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Redskins wake-up call

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins practice at 8:35 a.m. Friday, their last practice open to the media this summer. The NFL mandates that practices are open until after the second preseason game. After this point, we'll be limited to perhaps 20 minutes, enough to see some stretching and what players might be missing.

Anyway, we get one more chance to watch. So here's what I'll monitor:

  • The two-minute drill. The defense won this battle Thursday -- the coverage for the most part was sound and should be applauded. The flip side is that the offense did not look sharp. It's happened before in camp where one side gets the better -- by a lot. The offense has responded well to this in the past -- just as the defense did so Thursday after not looking as sharp Tuesday.

  • Pass protection. The running backs did not look good here Thursday and because it's such a crucial part of the competition, I want to see how they respond as well. It's set up for the linebackers to win in these one-on-one drills against the backs. But it's one thing if you win a little; Thursday, the defense dominated. Running backs coach Randy Jordan was not pleased. How will his group respond?

  • Injuries. Safety Brandon Meriweather hurt his toe Thursday but is expected to be fine. Running back Chris Thompson did not practice but last weekend coach Jay Gruden said he'd likely return in five or six days. So Thompson should be close. If he's not, then the clock has to start ticking on his Redskins career, right? They like his ability, but I'll always remember what Al Saunders used to say about players: "He's part of the able family." In other words: reliable, available, dependable. Thompson hasn't yet proven to be part of that family. Nobody knows that better than Thompson.