2013 Washington Redskins Training Camp: 5 Storylines to Follow
Washington Redskins 2013 Training Camp: 5 Storylines to Follow
The Washington Redskins’ achievements in the 2012 season, capped off by their first NFC East championship in over 13 years and a playoff berth, can be considered a Cinderella story. In 2011, they were 5-11. 2012 looked the same when they began 3-6, but they won their final seven regular season games. Their wins were led by two rookies; quarterback Robert Griffin III, who the team traded up to get, and running back Alfred Morris, who was a sixth-round selection. Griffin beat out Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts to win the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Meanwhile Morris finished with 1,613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 335 attempts — all team rookie records.
The Redskins’ offseason movement was smaller compared to other teams because they were still docked $18 million from their salary cap for the way they structured their roster’s contracts in 2010, when there was no salary cap. Fortunately, the team did manage to keep most of their 2012 roster intact. They do not have to worry about training camp battles. The Redskins have a great coach in Mike Shanahan, and two young weapons, so they have a great future. They drafted three defensive backs in 2013 to bolster their passing defense, which was ranked 30th last season because of injuries felt throughout the defensive side.
Once again, the Redskins will rely on their young corps to carry them to another division title and playoff seed. While Griffin’s health is on every one’s mind, there are other big training camp storylines too.
5. Battle for Kicker Starter
The incumbent is Kai Forbath, but the team also signed John Potter. Last season, Forbath was 17 for 18 and perfect on attempts beyond 39 yards. In Saturday's practice, both kickers were 6-7. Forbath appears to be the starter, as he was very efficient last year. The good thing is the team knows they have two clutch kickers when some teams do not even have one.
4. Who Will be the Starting Defensive Backs?
Last season's starters, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and strong safety Brandon Meriweather, are still dealing with injuries. It's possible the Redskins will begin preseason with three rookie defensive backs. They are David Amerson, Bacarri Rambo and Philip Thomas. Cornerback Amerson has earned praise from coaches during one-on-one drills with wide receivers. Last Thursday, the coaches loved how safety Thomas angled his body to limit Morris to a short gain on an outside run.
3. Trent Williams's Wrist Status
Left tackle Trent Williams has been practicing with the first unit even though he has a sprained left wrist. His left hand is completely covered with padding, leaving him with one hand to cover pass rushers. If his wrist does not improve, then it will be up to second-year Tom Compton to step up. However, Compton has been having an uneven camp. He has had difficulty adjusting to counter moves.
2. Do the Redskins have a Drug Problem?
Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson are the latest players on the team to be suspended for violating the league's drug policy. They both will be suspended the first four games of the season. It could either be substance abuse, recreational drugs or performance enhancing drugs that get players in trouble. Eight players have been suspended without pay for substance abuse since the 2011 season.
While the veterans hold the players responsible for the string of suspensions, part of the blame is attributed to the organization when they do not do a thorough background check on free agents. For example, safety Tanard Jackson is suspended indefinitely for violating the drug policy. He had been suspended twice last season for violating the substance abuse policy. Coach Shanahan says the team is addressing the issue, and noted that every situation is different and unrelated to another person's drug violation. The team will just plug somebody else in place of the suspended players.
1. Robert Griffin III's Knee Status
Lately, Griffin has been participating in 10 reps of 7-on-7 drills. He has been pretty sloppy as he recovers from knee surgery. Most of his completed passes were short routes. Coach Shanahan said he will take it slow with Griffin.
Right now, it appears that Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback for the entire preseason. Last year, Cousins had one start. He was 26-for-37 for 329 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Cleveland Browns. He had also helped the team beat the Baltimore Ravens when he subbed in for the injured Griffin. Those games provide evidence that Cousins has the capability to be a star quarterback.
The great thing about Cousins is that he has great class. He's acting as the leader of the team and they respect him. At the same time, he has no problems returning as the back up if Griffin is 100% healthy.