Highlights from Monday's Washington Redskins' practice:
Monday was the first day the Redskins’ defense played with all of its starters on the field as DeAngelo Hall (ankle) and Brandon Meriweather (knee) returned to work. Jarvis Jenkins worked with the starters, too, after spending more time with the second unit last week.
One thing that secondary coach Raheem Morris stresses to his young defensive backs, particularly the safeties, is communication. He constantly was shouting at each of his rookie safeties, notably Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, to remind them to talk loud. Morris was pleased with how Rambo handled this, “Way to talk Bacarri!” But he implored Thomas to talk “Louder! Louder! Louder!”
Thomas did do a good job in the box on one read, coming up closer to the line based on the formation. He read the quarterback’s eyes, forced a tight window and subsequent incomplete pass with his coverage. Thomas is slowly coming along with his play in the box.
Second-year left tackle Tom Compton has had an uneven camp thus far. One problem he had last season was being unable to react to a counter move, partly because his initial punch at a defender wasn’t strong enough to knock him off line. Compton continues to allow inside pressure -- and not only to established players.
One player who has jumped out on occasion is rookie linebacker Brandon Jenkins. He has a ways to go and the games will be vital for him. But he got some work with the starting defense and faced the No. 1 offense. However, right tackle Tyler Polumbus handled Jenkins. One area Polumbus focused on this offseason -- keeping his shoulders square and his hands in tight on the defender -- was on display against Jenkins. Polumbus must prove he can be that consistent against quality pass-rushers, though he did a good job on a wide rush by Ryan Kerrigan. The third-year linebacker has had more success rushing inside the tackles with his counter move this camp.
It was second-year right guard Adam Gettis' first day back after his hamstring injury. So you have to take that into consideration. But he had a bad habit last season of getting stood up by his man. Gettis had the leg strength to sometimes anchor in these situations, but the coaches want him to get stood up much less. However, that’s what was happening to Gettis on Monday. Just something to watch.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Roy Helu ending up as the third-down back for Washington. He’s done a decent job in pass protection and he remains their best receiving threat out of the backfield. He also had a nice run today, running with excellent pad level through the hole.
Mike Shanahan talked about the need for Leonard Hankerson to be more consistent in camp. Thus far, that has not been the case. Hankerson dropped two passes this afternoon; both were very catchable. Shanahan said the same about Aldrick Robinson and aside from one day in which he dropped three passes, he has been consistent. Robinson made a nice grab in tight coverage against Chase Minnifield along the sideline. Though Robinson isn’t big -- he’s 5-foot-10, 181 pounds -- he has done a good job in camp of holding onto passes after being hit.
Cousins is obviously not as mobile as Robert Griffin III. But Cousins understands how to move in the pocket and showed a subtle slide to his left to elude pressure, then reset and threw to Pierre Garcon. Cousins makes one or two really nice throws each practice. He’s not afraid to throw into tight windows, which will lead to big-time throws and occasional trouble.
Injury report: Hall returned to practice after spraining his right ankle a week ago. Meriweather participated in the bulk of practice, a good sign for a player who missed a week of practice. The test for Meriweather is how his surgically-repaired right knee feels Tuesday. Rookie running back Chris Thompson also practiced. He, too, has been in and out after ACL surgery last fall. Thompson looked quick in the open field; durability will always be an issue with him… Receiver Devery Henderson missed practice due to a death in the family. …Rookie tight end Jordan Reed bruised the top of his foot and will undergo an MRI Monday night.
Quotable: “Last year and this year he lost a good 10 pounds. He decided to be in the best shape he could possibly be in. He had a great offseason and you see the dividends from being in great shape… He has continued to do that this year. He is in excellent shape. You can see some of the plays he has made thus far at camp, see that he is hungry and he is going to play at a very high level.” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on wide recei er Santana Moss.