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Team Report - WASHINGTON REDSKINS

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INSIDE SLANT

Jay Gruden's first training camp as an NFL head coach got underway in the rain in Richmond, Va., on Thursday.

Of course, nothing can dampen the 47-year-old's enthusiasm, and that energy appears to have revitalized quarterback Robert Griffin III. After a trying second season under former head coach Mike Shanahan, Griffin has received nothing but praise so far from Gruden and new offensive coordinator Sean McVay.

"It's really just a good thing to have two coaches that believe in you," Griffin said. "Sean and Jay have done a great job. They've given me a lot on my shoulders in that quarterback room and I cherish that. You want to be asked to do more or just to do the bare minimum.

"As a quarterback, you have to have that fire in your heart that says when things are going wrong that you're going to get it right."

Griffin is continuing to learn a new offensive system, but the difference from 12 months ago is he isn't recovering from major knee surgery and was able to fully dive into the offseason program. And while not mentioning Shanahan by name, it's clear Griffin has a different relationship with the new coaching staff.

"I think everybody feels different in the organization," he said. "We just have an opportunity to come in with a lot more energy. There is a togetherness in that locker room and in the building."

Gruden is excited. Griffin is excited. Now the task is putting in the work to improve on a daily basis.

The Redskins certainly didn't do that last year under Shanahan as they backslid from 10-6 NFC East champions in 2012 to 3-13 division cellar-dwellers in 2013. To his credit, Gruden didn't adopt the usual "every year is a new year" coach-speak when addressing Washington's mindset.

"You try to learn from history, coaches' past mistakes, not only here but every other franchise in the NFL," said Gruden, the offensive coordinator of playoff teams in Cincinnati the past three years. "We'll learn from what we did in Cincinnati, what we did right, what ... we did wrong, how we ended the season, how poorly we finished and what we can do to rectify that. ... We're going to get second guessed all the time, but we have to feel confident the way we're doing things is the right way and the best way for them to succeed on Sundays. Ultimately that's all we can ask."

The Redskins added quality free agents in receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, defensive end Jason Hatcher and safety Ryan Clark while losing only inside linebacker London Fletcher to retirement. So Gruden and Co. firmly believe that a bounce-back season is within their sights.

"We've all got a chip on our shoulders," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "To win three games, that takes a toll on you physically and mentally. We're happy right now. We're undefeated and we're ready to roll."

Which, of course, is what Gruden wants to hear.

"From a coaching staff standpoint ... all the way to the top to (owner Dan) Snyder, I feel good about where we are," Gruden said. "Now we've just got to find the right 53 guys. It's not going to be easy because we feel like we have a very good, competitive group. We have to make sure we get a good look at all the young guys, all the free agents, all the undrafted free agents, the draft picks, the veteran free agents.

"When you play four preseason games and you scrimmage against the (perennial AFC East champion) New England Patriots (Aug. 4-6 in Richmond), hopefully we'll get enough reps where we do make the right decision because nothing is worse as a coach than when you let somebody go and they go on and kick you're ass later on."

Added Griffin, whose performances the past two seasons were indicative of the entire team's, "We won the division one year and didn't win the division the next. This year, we look forward to getting back on top."

Griffin has a leg up on that goal because unlike last year when he was coming off ACL surgery and was held out of the entire preseason, he has two healthy legs.

"There's just a difference in coming back from a knee injury and rehabbing as opposed to being able to work on your craft throughout the whole offseason," he said. "It's beneficial to be out there at practice, it's beneficial to be able to not have to worry about an injury. ... I'm ready to go."

Gruden, himself once a star quarterback in the Arena League, is very pleased with his quarterback.

"Obviously he's in great shape," Gruden said. "Physical conditioning, not an issue. Mental conditioning, we feel excellent. (Offensive Coordinator) Sean (McVay) has done an excellent job with him. (Robert)'s doing a great job with the command of the game, the huddle, his progressions in the passing game. His audibles in the run game have been excellent.

"He's in his third year and he's still going to make mistakes here and there, but the key is to learn from his mistakes and not make the same mistakes over and over and just continue to get better every day, and he's the type of guy that will."

Griffin sounded like Gruden in making a similar point.

"The more you play, the more you grow," said Griffin, who set NFL rookie records for passer rating and quarterback rushing yards in 2012. "(You) learn from your mistakes, don't make them over and over again and that's part of playing quarterback. If you keep making the same mistakes over and over, you're not going to be out there and that's something that I pride myself on - being able to adapt and learn whatever coach is trying to teach me in a rep."

CAMP CALENDAR

Players reported: July 23

First practice: July 24

Practices with Patriots: Aug. 4-6

Camp Breaks: Aug. 11

NOTES, QUOTES

--Redskins general manager Bruce Allen recently told ESPN 950 that quarterback Robert Griffin III was rushed back from a knee injury last season.

After throwing 20 touchdown passes and just five interceptions in 15 games as a rookie, Griffin III threw 16 touchdowns and 12 picks in 13 games last season.

"What you saw last year was almost a little disrespectful to the game of football," Allen said. "It's impossible to ask a player to perform well during the regular season if you haven't practiced. Last year at this time, he was still rehabbing his knee, and he wasn't allowed to practice or work in team drills.

"We put him on the spot by trying to do that. And this year he's had a full offseason, his knee is 100 percent, knock on wood, and he's had all (the practices), and that's how you get ready to play a football season."

After winning the NFC East in 2012, Griffin had major knee surgery and the team struggled to a 3-13 record in 2013. Coach Mike Shanahan was fired at the end of the season and replaced by Jay Gruden.

Griffin said last week that he was appreciative of having coaches who support him, including Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay, a holdover from Shanahan's staff who moved from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator, replacing Kyle Shanahan.

"There's just a difference in coming back from a knee injury and rehabbing as opposed to being able to work on your craft throughout the whole offseason," he said."It's beneficial to be out there at practice, it's beneficial to be able to not have to worry about an injury. ... I'm ready to go."

--Cornerback DeAngelo Hall sees a different Griffin, mentally, from last summer's version.

"The stress is kind of off him ... worrying about reps, worrying about a head coach (who) you don't really know if he likes you or doesn't like you, things like that," Hall said. "From the jump, from the moment (coach) Jay (Gruden) came in here, I think Robert kind of knew that Jay wanted him, he wanted to coach him and felt he could be special."

For his part, Griffin ridiculed the idea that defenses befuddled him in 2013 as he dropped from a 20-5 touchdown/interception ratio, 65.6 completion percentage and a 102.4 passer rating as a rookie in 2012 to 16/12, 60.1 and 82.2 last season.

"You don't go from the ability to read defenses one year and not have that ability the next, so I don't believe that one bit," Griffin said.

Griffin will certainly have every chance to read defenses this summer with all the reps he's slated to take.

"You can never have too many reps," Gruden said. "We can run the same play 10 times and we might get 10 different defenses. The more you see that play against different defenses, the more you see the blitzes that he has to handle from a quarterback position, step it up in the pocket, his fundamentals, his footwork... He just needs to continue to get reps. All quarterbacks need the reps. All quarterbacks want the reps. They desire the chance to compete not only on Sunday but every day during the week and Robert is an ultimate competitor. From Robert's standpoint, he just needs to keep getting the reps."

--Hall is just 30, but captain London Fletcher's retirement has made the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback the face of Washington's defense, which he joined in November 2008 after his stunning release by Oakland.

"The onus is on me," said the often-combustible Hall, who's beginning his 11th NFL season. "Meeting with Jay (Gruden) this offseason he kind of stressed that to me. I embraced it. I felt like I was ready for it. London, I tried to stay in his hip pocket as much as possible, so I'm definitely up for the challenge."

Which is how Hall plays his position.

"As a corner, if you don't feel like you're the best, there's a problem right there," he said. "I never said I was the best, I would be a fool to think 11 years in I'm the best in the game right now. (But) I definitely think I'm pretty successful at doing what I do. I put my film against any corner in the league and we'll see what he does and we'll see what I do and we can go from there. I definitely think that if you put me out there against a (top) receiver ... I'll take my chances. I never said I was the best, but I definitely feel like I should be in the conversation. ... I'll take myself in a heartbeat."

--Given the usual summer heat and humidity in Richmond, Gruden has opted to hold practices at 8:35 a.m. most days with a walkthrough at 4:10 p.m.

"We try to do what's best for our team and for this place," Gruden explained on the eve of the first practice. "We thought practicing in the morning was the best option for us. Just walking out there today, it was hot, so I'm kind of glad we're going in the morning."

However, Thursday morning was rainy and relatively cool. Perhaps that's why the defense was a clear winner during the first practice of camp.

"When we first walked out and saw the rain, we were like, 'Man, please cancel practice,'" Hall said. "Then when we saw it wasn't raining that hard, we were like, 'OK, let's go ahead and try and get this done.' We had fun."

Which is more than Griffin could really say.

"As an offense we weren't as efficient as we wanted to be," he admitted. "It's a good thing to have to work through the rain and have to throw those wet footballs and have to catch those wet footballs and have to work on the quarterback/center exchange, all those things. (When) you start camp, there's a lot of excitement. Football is back. And then you have a practice like today where the weather plays a huge factor and you have to kind of block that out."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's really just a good thing to have two coaches that believe in you. (Offensive coordinator) Sean (McVay) and (head coach) Jay (Gruden) have done a great job. They've given me a lot on my shoulders in that quarterback room and I cherish that. You want to be asked to do more or just to do the bare minimum. As a quarterback, you have to have that fire in your heart that says when things are going wrong that you're going to get it right." -- QB Robert Griffin III in a not so subtle dig at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and former coach Mike Shanahan, with whom his relationships deteriorated in 2013.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Pierre Garcon left practice Monday with a hamstring injury, but it is not considered serious. "He left practice early. He had a couple catches and then just had a little soreness in his hamstring. He'll be OK," coach Jay Gruden said.

--OLB Everette Brown was signed by the Redskins Monday (July 28). Brown will likely play outside linebacker in the Redskins' 3-4 alignment.

"He's going to be another pass rusher on the edge and play outside 'backer. He's played 4-3 defensive end and he played a little outside 'backer so we're going to give him a look at outside backer and see how he does," coach Jay Gruden said.

Brown had 10 tackles and one sack in seven games with the Dallas Cowboys last season. Brown has also spent time with the Carolina Panthers (2009-2011), San Diego Chargers (2011-2012), Detroit Lions (2012) and Philadelphia Eagles (2013).

In 38 NFL regular season games, Brown has seven sacks.

The Panthers selected Brown in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Florida State.

--Rookie LT Morgan Moses again practiced at left tackle, but the plan remains for him to slide to the right side. "I like the way he's developing. I really do," coach Jay Gruden said. "He's big and long and he's doing a good job. He's starting to understand angles and getting out on the running game and protecting the quarterback. ... He's got a long way to go, but he's getting there."

PERSONNEL TRACKER

FRANCHISE PLAYER: LB Brian Orakpo (tendered at $11.455M; signed tender March 27).

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

--ILB Nick Barnett (not tendered as UFA).

--WR Dezmon Briscoe (not tendered as RFA).

--S Reed Doughty (not tendered as UFA).

--QB Rex Grossman (not tendered as UFA).

--ILB Bryan Kehl (not tendered as UFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

--WR Aldrick Robinson (tendered at $570,000).

--DE Doug Worthington (tendered at $570,000).

DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED

--LB Trent Murphy (2/47): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--T Morgan Moses (3/66): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--G Spencer Long (3/78): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--CB Bashaud Breeland (4/102): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--WR Ryan Grant (5/142): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--RB Lache Seastrunk (6/186): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--TE Ted Bolser (7/217): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--K Zach Hocker (7/228): 4 yrs, terms unknown.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--NT Chris Baker: Potential UFA; $12M/3 yrs, $4M guaranteed.

--CB E.J. Biggers: UFA; terms unknown.

--CB DeAngelo Hall: Potential UFA; $17M/4 yrs, $3.25M SB/$5.65M guaranteed.

--LB Rob Jackson: UFA; terms unknown.

--S Brandon Meriweather: UFA; $1M/1 yr.

--WR Santana Moss: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--LB Brian Orakpo: FFA; $11.455M/1 yr.

--LB Perry Riley: Potential UFA; $13M/3 yrs.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--S Ryan Clark: UFA Steelers; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--DE Clifton Geathers: UFA Eagles; terms unknown.

--DT Jason Hatcher: UFA Cowboys; $27.5M/4 yrs, $9M SB/$10.5M guaranteed.

--LB Adam Hayward: UFA Buccaneers; terms unknown.

--WR DeSean Jackson: FA Eagles; $32M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$16M guaranteed (final year voids five days after 2016 Super Bowl, making it $24M/3 yrs.

--LB Akeem Jordan: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--DE Frank Kearse: FA Cowboys; terms unknown.

--C/G Kevin Kowalski: FA; $1.23M/2 yrs.

--G Shawn Lauvao: UFA Browns; $17M/4 yrs.

--QB Colt McCoy: UFA 49ers; terms unknown.

--G Mike McGlynn: UFA Colts; terms unknown.

--CB Tracy Porter: UFA Raiders; terms unknown.

--WR Andre Roberts: UFA Cardinals; $16M/4 yrs.

--ILB Darryl Sharpton: UFA Texans; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

--WR Josh Bellamy (released).

--DE Adam Carriker (released/failed physical).

--LB London Fletcher (UFA/retired).

--S Jose Gumbs (released).

--LB Josh Hull (released).

--C Will Montgomery (released/failed physical).

--WR Josh Morgan: UFA Bears; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--CB Ryan Mouton (released).

--P Sav Rocca (released).

--LB Darryl Tapp: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--C J.D. Walton: UFA Giants; $5M/2 yrs, $1.25M SB/$3M guaranteed.

--CB Josh Wilson: UFA Falcons; 1 yr, terms unknown.

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