ASHBURN, Va. -- A few highlights and observations on the Washington Redskins' offense during the open organized team activities session this week:
Quarterback Colt McCoy hasn't had a good spring, at least when we've watched. Too many interceptions; seems like two in each open availability session. McCoy, too, will hold the ball a little too long a la Robert Griffin III. But both players are capable of extending plays -- and have always done so. McCoy had one pass batted away and another intercepted by linebacker Ja'Gared Davis, who simply stepped in front of the receiver and would have taken the ball a long way in a real game. Davis nearly picked him off again later in the workout. McCoy and Cousins have alternated with the second unit all spring but when we've been in attendance, Cousins has played better.
The Redskins worked on back shoulder passes in the end zone Tuesday. The trick is for the receiver to not stop until the ball is on them. Otherwise, it's easy to defend. Receiver Tony Jones learned that lesson and drew a rebuke from coach Jay Gruden on one such play. "Don't stop! Let the ball stop you! You stop, I stop!" Gruden shouted. For what it's worth, the quarterbacks did a nice job overall on this throw.
The play of the day: A little gimmickry off a field goal attempt when kicker Kai Forbath took a pitch from holder Tress Way and threw down the field to ... Spencer Long for a score. Who else? Long was actually sort of covered on the play (a defender was close enough) so it was a nice grab on the lineman's part.
I still like watching second-year receiver Ryan Grant. He does such a good job with his routes, with good body lean to sucker a defender on the fake. When it works, it creates several yards of separation. He'll use any part of his body to sell a fake -- head, shoulders (knees and toes, knees and toes), etc. He used a shoulder fake to cause a defensive back to lean the wrong way; alas, Kirk Cousins missed him with a high pass. Later, Grant fooled David Amerson with a cut, creating five yards of separation (more on Amerson and Grant in a post later on the defense). Grant needs to do this because he's not explosive or big. But there is a spot for him.
Tom Compton is working at left tackle with Trent Williams sidelined; he had some issues vs. Trent Murphy in protection that, if it were a real game, would have hurt the Redskins. Compton also worked at right guard with the second unit, something I've wondered in the past if he could do. I still don't know because these are non-contact situations. But the Redskins really need to see what Compton can do and if he can help at more than just tackle. If Morgan Moses is healthy this summer, then the Redskins have three tackles (Williams, Brandon Scherff). Compton must show more; he did not fare well at tackle.
I've written this before, but it jumped out again: Rookie Matt Jones has excellent cutting ability for a guy his size. It's damn near impossible to get a good reading on running backs in these non-contact drills, so do not go overboard (but some will regardless). But I like Jones' ability to swerve through a narrow opening (can't always just run over people) with good cuts. It's something to watch this summer.
Undrafted free-agent running back Trey Williams has excellent feet, and is able to make quick cuts. I saw this as a pass-catcher out of the backfield when he made Jackson Jeffcoat miss with one fake. But as we saw last summer with Lache Seastrunk, it takes a lot more than a good cut to make a roster.
Wrote about Josh LeRibeus at center last week, so I won't go into much detail. But I'll say this again: He moves well. I've seen him each of the past two open sessions do a good job of getting to the linebackers. The Redskins like his athleticism and if he shows he can play center, then it gives them even more options.
Watched left tackle Willie Smith for a few plays Tuesday and their one-time undrafted player looked fine in protection. Liked his base and footwork on one rush vs. Trevardo Williams. Smith always had some athleticism, but the first time around here his fundamentals were inconsistent.