While Redskins Park has been depicted of late as the land of sunshine and smiles, there are a few ominous clouds on the horizon, if one chooses to observe them. Two groups of players, the offensive line and defensive secondary, have major question marks filling roster slots at this point in the season.
Certainly both groups of players are in potentially improved situations, in comparison with the pre-Shanahan lineups in these same areas, however it remains to be seen if players currently on the roster will develop in key situations as the coach wants them to. Until training camp takes place, it will be difficult to assess either group, as we have yet to witness the top of the depth chart play together as a unit in either area.
The coach loves to remind us that the guys who are playing actual downs when they count are doing so because they have won the competition to play those downs. Everybody competes, right? Well, some not so much.
But along the offensive line, we have obvious interest in seeing whether RT Jammal Brown’s off-season of yoga and pilates have genuinely helped his ailing hip, as well as whether or not Kory Lichtensteiger can return to form following last year’s season ending ACL injury. Based on what I have seen from Trent Williams in the media following last year’s embarrassments, we can be optimistic that he is making every effort to put his troubles in the past, and will be concentrating full time on becoming the force he is capable of becoming. Josh LeRibeus promises to become an interesting story at center.
The Redskins have certainly made an effort to acquire a lot of new players in the defensive secondary, both through late round draft picks and free agency, but we simply don’t know yet whether defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can scheme the available talent into a productive unit. Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall are the starting two corners, and Wilson has been solid since coming here from Baltimore. Hall gives the team a valid interception threat, but Hall primarily gets these by jumping routes, which is an obvious risk.
We will see if Brandon Merriweather can flourish under Haslett and Raheem Morris. Likewise with Cedric Griffin. Can any of the new late round draft picks survive? What about last year’s guys? Training camp seems like a long way away.