Redskins' secondary takes advantage of aggressive Kirk Cousins

Redskins coach Jay Gruden surveys the field during minicamp on Wednesday. AP Photo/Nick Wass

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden was in a good mood on Wednesday during the final practice before training camp begins in late July. He yelled to no one in particular to "Go get the money! Go get the money!" He said something to running back Matt Jones, the one who wants out of here, and, though I couldn't make out what Gruden said, he wore a big smile.

Later, he even chastised quarterback Kirk Cousins for a low throw on a slant pass to Jamison Crowder, saying, "Get the ball up Cousins!"

At the end of the day, Gruden had to be fired up about the secondary. Cousins was more aggressive than usual, trying to hit targets downfield even when covered. Linebacker Trent Murphy did a nice job covering Vernon Davis on a seam route and tipped away a pass. D.J. Swearinger dropped one interception of a Cousins throw into heavy coverage for Terrelle Pryor; and on the next play he did pick him off when receiver Josh Doctson ran a comeback route and Cousins threw to a deep out.

Later, corner Dashaun Phillips jumped a route at the goal line, as if in some sort of trap coverage, to pick off Colt McCoy.

"Today we said, just from a quarterback's perspective, we said, 'Hey, let's try a few things today,' so I think all of us were being a little bit more aggressive," Cousins said. "Terrelle is really talented running down the field. I have been very impressed with his down-the-field skills with his speed. Being such a long strider, he can really cover ground when it doesn't look like he is. I want to throw to him every chance I get on those deeper routes and that's where in OTAs and minicamp I can experiment a little bit."

Still, the positive aspect for the Redskins is that the defensive players reacted well and were typically in the right place.

Some other observations:

1. One guy who seemed to have a strong spring: corner Bashaud Breeland. And on both of Swearinger's plays, you can credit Breeland with an assist. On the near-pick, Breeland did an excellent job staying with Pryor and occupying him to the inside. On the pick, Breeland was all over Doctson. Even if the pass was on-target, he was in position to make a play.

2. I know many seem to complain whenever they hear Ryan Grant's name, but you have to know this: It's not just Gruden who likes him. Receivers coach Ike Hilliard loves him as well. Even last year, with Pierre Garcon still around, they called him their best route runner. Grant and Jamison Crowder were the two best and most consistent receivers this spring. The feeling has been that all Grant needs are more chances. If I had to draw up a top five receiver list, Grant would be fourth behind Crowder, Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. But he will get opportunities. Maurice Harris would be fifth in that scenario. I'm not sold on who the sixth would be at this point, but I'd lean toward rookie Robert Davis. I'll have more on this group later.

3. Davis made a nice grab in the end zone. Davis is 6-foot-3, 217 pounds but it's not as if he had a huge advantage over 6-foot-2 corner Tevin Homer. But Nate Sudfeld threw the ball in a perfect spot, allowing Davis to jump for it -- he extended his arms and caught the ball at its highest point. Homer didn't have a chance. There was some dispute if Davis got his feet in-bounds but upon further review, and long after practice, Gruden said he indeed got both feet down. A good effort by Davis.