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Redskins' offense ready to pounce on mismatches vs. Jordan Reed

RICHMOND, Va. -- The play triggered a mini-controversy, but was another example of making a change at the line of scrimmage for the better. It happened in a red zone drill when the Redskins' first-team offense was facing the No. 1 defense.

With tight end Jordan Reed aligned in a tight slot position to the right and running back Chris Thompson split further outside, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins pounced on a defensive move. When safety DeAngelo Hall walked up to the line of scrimmage across from Reed, Cousins called an audible.

It turned into a touchdown pass, though if there had been officials it might have been a pick play (can’t rewind practice tape to check it if you don’t have it). And, as Redskins fans likely remember, if Reed was involved it probably would have gone against the offense. But once Hall crept to the line, the Redskins changed to what amounted to a screen -- or a pick, as the defenders shouted -- by Thompson. That freed Reed to run to the corner and catch Cousins’ pass.

Regardless, it was an example of how quickly the offense can adjust to a move by the defense. That’s not just on Cousins, it’s on the entire offense. Like Cousins, Reed and Thompson also are in their third year in this offense, so they quickly were able to change their assignments.

But oftentimes, the plays that have been changed in practice resulted from how the defense was playing Reed. He’s a mismatch, and if the Redskins offense sees a certain look from the opposition, it’s automatic that they will try to take advantage.

Other Sunday practice observations:

  • Left tackle Trent Williams did not participate in full-team work again because of his knee, but it’s not as if he’s relishing the break. As he said before entering the practice facility here, “I need the work.” Williams has played through pain quite often, but what the Redskins don’t want to do -- and shouldn’t do -- is have him enter the season with any issues. But at some point, Williams said, he wants to get action and it should be soon.

  • Undrafted receiver Kendal Thompson continues to get more comfortable as he transitions from playing quarterback in college. Thompson made a diving catch in one drill and later beat corner Lloyd Carrington on a deep post for a score. Thompson moves well for someone making this transition as he gave Carrington a subtle jab and lean to the outside before slicing back inside.

  • Will Blackmon still is learning to play safety, but he knows how to play press coverage -- even if he now must do it against a tight end. On Sunday, he did it against Reed and his patience paid off. Blackmon let Reed come off the line clean, staying in his stance and not moving until Reed made his break. Because of that, Cousins had to look elsewhere.

  • In case you’re wondering: Dashaun Phillips worked as the No. 1 slot corner for the second consecutive day, ahead of rookie Kendall Fuller. I wouldn’t view that as a knock on Fuller; instead, give Phillips credit. He continues to play well. At linebacker, Mason Foster took most of the first-team reps, but Perry Riley was given a handful.

  • The linebackers often have a tough time facing the running backs in one-on-one drills, but it does provide a chance to work on coverage skills. And it was interesting to watch veteran linebacker Will Compton defend Chris Thompson, followed by rookie Su’a Cravens doing the same. Compton was able to cover Thompson as he broke to the outside because he was able to get his hands on him before he made his cut. Cravens failed to get his hands on Thompson, who then cut open to the outside. It’s a little difference that Cravens still is perfecting.

  • The Redskins gave a nod to the heat Sunday as temperatures reached 97 degrees. Coach Jay Gruden shortened several sessions, reducing the practice to less than 1 hour, 40 minutes. The Redskins practice Monday morning in front of the volunteers who worked the camp, then return to Ashburn, where they’ll resume practicing Wednesday. On Tuesday, they have to move their equipment back in and get it set up.