By Mark Pierce
As teams put to bed the last of the pre-season mini camps, as equipment is put away and the next phase of team preparation begins, a period on the football calendar will arise lasting five to six weeks. During this month and a half interval, almost nothing will happen to your team. Players are off. They are advised by teams to stay out of the media, and given instructions of what to practice.
For football writers and fans alike, it’s a kind of purgatory. A middle world like an abandoned summer camp, a shadowy realm of missed tackles and lost opportunities for some, where every second between mini camp and training camp is laden with the power to induce a disagreeable torpor. Like oppressive humidity on the fourth of July, it’s times like these that make even the 2012 edition of Jets West sound spellbinding.
Given these conditions, I will share with you now my personal estimation of the Washington Redskins performance thus far this pre-season. We have plenty of time to talk about it.
One take away from seeing RGIII perform in these conditions is that he is, after all, a rookie. He was up and down, as some predicted he would be. I think the almost universal consensus however, is that he is miles better at quarterback than anyone Washington has had on their roster in a very long time.
Coach Shanahan appears as if, after two seasons and some months, he has finally been able to pull the rather large stick out of his a**. I actually witnessed him smile at the event for Down’s syndrome kids. To me, Kyle looks as confused as ever. I don’t know. Bad camera angles? We’ll see. I have grown to respect the coach a lot, however. He is undoubtedly the chief architect of Washington’s turnaround.
Washington’s linebacking core continues to be a major strength. The secondary is a huge question mark at this point, although Chase Minnifield promises to be a great story. The Redskins desperately need to improve their turnover differential from last year’s mark, when they were 30th in the NFL at minus 14. We have to wait until training camp to really assess the offensive line. Likewise the appearance of any RGIII “chemistry” with a particular receiver.
The kicking game looks to be in excellent shape. The competition at tight end is hotly contested, and will remain an ongoing storyline in the preseason. There are a number of scenarios the team could pursue at the position, including attempting to trade Chris Cooley, who was held out of mini camp practice on Wednesday.
Running backs are a wait and see situation at this point. Griffin says he’ll talk to the coach every day. Not so sure about that one.