The Redskins start training camp on Thursday. We’re going around the team to let you know what we’re looking for when practice gets underway. Earlier today we looked at the offensive line, now the offensive backs and receivers are up.
QB Robert Griffin III
RB Tim Hightower
FB Darrel Young
WR Pierre Garçon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson
TE Fred Davis
In the span of a few hours, one of the Redskins’ soft spots – wide receiver – became one of their strengths. The team acted swiftly on the opening day of free agency, nabbing Garçon and Morgan, who received a combined $28 million in guaranteed money. Although critics will point out that the team still lacks a true No. 1, the Redskins seem to be hoping that a pair of No. 2’s will suffice. Griffin’s third option figures to be Hankerson, a promising second-year receiver who says he’s fully recovered from offseason hip surgery, while Santana Moss should add depth and veteran leadership.
RB Roy Helu Jr.
WR Santana Moss
TE Chris Cooley
While Garçon, Morgan and Hankerson may appear set to start, it would be premature to count out Moss, who is coming off his worst season (46 receptions and 584 yards in 12 games) since 2002. During the offseason, the 33 year old showed the coaching staff he still is hungry for more by shedding 15 pounds and standing out in OTA’s and minicamp as Morgan and Hankerson nursed injuries.
On the bubble:
WR Brandon Banks
WR Anthony Armstrong
No position figures to be as competitive in camp as wide receiver, where 12 players are battling for six spots. Banks has been told by Coach Mike Shanahan that he must contribute at wide receiver and kick and punt returner, while Armstrong must rebound from a lost year. A deep threat with speed to spare, Armstrong’s inability to beat bump-and-run coverage led to a dramatic reduction in his role last season (7 catches for 103 yards), down from 44 receptions for 871 yards in 2010.
Three things to watch:
All RG3, all the time
Griffin has navigated the first few months of his newfound fame and fortune flawlessly. But how will RG3 cope when each pass is dissected on sports talk radio, each comment parsed in the newspapers? With all apologies to the President, playing quarterback for the Redskins might be the toughest job in Washington.
‘Captain Chaos’ set for a comeback?
Chris Cooley says the problematic left knee that cut short his season a year ago is completely healthy. But the 30-year-old fan favorite costs $6.23 million against the salary cap and will face stiff competition from converted wide receiver Niles Paul for playing time behind starter Fred Davis. To beat out Paul, Cooley must prove that he’s regained his (modest) speed and is the better blocker.
Who will emerge from the trio of running backs?
Tim Hightower, a Shanahan favorite, enters training camp atop the depth chart. But the versatile 26-year-old is coming off major knee surgery, raising questions about his ability to elude defenders. If Hightower falters, look Shanahan to give Helu (three consecutive 100-plus yard performances last season) and/or Royster (two 100-yard efforts) the opportunity to step forward.