Washington Redskins Training Camp 2013: Top Battles to Watch
Mark July 25, 2013 on your calendars, because it’s the start of training camp for the Washington Redskins. All eyes will definitely be on the status of Robert Griffin III coming from his torn ACL, but the real spectacle to watch are the positional battles. Whether RG3 is ready to play or not is frankly out of your control, but the key to the Redskins having a successful season is to mold a great team to take care of business regardless of his status. That’s why I’ve identified five positional battles that hold the key to a successful season for the Reds in 2013. And with that said, let’s start with the battles at wide receiver.
Pierre Garcon will remain unchallenged as the Redskins go to receiver in 2013, but every receiver behind him on the depth chart need to show significant development during camp this season. That means Leonard Hankerson needs to beat out Josh Morgan for his job. Hankerson flashed many times in 2013 as a deep threat to compliment Garcon, but consistency is the name of the game for him going forward. And while Josh Morgan squeezing some of his remaining talent to stay on top of the depth chart still benefits the Redskins. Morgan nevertheless doesn’t have the raw explosive upside that Hankerson could provide, and Hankerson winning the job will be a sign of significant development for the entire offense.
The same goes for the battle between Santana Moss and Aldrick Robinson. Keeping a savvy veteran to find the open spots in the zone is nice, but the development of the younger players is how dynasties are made. Robinson like Hankerson flashed big play ability in 2012, but was hampered with injuries through the season. The good news is Robinson has so far had a great session of OTAs. Staying healthy is all Robinson needs to accomplish during training camp and if he does will spell trouble for Santana Moss on the depth chart.
Shifting gears to the defensive side of the ball are the secondary battles. At cornerback, DeAngelo Hall will continue to be the lackluster starter, but rookie David Amerson must challenge him by the end of the summer. What Amerson lacks in Hall’s speed, he more than makes up for with his size and god given football instincts. E.J. Biggers is a veteran presence to keep Amerson at bay, but Amerson needs to at least win the third spot on the depth chart this summer to feel happy about the direction of this secondary. However, it’s not just the cornerback spot that needs some competition.
It’s the safety spots as well. Brandon Meriweather continues to wear out his welcome, but another rookie in Bacarri Rambo has the talent to take his spot after training camp. Despite the marijuana usage, Rambo was a solid safety in the SEC. He recorded 73 tackles, 1 sack, 3 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions in 2012, and he earned Second-team All-SEC as a result. Key factors to his game are his willingness to hit people and make plays in the process. But for Rambo to win the job from Meriweather will come from how well he does in pass coverage. I believe Rambo is better than Meriweather in that facet of his game, and Rambo winning the starting job will be another step to shoring up one of the worst secondaries in the NFL this season.
Then lastly is the wild card positional battle at free safety. Reed Doughty has locked down the free safety spot for the past four seasons, but it’s time for rookie Phillip Thomas to start to make strides to take his job. The only reason is Doughty has been a solid safety, but he isn’t the playmaker you want out of the free safety spot. That’s where Thomas comes in, because he led the nation in interceptions in 2012 and is an all-around ball hawk. Discipline will be crucial for Thomas in training camp and hopefully he brings some this July.
Positional battles in training camp are always bittersweet, but the positional battles mentioned today are clear weaknesses on the Redskins roster. The wide receiver depth and secondary depth has a chance to really gel this summer to improve upon the 10-6 record in 2012, but not improving can drag the team down. However, the talent coming back and coming in is substantial to make some big steps forward in 2013. RG3 will always be a concern to derail this team in 2013, but the talent is there to make a team worthy to survive in his absence. That’s what I want to see during this training camp, but I want to hear from you.
What positions do you want to see improvement from in 2013?
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James Cobern is a NFC East Division Leader for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or follow him on Twitter @Jmcobern1