Friday, December 12: What Wide Receivers Do In Practice

Yesterday, commenter Ax asked me what, precisely, the wide receivers actually do at practice. My initial inclination was to say that they run around a lot and occasionally catch passes, but it seemed like a needlessly glib, unhelpful response.

randleelwithkindereggSo I promised that I’d have one of the receivers take me through it today, and explain exactly what they do and what to look for when they’re practicing. I had assumed that this would have to wait until open locker room, or later today when the guys are trying to get out of the facility for their night off, but one nice thing about this job is that sometimes you get lucky.

Players walk by where I sit fairly often — they have to pass me to get to the PR and HR offices, two places they all need to visit occasionally — but they don’t always have the time or inclination to stop and chat. Today, though, the person Antwaan Randle El was hoping to see was out of the office (freeing up his time), and he was distracted by the tempting chocolate/hazelnut eggs in my desk-neighbor’s authentic German Kinder Überraschungsadvent calendar (leading him to stop and stay for a bit).

He kindly agreed to take some time and answer this pressing question, which I figured would prevent me from having to offer the dumb glib answer I had initially come up with.

So what, exactly, do you wide receivers do in practice?

“Run. Run, run, run. That’s all we do.” [So much for that hope.]

Run the passing tree? Run routes? Are you learning something new each week?

“We’re not learning something new, per se, or something that we haven’t done. Sometimes we might get a defense we haven’t gone against, and we run routes against it, or we account for something new that they might be doing. But for the most part, we just run. We run, we run, we run.”

You run in position groups, one-on-one drills….

“One-on-one drills, individuals … you run in seven-on-seven drills, we run when it’s a run play. We run. That’s all we do.”

What changes from week to week for you guys? Anything?

“In terms of running? No, we just run.”

What makes a good practice for you?

“Get lined up where I’m supposed to be, know my assignment, be in the spot where I’m supposed to be, and then have a couple of balls come my way. Because if you get the throws in practice, typically you’re gonna get them in the game, unless the defense dictates otherwise.”

Okay, so what the offensive line is learning is the weekly scheme, not new blocking techniques, and–

“Right. They know how to block. It’s taking our scheme on how to block, and learning the assignment to block.”

Right. So what might you be looking for in a given week, as a receiver?

“Every week, we’re looking to see what the corners and safety do versus our formations. If we’re in a three-wide set, if we’re in a three-wide set with a tight end and one back, four-wide with one back, or if we’re in an empty backfield. You have to make sure you can see what they’re doing, because they do different coverages.

“You might get two-high, you might get single-high, you may get cover 8 — that’s four DBs flat across — or you might get man-to-man single-high, but typically teams don’t do that because it’s so vulnerable, they get beat.”

So what position has the toughest time in practice each week, then?

“Gotta be the quarterback, just because it’s so much to know….”

You say that like it would be a bad thing, but you miss it.

“Oh, I love it. I’ll take it. Give it to me, I’ll take it, I’ll run with it.”

So do you run the passing tree at all?

“We don’t run the passing tree, exactly. We run certain plays that we haven’t run in a couple weeks, so we’ll work on those routes because we’re going to be running them in teams — when we all come together and practice as a full team.”

Fair enough. Thanks — I know this talk about practice can be pretty dry.

“Practice has been pretty wet the last couple days, though.”

Very true.


13 Responses

  1. Hey Matt Love the Blog. I have a ? I was wondering how come nobody ever tries to block FG Attempts I see this evry week people just standing back when they hike the ball I dont get it. A couple of weeks ago the other team lined up for a extra point and the snap was botched and they still got the kick off. Maybe its just me cause I hear nobody else talking about it what s the deal with that maybe U can Find out. Thanks and HAIL

  2. How has J Camp and the pass protection looked in practice this week?

  3. Zorn brought it up after the Giants game. He said it was just a bad play and a missed opportunity. Its not any sort of strategy, its just complacency. It gets overlooked by the other problems we have, but Special Teams has been atrocious all season.

    Great post tho Matt, ARE is a character.

  4. I would love to see some coverage of loose ball drills. Get the players thoughts on those and what not, just something I have always been interested in. HAIL

  5. “Run. Run, run, run. That’s all we do.”

    Well that explains all of the bad routes and dropped passes then. ARE and Tana are making the Cobra look like Art Monk at times. Maybe letting the Smurfs catch some balls would yield better results. The way we are going we the term ‘Receiver’ won’t make any sense more.

  6. Matt,

    17=mvp has the right idea. I am really interested in how the line looks. It would be great to see some Hogg like play from the for the rest of the season.

  7. Man our pass protection has been so bad. I would like to some some improvement and Jason get some time.

    I sure hope we get this line fixed in the offseason.

  8. Matt,
    Why don’t you have the redskins insider blog link on the side of your page? did larry tell you not to? regardless of what you think of the guy he gives his own perspective and bashes us no more than the sportsbog does.

    I’m just sayin, you have some links on there that haven’t been updated in a year and a half. shouldn’t this stupid rivalry end?

  9. Chris C: Obviously you havent been wathcing our games. You can give JC as much time as you would like and trust me he wont do nothing with it, the TERMS THROW AWAY THE BALL doesnt exsist in his football terms, in the past week it has been THROW THE BALL AND LET THE D GET THE INTS pitty I dont want to here nothing about JC due to the fact that he has been a big choke this past weeks was last year is this year will be always players like him belong in arena football where no1 can blitz him or rush him!

    Oh btw even if they do give this guy some time he fails to improve

  10. Matt. Thanks for the info. I’m going to guess that ARE’s comments are rather generic so as not to give away the playbook.
    Watching both the ‘Skins and our own Hawaii team this year has been an exercise in fan patience for me after watching the run and shoot last year. Our 4 wides (imagine 4 wides looking like Horton on offense) would run their routes while our QB made split-second choices based on the defensive responses. It was the most exciting football I have ever seen in my life.

    Someday, I hope to see the Redskins executing the WCO in full stride. That will be exciting and bring in the W’s.



  12. Losalio: I have to be everyone here is still acting like o yeah we will be fine we will be fine uh idk what they mean by that but to me winning 1 of the last 5 is the most pathetic display of football I have seen this franchise go thru, yes we have had worst but with a Offense with the potential weapons they have still nothing is done with it to win! Our Defense has been dominant real dominant especially our CBs they have had 5ints ever since D.Hall has been here! I LOVE MY SKINS I REALLY DO but man have they been letting me down badly lately! I am not saying like most these guys are put Colt in put Colt in! NO its not like that and I hate our QB more than anything he is not and actually will never be an Elite QB in this league if we put someone else in you put our backup in! Leave the kid for next year and lets see the potential!

    MY POINT: is that so many fans on here who think that are QB is it we needa stay behind and support him got 2 words for you YEAH OK please once he gains some talent then maybe then i will support him and for those who want Colt not yet my fellow Fans not yet!

  13. i know what they do. they run about three steps and stop. then one step and stop. maybe two steps and stop. Coach goes what the hell are you guys doing? moss replies well coach by the third step campbell has either been sacked or dumped it to sellers so i stop my pattern.

    ha ha ha

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