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Redskins rookie RB Matt Jones excites sideline with big pop

RICHMOND, Va. -- Highlights and observations from the Washington Redskins' practice vs. the Houston Texans Friday:

  • Saw a little difference in rookie lineman Brandon Scherff during one-on-one drills; saw him let the rusher get into his chest once, but for the most part he was quicker with his hands. Because he plays with a strong base, that's all it took for him to win. Scherff must work on his timing with his hands -- when you move inside, it's even more pronounced. He can be more patient at tackle; at guard you must get the hands up right away.

  • In one drill vs. Houston's defensive line, Scherff got end J.J. Watt off a double team and knocked him off balance. But Watt used a strop rip move to beat Scherff in 11-on-11 work.

  • Watt is big and strong, but good lord he finishes off the all-around package by being so quick, too. It makes him effective on stunts and loops because he can get there quickly and it makes him dangerous on backside runs. You always have to account for him; at times the past two days I've even seen receiver Andre Roberts try to block him backside, just to slow him down a little.

  • Rookie running back Matt Jones likes to lower his shoulder and try to drive through defenders. But what coach Jay Gruden wanted to see him do is finish more runs downfield. He did that Friday when he ran around left end and ran over a Texans defensive back along the sidelines, right where his teammates were standing. They went crazy, of course. Those kind of runs energize an entire team. Do not go crazy and extrapolate from this; Alfred Morris is a much more polished runner. But Jones likes the contact and earlier in the practice he also lowered his shoulder and rammed into linebacker John Simon on a 5-yard carry.

  • Need to see more of the backs in pass protection drills, but I did see Jones do a nice job on one pickup. He started to the right of quarterback Colt McCoy, crossed him and picked up a defensive back blitzing between the tackle and guard.

  • The other quarterbacks, McCoy (working with the second group Friday) and Kirk Cousins, had their moments. McCoy, like Robert Griffin III, holds the ball a little longer at times. But on one play-action in which both deep men were covered he quickly dumped it off; problem was, running back Silas Redd still got popped. McCoy later hit receiver Tony Jones on an out; a nice job leading him on the throw. Cousins was patient on one throw in particular, letting a deep ball with Reggie Bell develop. The second he saw it wasn't happening, he found tight end Devin Mehina underneath.

  • A couple plays later, Cousins was patient again on an out to rookie receiver Evan Spencer. But Spencer dropped the ball -- he's had too many drops in camp. Spencer did come back with a catch later in the practice. On that play, McCoy showed good anticipation on the deep out. McCoy did miss a little on a deep pass down the right side to tight end Jordan Reed one play later.

  • McCoy ended his day with a touchdown pass. He was forced to run to the right, but his ability to extend a play mattered. So, too, did Spencer's ability to adjust. Spencer was running an out in the front part of the end zone, but when McCoy ran to his right, Spencer quickly shifted back to the middle and McCoy whipped the ball on the run across his body for a score. It was slightly back to the middle and there was no one else around the ball.

  • One thing second-year wideout Ryan Grant does is provide trust for the quarterbacks. They know when he'll break and that he'll come back for the ball.

  • Undrafted rookie Trey Williams, a guy the organization thinks has a shot at a roster spot, is learning how to run more decisively. It was an issue a couple times Friday, where he's caught between hitting the hole and wanting to bounce.

  • Second-year lineman Spencer Long took one snap at center in full-team work and another one in an earlier drill. The Redskins really are trying to see how players perform at various spots.

  • Liked how the Redskins' front did not get moved off the ball all that often. Saw nose tackle Terrance Knighton get off a double team on one run to the right. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had a good day as well. He and Trent Murphy both got to the quarterback on one rush; Murphy did so on a play in which he started from a stand-up position across from the right side of Houston's line. The Redskins could do more with their four-man rush -- and are helped by the fact that Houston lacks a good quarterback.

  • The Redskins' first three corners Friday: Justin Rogers, Deshazor Everett and Tajh Hasson. Yes, the Redskins are that banged up at corner.

  • Safety Dashon Goldson forced an incompletion with a hit inside the 5-yard line on a pass over the middle.