SNIDER: Redskins show intensity in opening workout

Rick Snider
May 24, 2018 - 1:27 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Robert Kelley accelerated through a drill that ended with a tremendous boom into a tackling dummy. The Washington Redskins running back knows there are no meaningless moments if he's to reclaim his job.

And so the 2018 offseason workouts began with energy unseen in past years. More jobs are at stake than most offseasons. A stronger rookie class is trying to make an impression and the defense isn't buying a new quarterback proving himself against them.

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"Competition is the only way you’re going to get better," quarterback Alex Smith said. "I think you’ve got to make each other better.”

The running backs especially seemed motivated, probably because second-rounder Derrius Guice is the expected starter over a group that underperformed or were injured last year. Kelley opened last season with a lackluster start before getting hurt at midseason, after averaging just 3.1 yards per game. Rookie Samaje Perine averaged only 3.4 yards.

But there were Kelley and Perine leading the unit, pushing themselves hard to show coach Jay Gruden not to forget or even forgo them come future roster cuts.

"You could see the competition," Gruden said. "You could see Rob Kelley step up. Samaje Perine's had a couple big days. . . . Obviously, Derrius Guice has come in here and fueled the fire a little bit.

"Competition’s great and it’s going to continue to be so. I think that position will be one of strength this year."

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Meanwhile, Smith was showing off his arm with throws all over the field. A short one after an option play was blown up. A couple deep ones to receiver Paul Richardson saw safeties D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson skying high for one deflection that led to jawing between the new receiver and Nicholson. A little brotherly competition turns into a family feud occasionally.

It was just one day, but a good day and start for the Redskins.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks