NFL Washington Redskins

Top 5 Stories Heading Into Training Camp for the Washington Redskins

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Top Five Stories Heading into Training Camp for the Washington Redskins

Braves on the Warpath
Geoff Burke-USA Today

Training Camp begins Friday in Richmond, Va. for the Washington Redskins. With the team coming off an NFC East Division Championship season in 2012, the expectations coming into 2013 are high.

And they should be.

Now, lofty expectations are nothing new in the Redskin-rabid city of Washington, D.C. and its surrounding areas. Still, what are lofty expectations that are reasonable? That would constitute something of a change for the Redskins of recent vintage. And the Burgundy and Gold enter the 2013 NFL season with the reasonable expectation of being a playoff contender, and potentially making a run come January.

Of course, I’ve argued that this change in the franchise is largely a by-product of the recent stability within the front office and coaching staff. For well over a decade, the team was a hallmark of instability, marked by a revolving door of coaches. The constantly changing of coaches meant constant change of schemes and philosophy. And while people would often argue the Redskins had “talent,” that talent was often misplaced amongst the ever-changing scheme and system.

Now, this does not mean everything is perfect. I have criticisms of head coach Mike Shanahan, which can be found on this site. I’d argue defensive coordinator Jim Hazlett’s play-calling is often too predictable. I’d also contend that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan often out thinks himself.

But these are small problems. The Redskins have greatly professionalized under Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen. And entering year four, coming off a division title in 2012, Redskins fans have good reason to be optimistic about the prospects for 2013.

Let’s take a look at the five most important stories entering Training Camp:

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#5 Head Coach Mike Shanahan's Future

Burgundy and Gold
Dave Richard-USA Today Sports

The notoriously ornery coach will do everything he can to squash speculation about his future. However, Shanahan is not signed beyong 2014, and there are rumblings that while the relationship between Shanahan and team owner Daniel Snyder isn't necessarily strained, the Honeymoon is over. Will these two high-driven, stubborn principals agree to extend Shanahan beyond 2014? Or does the coach go into next season a lame-duck?

Whatever the case, this a question that will come up with the typically very forward Washington media. And it will be interesting to see how Shanahan handles the questioning.

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#4 Help For Alfred Morris

Burgundy and Gold
David Shirley-USA Today Sports

The 2012 sixth-round draft pick set a Redskins rushing record during his rookie season. And while Morris is unquestionably the team's workhorse, someone needs to emerge as a reliable option to lighten Morris' load.

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#3 Another Receiving Threat

Hail to the Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

Pierre Garcon is clearly the team's No. 1 receiver. While Santana Moss played well late last season, the Redskins need a younger receiver such as Leonard Hankerson or Josh Morgan to emerge as a consistent No. 2 threat.

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#2 The Secondary

Burgundy and Gold
Tim Heitman-USA Today Sports

There are statistics that illustrate this, but let's just acknowledge the secondary wasn't good in 2012, and leave it at that. Whether the unit's issues were attributable to personnel, injury, a struggling pass rush or a combination of the three, we'll likely found out in 2013. The unit returns largely intact, and is hoping for better health in 2013, particularly from safety Brandon Meriweather and linebacker Brian Orakpo.

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#1 Robert Griffin III

Hail to the Redskins
Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

Was there really any doubt? Yes, Griffin entering his second year has emerged as the face of the franchise. His injury in last year's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks dominated headlines this offseason, and his continued recovery will undoubtedly dominate headlines during the preseason.