Ben Volin | Practice Report

Patriots, Redskins go easy in final tune-up

Patriots players ran during a drill in the joint workout with the Redskins on Wednesday.
Jay Paul/AP
Patriots players ran during a drill in the joint workout with the Redskins on Wednesday.

RICHMOND, Va. – The Patriots and Redskins smashed heads for two days this week under the scorching Virginia sun, going full-contact for a total of about five hours between Monday and Tuesday’s practice.

Wednesday was time for a break.

The two teams dialed back the intensity Wednesday morning, holding a half-speed walk-through that lasted about 90 minutes in advance of Thursday night’s preseason game. While Monday’s practice was designed for the teams to work on the running game, and Tuesday was a chance for the starters and top backups to get a lot of work in the passing game, Wednesday was for special teams drills and the third-stringers. At the start of the day, each team practiced their pre-game warm-up routine. Thrilling.


But there was a surprising amount of news to come out of a light day of practice. For starters, Washington suffered an injury scare when receiver DeSean Jackson limped off the field with an ice pack on his left ankle. Coach Jay Gruden said he got “cleated” and said Jackson twisted his ankle “just a hair,” but obviously any injury at this time of year is cause for concern. Fellow Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon is also out now, dealing with a hamstring issue.

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As for the Patriots, they were missing two players – tight end D.J. Williams (right leg) and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga (left hand), who each left Tuesday’s practices. The Patriots now only have two healthy tight ends for Thursday’s game (Justin Jones, Asa Watson).

Let’s get on with Wednesday’s practice report:

Attendance, please

Physically unable to perform: WR Aaron Dobson, WR Jeremy Gallon.

Non-football injury: DL Dominique Easley, OL Chris Martin.


Missing: TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, TE D.J. Williams, RB Brandon Bolden, C Bryan Stork, DT Sealver Siliga, LB Ja’Gared Davis, S Jemea Thomas, LB Cameron Gordon.

Limited/Non-contact: CB Alfonzo Dennard, WR Matthew Slater.

Dress code

Shorts and shells.

Top plays

The entire practice was conducted at half speed, and much of the time was spent on special teams drills such as onside kicks and squib kicks. No top plays today.

Three up

 TE Asa Watson: Looks like a long shot to make the team, but he’ll get plenty of opportunities on Thursday night with the Patriots’ top three tight ends out.


 DT Marcus Forston: Another guy who should get increased opportunities to prove himself on Thursday night with Siliga likely to miss the game.

 OL Dan Connolly: Veteran looks to be on the roster bubble, but he’s getting a lot of work at center and guard, and his versatility could save him.

Three down

 Williams and Siliga: Can’t make the club in the tub.

 QB Jimmy Garoppolo: He barely got any reps on Tuesday (took him 2½ hours just to get on the field), and his very first pass attempt was intercepted.

 Thomas: Rookie sixth-round pick may be losing his grip on a roster spot with his extended absence. Tavon Wilson is taking advantage of his opportunity.

Gronk watch

Gronkowski did not make the trip to Virginia and is rehabbing in Foxborough.

Odds and ends

 Redskins coach Jay Gruden said his starters will play about 8-10 snaps Thursday night. It’s going to be Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Mallett, and Garoppolo at quarterback. Don’t expect Redskins receivers DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon to play.

 Mallett was asked if he had heard Mike Mayock’s comment calling him a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, and he said, “I’ve always felt that way.”

 With 15 players injured or not cleared for contact, the Patriots should have about 75 players available for Thursday’s game.

Upcoming schedule

Thursday: Preseason game No. 1 at Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Friday: Off day.

Saturday-Monday: TBA.

Tuesday: Joint practice with Eagles at Gillette Stadium, 2 p.m.

Next Wednesday: Joint practice with Eagles at Gillette Stadium, 2 p.m.

Next Thursday: TBA.

Next Friday: Preseason game No. 2 vs. Eagles at Gillette Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

Ben Volin

Ben Volin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin.