Thursday, July 26, 2012

Redskins Training Camp Storylines

Robert Griffin III, 10, leads the Redskins into Training Camp today. (Photo:
As Redskins Training Camp gets underway at Redskins Park today, there are few things that you should keep in mind....

Roster Battles
There really is only a few positions on this team that already have their regular season starters in place. Those being defensive end, middle linebacker, and quarterback. The rest of the roster is completely up for grabs.

On offense, everything but the quarterback should be listed as a position battle. It seems, and I don't  know why, that Roy Helu Jr. needs to prove himself all over again and Tim Hightower needs to show that can still play at high level following season ending knee surgery. With the emergence of guys like Willie Smith and Josh LeRibeus, there is a lot of promise on the offensive line and some surprising players could be left on the outside looking in. Chris Cooley and Fred Davis will be battling all season long for the starting tight end spot. All signs point to Davis, but Cooley has been electric in the past and he is certainly someone to keep an eye on. With the offseason signings of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, the receiving corp looks as lethal as ever. Leonard Hankerson, one of the Redskins leading receivers last season, has some injury concerns so it will be interesting to see how he stacks up against the rest.

The edges of the defensive line seem pretty set. With Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo playing defensive end, they'll look to improve to becoming the best tandem in the league. Barry Cofield had good season last year with the Redskins and will look to build off that this preseason. London Fletcher will be leading the linebacker corp in the middle, but the edges are wide open. New comers like Keenan Robinson will be looking to take advantage. Perry Riley could also be a name that steps up and finally asserts himself as one of the Redskins top linebackers. The Redskins secondary is a complete mess. DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Kevin Barnes, and Cedric Griffin will all be fighting for the top cornerback spots and Reed Doughty, Madieu Williams, and Brandon Meriweather will all be fighting for the two safety spots. Rookie Jordan Bernstine could be a name that jumps up and surprises everyone at safety.

Time To Put The Pads On!!
An aspect of football that many forget is that there is a big difference between drills and putting the pads on and playing real live football. Forget what we saw at minicamp. OTA's don't matter anymore. There were no pads and live hitting during those events. Training camp is when we find out what these players are all about. Anybody, including me (don't laugh), can look good in drills. It's a whole new ball game,'s a REAL ball game, once the pads are put on and everyone begins to play real football at 100 miles per hour. Keep that in mind when your watching practice at Redskins Park. Make a note of who stands out in drills and see if they can translate that into success when the team comes together for the end of practice scrimmages.

Stay Positive, Limit Mistakes
It's Training Camp. Mistakes will be made. Fans, analysts, players, and coaches need to stay positive and remember that mistakes are made to be learned from. Where there's a mistake, there's a teaching moment and a moment for one guy to shine. If he continues to make the same mistake, he's not coachable and possibly not even reliable. If he learns from his mistake, he just might catch the coaches eye and may get another big opportunity to perform. Making a mistake is one thing, learning and improving from is what separates the players from the bench warmers. Keep a positive outlook when mistakes are made early. Once we get later into Training Camp, mistakes should be limited to few or none at all. If guys are still making the same mistakes, that means more than you think. That player may not be as good as you think they are.

Did you honestly think I would write this whole "Preseason Preview" post and not even mention his name? The success of this entire season hangs on whether this kid can play or not. Notice I have never once called him the savior of the franchise or the real deal. Why? Because I don't know. Nobody knows. If they do...they have a special gift and need a TV show. Like I said earlier, nobody cares about drills. It's all about what happens when the pads are put on. I'm excited about seeing what the new guy can do. He has a lot of great attributes for a winning quarterback. Now, he needs to show those attributes on the field. The Redskins run a complex offense. His patience, athleticism, and football IQ will all be tested within the first couple weeks of camp. He'll need to find his rhythm early if he wants to maximise his success.

These are just a few things I want you to keep in mind while you're following Redskins Training Camp 2012. The Redskins did some positive things this offseason. Hopefully, that translates into positive results on the field. All I know is...


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