Five Questions the Washington Redskins Must Answer During Training Camp
Five Questions the Washington Redskins Need to Answer During Training Camp
The Washington Redskins took a dramatic step in the right direction in 2012, finishing 10-6 and winning the NFC East for the first time since 1999.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III grabbed plenty of attention for his play last season, and rightfully so, but running back Alfred Morris also had a nice rookie season with 1,613 rushing yards (second in the league) and 13 touchdowns.
Griffin and Morris spearheaded the league’s best rushing attack (169.3 yards per game) last season, and Washington also finished fifth in total offense (383.2 yards per game) and fourth in scoring offense (27.2 points per game). But there were some issues defensively, as the Redskins finished 30th in the NFL in pass defense (281.9 yards per game) and had 32 sacks (tied for 23rd in the league). Injuries thinned Washington’s depth at safety, and linebacker Brian Orakpo (pectoral) played just two games after registering at least 8.5 sacks in each of the previous three seasons.
The trade in 2012 with the St. Louis Rams that allowed them to move up and select Griffin thinned Washington’s draft class this year, but they did add three players (David Amerson, Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo) that could bring immediate help to a secondary that needs an infusion of youth and upside. Other than that, the rest of the team’s rookie class looks unlikely to make an immediate impact in 2013.
With training camp just over a month away, here are five questions the Redskins must answer during that time if they hope to replicate their success from last season.
5. Can Three Rookies Help the Secondary Immediately?
Amerson, Thomas and Rambo are unlikely to start immediately, but all three could move into significant roles fairly quickly. Amerson could become a primary option behind projected starting cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson, and Thomas could push Reed Doughty for time at free safety. Rambo looks likely to be behind Brandon Meriweather at strong safety, but the veteran has some questions about his health after playing just one game last season. In any case, a youth movement has started in Washington’ secondary.
3. Is Brandon Meriweather Healthy and Ready To Go?
Meriweather did not play until November last season due to a right knee issue, then he tore the ACL in that same knee in the only game he played. He is expected to be ready for training camp, and the Redskins’ secondary needs him to recapture his past production (12 interceptions from 2008-2010 with the New England Patriots) and provide another veteran presence.
3. How Healthy is Pierre Garcon?
Garcon was Washington’s big free agent signing prior to last season, but he was hampered by a torn ligament in his right foot for most of the season and missed six games. He then suffered a shoulder injury during the team’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and had surgery to fix that issue during the offseason. Garcon may be the second-most closely watched player at Redskins’ training camp, especially since he opted not to have surgery on his troublesome foot.
2. Can Someone Step Up As A Go-To Guy in the Passing Game?
Garcon’s salary makes him the easy candidate to be the Redskins’ No. 1 option in the passing game, but Josh Morgan actually led the team with 48 receptions last season. Veteran wide receiver Santana Moss, who led the team with eight touchdown receptions in 2012, and tight end Fred Davis are two potential candidates to be a go-to guy for whoever is under center for Washington. But after that, the team’s group of pass catchers is not impressive.
1. Will Robert Griffin III Be Ready For Week 1?
Every move Griffin makes during training camp will be heavily scrutinized as he works his way back from a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee, but all indications are he is making excellent progress. The team will surely take it easy with their star quarterback once training camp gets going, and Kirk Cousins proved capable of holding down the fort when he played last season. No one may know how healthy Griffin truly is until he takes the field, or doesn't take the field, for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.