The epicenter in many respects came in Washington, where the team opted not to use the franchise tag for a third time on Kirk Cousins, thrusting him to the market — after his position was preemptively backfilled via a trade with the Chiefs for Alex Smith.
Taylor was injured in the third preseason game last year after having a strong start to camp and was lost for the season. This year the odds are stacked against him to make the final 53-man roster, but with the recent setback of Daron Payne (out two/three weeks) with an ankle injury, Taylor has a chance to show if he has fully recovered from his torn quad.
“[Y]ou can just tell by the three days, four days weve been on the field [during training camp], how much the playbook has grown,” tackle Morgan Moses told reporters on Tuesday. “Because . . . hes just not a thrower, he can run, you have to respect his run, we got a little bit of option stuff coming in and stuff like that. It helps us all out as an offense and as a defense because the Eagles run similar plays with Carson Wentz and so they get a guy on our team that they see that every day. So you know the qualities that he brings as a man and as a football player are [second] to none. Hes a great person, great personality, great leader, and we love him.”
Taylor lined up next to Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen on the starting defense and showed his movement is slowly but surely coming back. It will be interesting to see how things play out for Taylor with the team having three DTs on the roster along with Payne and fellow rookie Tim Settle.
The “option stuff” could mean some runs from Smith, and it also could mean some run-pass options, which will be the new trend for NFL offenses given the success the Eagles had last year.
Moses also knows that Smith’s mobility will make it easier to block for him, if they know where he’s going.
“It’s great for us getting out there and just knowing we’re getting the idea of where he [Alex Smith] is,” Moses said. “Obviously, you want a quarterback that has different versatility of running the ball and stuff like that. The defense is going to try and attack you in a different way because they necessarily don’t want him to move off the spot. Because if you look at last year, I mean, he ate a lot of people up getting out of the pocket and throwing it fifty-sixty yards down the sideline to Tyreek Hill, who’s an amazing speed guy, and we got Paul Richardson. So, you know, it helps us out a lot because sometimes we mess up a little bit as offensive linemen, our guys get a little free and knowing that he can step up in the pocket and flush, it helps us out a lot.”
While some fans may have a hard time remember many/any 50-60 yard throws from Smith, Moses has a point. A guy who can move and throw on the move or pull the ball down and take off brings a broader skill set, and that expands the offense.
Without all of the hoopla and excitement that has been at Redskins training camps in years past, the lack of those issues has led to more focused practices.
It also makes for an intriguing apples-to-apples comparison between the Washington offense under Smith, the Minnesota offense under Cousins, and the Kansas City offense under Patrick Mahomes. And it confuses coaches who aren’t yet used to the changes.
After a day of rest, the Washington Redskins were back practicing on day five of training camp from the Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Virginia.
“I think the object of playing quarterback is getting the ball to the open guy and the right guy and Alex is doing a pretty good job of that right now so is Kirk,” coach Jay Gruden said Tuesday before correcting himself and saying “Colt.”
Thompson has said that he doesn’t feel like himself yet and is in a little bit of pain at times, but to the naked eye he looks better than ever.
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