RICHMOND, Virginia – These conjugal practices with the Patriots are designed to be a learning experience for the Redskins. And the players might not like the result of what head coach Jay Gruden saw on Monday.
New England’s up-tempo offense had Washington struggling to keep up in the latter stages of the morning practice.
“That’s a learning experience,” Gruden said of facing the New England offense. “You see how we are in shape and I noticed that on the fourth and fifth play of a couple of those drives, some of our guys were coming off real high and they weren’t coming off the ball.
“It’s something we have to address, as far as making sure our guys are in shape,” Gruden continued. “And if we have to get in extra running in after practice, we’ll have to do that. I think that was probably the most disappointing thing, some of the guys, defensive line-wise, getting off and continuing to rush, and you know they get tired. Overall the communication I thought was good. I think our secondary was where they needed to be at all times. We didn’t give up any big plays, but I think just from a stamina standpoint, we have to get better and better, and we have five or six weeks to do that before Houston.”
On one 11-on-11 drive in particular, Brady worked the ball around from Brandon Lafell to Julian Edelman, to Danny Amendola then to tight end D.J. Williams playing simple pitch-and-catch. One play would end, the Patriots would be back to the line, the ball would be spotted and the next play would begin.
“That’s why they pay him the big bucks—that’s what’s going through my mind,” Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson offered. “He’s Tom Brady for a reason. He’s won multiple Super Bowls for a reason. He does a great job with what he does. The coaches trust him, obviously, to make the calls and the plays. He gets a call, he doesn’t like it, he’ll switch to a different look, motion a guy, flex a guy out, make something happen based on whatever he wants to do. So that’s going to help us, our defense seeing that, going against that in practice.”
“He’s legit, obviously,” said defensive end Ryan Kerrigan. “Quite the understatement there. But their whole offense is in such unison. They don’t even really have to take long in the huddle. They just get out there and run the plays. It’s good to go against that sort of pace.”
Washington has to deal with divisional foe Philadelphia twice during this regular season and head coach Chip Kelly likes the same turbo pace. Washington got a peek of where they are right now and, to hear Gruden tell it, it’s not where they need to be.