Observations

1 Second-year tackle Willie Smith hasn't taken that so-called next step after starting three games as a rookie. Keep in mind that Smith was forced into action because of a suspension (Trent Williams) and ineptness (Sean Locklear). Smith was OK at times but clearly needed a lot of work. That's still evident. And Monday provided more examples. He struggled with starting linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on one inside penetration. He also had big issues facing reserve linebacker Chris Wilson, who is no roster lock, on consecutive plays. Wilson got into his pads and stood him up one play. On the next, he engaged Smith and shed him when the tackle was bent over too much at the waist. Smith is not a legitimate option to start.

2 London Fletcher had a veteran's day off, but that didn't stop him from working. Usually when a player is given the practice off, he will go through individual drills but sit out the team portion. Fletcher did sit out, but unlike others who get the day off he continued to work. When the special teams had center stage, Fletcher went with assistant strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart to a side field and did agility work, among other things. He also worked on catching passes. This explains his longevity.

3 Tight end Fred Davis continues to say he has improved as a blocker. Perhaps he has. But Davis still has a ways to go before he's a consistent one. That was evident vs. Buffalo and again Monday when he allowed Kerrigan (who has looked sharp in camp) to get under his pads and drive him back. Davis doesn't aggressively pursue his blocks a la Niles Paul or Logan Paulsen.

4 Robert Griffin III is still adapting to throwing on the run. It's something he was good at in college, but he has been inconsistent with it during practices. More often than not he needs to be a tiny bit more patient to gain extra precision. He tried to gun one in to Davis on a bootleg to the left Monday, and the ball sailed over Davis' head.

Notes

» Left tackle Trent Williams was limited in practice Monday after suffering a bone bruise in his left foot vs. Buffalo. Williams participated in individual drills but did not take part in full-team work. Williams said he did some light running -- and cutting -- as well. "I'll wait to see how it feels in the morning," he said. "If everything feels all right, I'll do a little tomorrow. ... I'm taking it day by day. I feel a lot better."

» Right guard Chris Chester (ankle) also returned and was limited. He said he hopes to practice Tuesday. Left guard Maurice Hurt, who did not practice Saturday because of sore tendons in his knee, fully participated.

» Backup nose tackle Chris Neild injured his knee midway through practice and needed an MRI.

» The Redskins signed offensive lineman Chris Campbell, who spent parts of the past two seasons on Green Bay's practice squad. The Packers released Campbell in May; he has lost approximately 45 pounds since that time.

Player of note

RB Roy Helu

Helu missed practice Monday because of Achilles tendinitis, which is something he has had before, coach Mike Shanahan said. But this feeds into the perception that Helu is not durable enough to handle a full-time load at running back. He's the Redskins' fastest back, but even last season he showed he had a hard time handling all the carries for an extended time. It's why Evan Royster opened as the No. 1 back with Tim Hightower still sidelined.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com