Training Camp Notebook: Redskins offense getting better, but defense still on top

Craig Hoffman
August 05, 2019 - 2:21 pm
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RICHMOND – The offense was better on Monday, but we’re still clearly in a portion of training camp where the defense is ahead. Here’s what happened on one of the cooler days of camp.

QB Battle – Another mixed bag kind of day for all three quarterbacks and that’s not the only way in which it felt like groundhog day. Again the quarterbacks threw way too many body bag balls. Colt McCoy left Paul Richardson exposed to what would have been a massive hit in the first team period of the day. Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum had a few in that category as well.

McCoy and Keenum did some pretty solid work in a 4th down period, converting on a pretty solid percentage. The wide receivers and running backs didn’t help with a few drops, but the balls were delivered well in “have to have it” situations. But Haskins did not take any reps during the 4th down period.

MORE: McCoy a 'very real threat' to win Redskins QB job

When he is on the field, Haskins' biggest issue right now is he’s late on throws, perfectly exampled by one play in 7-on-7 where he missed on a deep out. Head coach Jay Gruden screamed "You're late! You're late! You're late!” at his first-round draft pick, who took it in stride. He hit Jehu Chesson on a corner route that Chesson dropped between four defenders. The ball was perfect.

ILB’s Show Coverage Skills – The Redskins have struggled in coverage at the linebacker spot over the last few years, but this camp has shown some real promise. Jon Bostic has flashed at times and is a good balance to Shaun Dion Hamilton, who can cover but is better going downhill against the run. 

Cole Holcomb  who will be the next interview in our “Couch Conversations” series – had a play today that showed exactly why he was drafted. He carried tight end Matt Flanagan 40 yards up the seam and would have had an interception if Flanagan didn’t get flagged for OPI. Holcomb showed the speed and instinctual ability which turned the former walk-on at North Carolina and non-combine invite into a Redskins draft pick and possibly even an NFL starter.

Nicholson Sets the Tone – Washington’s physical tone setters live up front with defensive lineman Jon Allen and company, but safety Montae Nicholson is equally as physical on the back end. The Redskins aren’t live, but that hasn’t stopped Nicholson from putting a few offensive players on their backs.

During the 4th down period, Nicholson popped running back Derrius Guice after a chunk run. Guice popped right back up and ran back to the huddle. Later in the period, Chesson took an end-around that ended with him getting slammed down by Nicholson.

Nicholson was a tone-setter his rookie year and the secondary clearly missed his presence last season. If he returns to being a big hitter with big-time range, he’ll be a perfect complement to the in-the-box physicality from strong safety Landon Collins.

Next Up – Walkthru is this afternoon at 4:40 p.m. The Redskins practice again tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. before traveling to Cleveland on Wednesday for their preseason opener Thursday vs. the Browns.

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