Preston Smith must continue to build on early showings

Washington's Preston Smith had eight sacks and forced four fumbles as a rookie. AP Photo/Mark Tenally

The second round of spring practices, which resumed Tuesday, offer yet another chance to gauge the Washington Redskins' progress -- does Preston Smith build on last week's showing. With Wednesday’s session the only one open to the media this week, here are five things to watch for:

Receiver Josh Doctson: He missed last week with a tweaked Achilles, so if he’s able to practice, it would be our first chance to see him against the veterans. Doctson did not face much press man coverage in college -- partly because of his ability and partly because his quarterback at TCU, Trevone Boykin, would be a bigger threat to run. So Doctson will have to learn how to get off the line against such coverage. But it will be fun to see him against the veteran cornerbacks, especially if it’s Josh Norman or Bashaud Breeland. Always keep in mind: It’s just a first step in Doctson's NFL maturation. But it provides a baseline for his growth.

Tight end Vernon Davis: He tweaked his groin last week, so he didn’t do anything when we could watch practice. Some coaches have said Davis was running well, so this would be a chance to at least get a little glimpse of what he might offer this season. The Redskins aren’t counting on Davis for anything more than being a good backup. If he still has something left, that’s good for them; if he doesn’t, they have more than enough to be just fine.

Practice intensity: It was pretty good last week, and some of that, but not all, stems from quarterback Kirk Cousins and his penchant for celebrating any sort of victory. He’s done this for a while, but it always amuses newcomers (such as Norman). But it also can make for more spirited competitions. Players are competitive by nature, but their intensity increases -- and it leads to more fun watching a spring workout. And competitive practices are good. There have been some years (2000) when a star-studded roster led to more patting one another on the back in practice rather than trying to win a battle.

Smith: He was a standout during our one session last week; will that continue? You never know what that might foreshadow for the season, but what we do know is that Smith feels more comfortable with the defense, allowing him to be more fluid. That, of course, is a good sign for Washington. But before you place him in the Pro Bowl, just remember it’s June 1 and a few good plays in the spring don’t make a season. Still, you want to see progress, and that’s what Smith showed last week.

Injury updates: Safety Kyshoen Jarrett has visited specialists this offseason as he tries to recover from nerve damage. Obviously this isn’t a good sign. Last week, coach Jay Gruden said Jarrett was visiting a specialist in Denver, so perhaps there’s an update on his situation. Also, linebacker Perry Riley Jr. was walking around in a protective boot last week. Gruden said Riley was going to visit a doctor, so there should be an update on when to expect his return. Clearly Riley doesn’t need to rush back, but perhaps we will know if he can return for the minicamp.