ASHBURN - The wide receiver group is considered one of the weaker ones on this year's Washington Redskins team, but through three days of minicamp, there is at least a glimmer of hope.
Terry McLaurin, the team's third-round draft pick out of Ohio State, has consistently made tough catches, and excelled once again on Thursday in a situationally-focused practice.
Trey Quinn, last year's Mr. Irrelevant who will take over for Jamison Crowder at slot receiver, had an excellent month of practice, though he did not work out Thursday, because he tweaked his hamstring during Wednesday's workout. Coach Jay Gruden said Quinn will be fine.
It's a stretch to suggest the Redskins' receiving corps has been upgraded anywhere beyond "adequate" with these two players, but it's at least better than March, when the Redskins were considered one of the league's worst teams at the position.
--A fantastic sequence during the red-zone portion of the workout. First, Dwayne Haskins threw a strong pass to Cam Sims, who caught the ball. But within a second of Sims getting his hands on it, Jimmy Moreland, the JMU grad and undisputed offseason star, grabbed the ball and ripped it out of Sims' hands for an interception.
Moreland celebrated, Gruden yelled out, "That's No. 5!" to mark the number of times Moreland has intercepted Haskins this spring, and Gruden then yelled to the assembled scribes and podcasters, "All the reporters are writing down Jimmy Moreland!"
On the next play, Haskins made a bad throw towards the sideline that was intercepted by a diving Josh Norman. Norman, however, was ruled out of bounds by the official on the line while he was running the interception back for a touchdown.
Gruden went over to the official and told him, "Throw a flag, just so I can [mess] with Josh." The official did.
It produced big laughs in a practice that was otherwise filled with spirited competition.
--Both quarterbacks (Case Keenum and Haskins) received a lot of snaps in the situational portions of the practice. It resembled an in-season Friday, and Gruden noted after that all of the players were tested and stretched on their playbook knowledge.
--Dustin Hopkins got some field goal attempts. He twice had a quick-kick situation with the clock simulating the end of the game with no time outs.
Kicking into field goal posts that were half of regulation NFL size, he made the first, then missed the second. Later he kicked with no rush and consistently converted. "Oh, now you make it," Gruden joked. There are ways of simulating pressure that don't require 50,000 people.
--Casey Dunn has been getting reps all week at the center position, after playing guard in previous weeks. Coordinator Bill Callahan is a fan of the "swing" lineman who can play both positions. He views rookie offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher the same way.
--Gruden once again praised running back Samaje Perine, who has been getting the bulk of the carries. Perine's future seems tied to Derrius Guice's recovery. If Guice and Adrian Peterson are both healthy in Week 1, it's hard to see how any carries are left on the table. If Guice is still recovering, it's not unthinkable that Perine gets some run. Gruden referred to Perine as "really improved."