LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – Perhaps the first sign of what 2017’s revamped Redskins offense will show, comes via a no show.
Running back Matt Jones, the starter for seven games last season before being benched in favor of undrafted rookie Rob Kelley, skipped-out on Wednesday’s voluntary organized team activity (OTA) session at Redskins Park in Ashburn.
“Jordan [Reed] is down in Miami training, he’s got a personal trainer down there,” explained Redskins head coach Jay Gruden when discussing the absences of Reed, Trent Williams and Jones. “Trent [Williams], I believe, is in Oklahoma somewhere training and Matt Jones was absent today.”
Washington selected running back Samaje Perine in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
“This is a voluntary deal, as we all know, and I can’t force the issue on anybody,” Gruden added. “So if [Matt Jones] is disgruntled in any way, shape or form, it’s news to me. I imagine like Jordan Reed and Trent Williams, I’m sure Matt is working out and staying in good shape.”
It was our first chance to see Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins work with new weapon Terrelle Pryor, a 6′ 5” receiver who signed with Washington during the offseason.
“Terrelle having been a college quarterback and a pro quarterback takes it to even another level,” Cousins said of Pryor – who has 10 career starts as an NFL quarterback . “He’s going to hold me accountable because he knows where the ball should go. I love it. He’s an enthusiastic guy. He’s always wanting to run another route. ‘Let’s try it again, let’s do it again,’ just a positive attitude and he’s been a joy to work with thus far.”
On the other side of the ball, cornerback Josh Norman promises the Redskins will improve upon a defense that ranked fifth-worst in the NFL a year ago in yards allowed.
“We will be better,” Norman said matter of factly. “We definitely won’t have the product we had last year, that’s for sure. We’re going to be a whole lot better than we were.”
Former linebackers coach Greg Manusky was promoted to defensive coordinator after the Redskins fired three defensive coaches, including former defensive coordinator Joe Barry, after the 2016 season.