First Week of Redskins' Training Camp In The Books

Quotes from camp:  Week I

The Washington Redskins finish up their first week of training camp in Richmond, VA this week.   Here are a  few quotes and perspectives that caught our eye from the players and coaches.

Coach Jay Gruden offered a few poignant quotes on the direction of the team, and where he thinks the team needs improvement.


On if he is seeing what quarterback Robert Griffin III does best in an existing offense or if he is tailoring an offense to Griffin III:
“Well, it’s a combination. I think he’s got two years under his belt now, as far as playing in the National Football League, so we have a good skillset in mind for what he can do. Now we’re just trying to expand his skillset in the passing game and go from there and we’re throwing a lot of concepts at him and protections and things of that nature and he’s done a good job. We’re saving some of the other things for later on in camp, but right now we’re trying to throw some things at him from a conceptual passing-game standpoint, a little bit more than he was asked to do in the past and see how he reacts, see how he handles it, trying to get people involved and so far he has done a great job.”

Wide receiver Santana Moss signs autograph for fans at training camp.  Photo/Washington Redskins.

On if he has hit a “camp wall” yet:
“I think today I cut down practice a little shorter just because I felt like guys were a little sore, a little banged up. A lot of our guys might have a sore back, back spasms or hammies are a little tight, got kicked in the shin. It just felt like they were a little wounded out there, so I cut practice short and we just did some striders there at the end of practice. But, I feel good where we are at. I think that for the most part everybody this time at camp in the NFL probably has a little soreness right now. Now, it is how you manage it, how you get the most out of them and how you are going to tailor practice. Tomorrow we’re going to do pads again in the morning, Saturday we will have our fan day, Sunday, they will be off and then New England will be here Monday. My goal is to get them to Monday, ready and healthy so they can compete against New England at their finest form.”

On where he stands in evaluating the kickers:
“Same. We’re still evaluating. It’s hard to evaluate a kicker out here. Coach [Ben] Kotwica is doing a good job when they’re out there charting every kick that they make, both kickoffs and field goals. They did some kicking yesterday afternoon, hopefully will do some more today, and then we’re just continue to evaluate and go from there. That decision, if we keep one or two, will be made at the very last minute.”

On if there has been a change in defensive philosophy from last season:
“Well, I don’t know what they were tailored to last year with Coach [Jim] Haslett. Every game plan will be different. We’re just working on different packages right now, our blitz packages. We’re not blitzing on every down, but we are trying to be more aggressive from time to time. Like I said, everything we do schematically is we’re trying to get our base fundamentals, our base teaching, our base concepts in right now. Each game we’ll have something different. You know, we might blitz somebody more often than another team, but that’s going to be game plan specific and we’ll move from there, but were trying to throw blitz packages at them, trying to throw four-man rushes at them, three-man rushes at them, all kinds of different things. That’s the whole thing about a game plan. You have to be diverse in what you do, both offensively and defensively and work on different aspects.”

On what he conclusions he came to when targeting areas for improvement defensively:
“There was a lot. You know, there was poor tackling. We need to be a better tackling team. I think that’s the No. 1 thing we had to address. We’re trying to get more speed out there. Obviously, we addressed that with the linebacker position. And then from there, I think rushing the quarterback, getting after the quarterback, was a necessity for us to let [Brian] Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan have more freedom as far as the rushes are concerned, and I think Coach [Brian] Baker has done a good job of working with them in that regard.”

===> Safety Ryan Clark tends to agree on the tackling tip. Read his comment...

On how the defense can get better at tackling when not in pads:
“The biggest thing is running to the football. The guys on the other side, they get paid a lot of money, most of them get paid a lot more than we get paid and the reason is they’re put there to score points and they’re special talents. So you're going to miss tackles. If I miss a tackle, if Brandon [Meriweather] is running to the ball, Rak [Brian Orakpo] is running to the ball, then they have opportunities to make those tackles behind me. When you are playing against these guys, when you’re playing the LeSean McCoys and the Darren Sproles, you have to gang tackle those guys. You have to get a lot of people around that ball. So when we run to the ball extremely hard no matter if we have pads or not, also putting yourself in position to make tackles – having yourself in the right body position where you can wrap a guy up or when you can tag a guy off. All those things help and you have to get it through reps, so any time you're out there on the grass, you want to be working your craft."

===> Tackle Trent Williams says "he's a great athlete", and could quite possibly play the role of quarterback.  Read what he said...

On how good of an athlete he is and the number of positions he thinks he could play:
“First off, to answer your question, I think I’m a great athlete if you want to ask my opinion, but, I mean, I feel like I could play a lot of positions on the football field. Obviously I could play offensive tackle the best, but, you know, who knows? If I would have lost about 50 pounds, I probably could have been a nice tight end or maybe even an outside linebacker. Who knows, man.”

On throwing the ball around at practice and if he could be a candidate for emergency quarterback:
“I think I definitely could be [smiling]. I definitely could be. I do have a talented arm. Not to toot my own horn, but, you know, just telling the truth.”

Williams is really confident in his abilities, isn't he?

 ===> Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, to the contrary, has a different take on his own skill set.

On his thoughts about where he stands among cornerbacks in the league:
“As a corner if you don’t feel like you’re the best, you’ve got a problem right there. I never said I was the best, I would be a fool to think 11 years in I’m the best in the game right now. I definitely think I’m pretty successful at doing what I do. Like I said, man, if you really watch film, let’s go watch film and I put my film against any corner in the league and we’ll see what he does and we’ll see what I do and we can go from there. I definitely think that if you put me out there against a receiver, anyone of them, I’ll take my chances. I never said I was the best, but I definitely feel like I should be in the conversation.”

On why he isn’t in that conversation more often:
“I don’t know, maybe my reputation. My reputation kind of precedes me a little bit. It is what it is. I don’t go out there to try to please the media or the guys who are ranking corners. Probably earlier in my career I did, but now I’m all about just – the proof is in the pudding. At the end of the day, I’ve got to line up against this guy, this is what he did. It’s not about me saying I can do this or I can do that. At some point, I’m going to have to face Calvin [Johnson], I’m going to have to face Dez [Bryant] and all these other guys. I let my play speak for itself, but if you sit down and watch film and compare my numbers against those guys – any corner – I’ll take myself in a heartbeat.”

===> Linebacker Keenan Thompson -


On if he thinks about his injuries while tackling:
"It's still in the back of my mind, but as we've been hitting and doing stuff like that, I don’t have any issues. I don’t feel anything. I've learned to trust my body more and I'm feeling more comfortable with tackling and being out of position to where I have to reach and make plays. But like I said, once we get into preseason games and everything is full-go, I'll even build that confidence even further."

On what he has learned a lot about the process of becoming a starter from Perry Riley, Jr.:
“Basically the first thing is the coaches will not let you on the field unless you know what you’re doing, so that’s the first thing. No matter all your physical talent, you can have all that, but mentally if you’re not prepared, if you don’t know the plays, if you don’t know what you’re doing in every situation, the coaches will not trust you on the field. For me, like I said, it helped having the same defense that I had my rookie year and last year when I was hurt because now I’m just recalling everything and the coaches can trust me because they know I played a little bit my rookie year and it’s the same defense. So they know that I know everything and they can rely on me.”

===> Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson -

On if he has noticed cornerback DeAngelo Hall mature over the years:
“D-Hall, he’s had some great years in his career. Him being a veteran, going on his 11th year, it comes with a lot. Being a top player in this league, you have to go through a lot. So whatever edge you have to have to play at the level you need to play at, you can’t take that from no one. That’s who makes you you. That’s what makes you what you are. Whatever any individual has to go out there and put on a performance… He’s kind of like myself – kind of a smaller guy but he still plays big. So that’s his confidence. That’s what he needs to do to play at his level. You can’t really knock anybody for whatever it is they need to do to play at a high level in this league.”

On Head Coach Jay Gruden joking about him being “too cool for school” while running routes:
“Coach Gruden, he’s a guy that has a lot of jokes with him so you’ve just got to kind of take that on the run. Honestly, I’m out here working. That’s all that matters, putting in the hard work and doing what I need to do to be at a high level where when my quarterback drops back, he sees me where I need to be. As far as the plays, I think I have a great idea of all the plays that’s in so far and they’re still being put in. I feel like I’m on top of all that, so I’m not out there missing assignments and doing things like that. I’m just trying to get better every day at a time and doing what I need to do to help my team.”


On if there are similarities between his playbooks with the Eagles and Redskins:
“It’s a total difference. As far as [Eagles Head Coach] Chip Kelly’s offense last year, it was a fast, speedy offense and it just had a lot of different looks, where this year it’s back to the West Coast Offense as far as kind of similar to how Coach [Andy] Reid and Marty Mornhinweg [were] my first four years in Philly. I have a lot of similarities with my previous offense, like I said with Coach Reid and Marty to now with Jay Gruden, so a lot of things are similar to the West Coach Offense, a lot of terminology and things like that are similar. So that’s what you look forward to – just trying to match up the things that I’ve known in the past to where I’m at now.”

===> Nosetackle Barry Cofield


On if he is glad he took care of injury in the offseason instead of worrying about it now:
“Oh, yeah. I’m glad we did it right when we did it. You know, you try to be a tough guy. You want to play through everything. I probably could have played through it, but, you know, now I’m extremely happy and I’m extremely excited.”

On this year’s training camp compared to last year’s training camp:
“Yeah, it’s definitely about football right now. It’s definitely about football and that’s it. We’re not in the headlines. I don’t see us on the SportsCenter ticker at the bottom every day. It’s a good feeling to just be focused on football, focused on getting better and only fielding questions about players and their activities on the field. And that’s a good thing. But, with success comes scrutiny. So we had a successful year the year before. There was expectations. So, we want to play to a level where there are expectations and we do cause a buzz, so right now we’re enjoying the being under the radar, being the underdog, but hopefully by the end of the year we are the opening story on SportsCenter.”

The team prepares to practice starting this Monday, August, 4 with New England. Here is a comment from running back Alfred Morris to mark the occasion:

On what he expects from upcoming practice with the Patriots:
“I guess for us to get better. It’s one thing to go against your own team. I mean a lot of times you know what’s coming – the defense knows what’s coming, the offense knows what’s coming. We know what drills, like, ‘Oh, it’s a blitz period, oh, it’s a run period,’ so you kind of expect it. But going against another team, it gives you a different level of competition. Mentally, it changes our psyche. It just makes you want to work that much harder because you’re going against a real opponent, not your own teammates. Me personally, with my teammates, I try my best not to lower my shoulder on any of them or I try not to hurt them in a sense, not that I want to hurt any other player, but it just gives you kind of a real-life rep. You’re more likely – I’m more likely – to drop my shoulder on a opposing team than my own teammate.”

Of course the conversation wouldn't be complete if we didn't include the camp comments from the quarterback, 

===> Robert Griffin III

On his relationship with Head Coach Jay Gruden:
"It's just a normal head coach-quarterback relationship. Jay's a guy like I said, he brings a lot of energy. He's funny, he's personable and we're just excited to have him here, excited for a new year. Like we’ve said, everybody is 0-0It doesn’t matter what happened last year. We won the division one year and didn’t win the division the next. This year, we look forward to getting back on top."

On his mindset today and how it feels to be back:
“You know, it’s fun, man. Football is fun. That’s what it’s supposed to be about. So, I think everybody stepped on the field today with excitement knowing that football games that are going to be played against other teams are right around the corner. But, we have to get through this grind, or as we like to call it the ‘find’ through camp – find out who is going to be the playmakers for us and move on from there. We’re all excited and ready to go and tomorrow’s practice will be better than today’s and that’s how it should be every single day.”

On how different he feels coming into this season compared to last season:
“Yeah. I think everybody feels different in the organization. We just have an opportunity to come in with a lot more energy. There is a togetherness in that locker room and in the building. You know, from me personally, obviously, not having to come off of a knee surgery is a big boost for me, having the opportunity to work on my craft throughout the offseason with my QB coach and with Sean [McVay] and Jay [Gruden] while we’re there, or allowed to be in the building. So it’s been great being able to hang out with the guys, be around them and I look forward to it.”

And there you have it.   Quotes from camp.

Fan Appreciation Day fun and events.

The Redskins have a few events scheduled this weekend to kick off their Fan Appreciation Day starting tonight, Friday, with the Redskins' cheerleaders' calendar party happening at the Hippodrome Theater.   (Think DC's Lincoln Theater, and you'll get the picture).  Doors open at 6pm.

On Saturday the team will kick off their inaugural Washington Redskins Fit Fest at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on August 2-3. For details on this free, open-to-the-public event, visit www.redskins.com/fitfest.

As a reminder, all practice sessions other than the ones specified above do not require lottery entry. Fans are encouraged to sign up to attend training camp online atwww.redskins.com/trainingcamp. This site is also home to the full training camp practice schedule.


More
The Redskins announce the sale of tickets for the annual Redskins Welcome Home Luncheon (WHL) to be held this year at the Gaylord National Resort on August 22nd.   

The WHL offers the unique opportunity for Redskins fans and corporate partners to have lunch and spend time with members of the team (at least one player, coach or alumnus will be seated at each table) and features exclusive silent and live auctions, door prizes, amazing food and the announcement of the 2013 Redskins Players of the Year and Community Service Award recipients! Click here for details.  

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