shotgun, if we’re in a Pistol, that’s what we’re doing. We’re putting him through those types of drills to see if it is natural. The hard part of being in any type of team situation, if you’re in a team, you do things and you have to react and it’s very quick. If you put a guy in there too early and he doesn’t have that full strength, you could lose that ACL, LCL, just like that. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to make sure to do it the right way that we feel is a slow process, but enough work where he keeps getting in football shape every day. It’s just a process we go through, not only with Robert but with a number of people – we’ve got 10 people out there that haven’t been through the OTAs. We’re doing the same thing with those people that we’re doing with Robert.”
My Take: This is the key through out these practices. While it will be great to see Griffin shaking off the rust to be as effective as last year, the knee is the most important. That is why you don’t rush his reps or force him to play preseason. I also really like Shanahan reminding us that a number of players are working their way back from injury. This is why Brandon Meriweather is sitting out most drills the past couple of days.
On cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Chase Minnifield getting more reps today:
“For example, with Chase we kept him out of practice on Saturday – I think it was Saturday. But we’ve got to watch these guys, make sure that they don’t go too quick. ‘Rak [linebacker Brian Orakpo] is not going to get all his reps. Chase isn’t going to get all of his reps that he wants, but it’s part of the process as well. We kept him out of the last day of the OTAs just because we thought we were pushing him a little bit too much. Sometimes he’ll go through all the drills but we’ll take a couple of reps away from them. I think Chase has done a great job. He’s been very impressive out there over the first few days and as well as a couple of other guys. [Safety] Brandon Meriweather, looked like we put a little bit too much pressure on him so we’re not having him do as many reps. That’ll be part of this camp. When guys step up and we feel like they can handle the amount of reps that warrant getting them ready for the first game, then we’ll try to do that.”
My Take: It is good to hear again that they are easing these guys in. Also really positive that Minnifield is having a strong early showing at camp. If he’s past the injuries he can be a nice boost to this defensive backfield depth. He should be a key player to watch this preseason.
On guard Adam Gettis not practicing today:
“He has a hamstring. Hopefully it won’t be too long. I don’t think it is a big strain. I think it’s a mild strain. Hopefully within the next two or three days, he might be able to practice.”
My Take: Not great news on this front. It is good that it doesn’t appear too serious, but a hamstring injury is definitely one that could flare up again. With Maurice Hurt injured, and early reports have Josh LeRibeus struggling, the Redskins could use a healthy Gettis bolstering their line. Also, he’s a young project player so every rep missed sets him back slightly. The Redskins need to balance rushing him back which could tweak the hamstring even worse versus missing these reps. Definitely a tough call for them.