Redskins near evaluation phase of training camp - The Daily Progress: News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Redskins near evaluation phase of training camp

Position by position breakdowns reveal O-line competition

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Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:23 am

After that, the process shifts from learning to evaluating, first in joint practices with the New England Patriots, then in the team’s four preseason games.

As the clock ticks closer to cut day, we look at who has impressed and who has work to do…

PASSING: Robert Griffin III is closer to his 2012 form than he was at any point last year. He’s quick on his feet and has made the right calls when deciding whether to run.

His chemistry with DeSean Jackson remains a work in progress, though, particularly on long passes. At the start of the week, Griffin wasn’t leading Jackson enough, giving cornerbacks enough time to catch up to Jackson and bat the passes down.

While Griffin and Jackson work out the kinks, Andre Roberts is proving worthy of a major role in the offense this season. Pierre Garcon has been mostly silent in camp, although that likely is a reflection of the plays being practiced and not his standing on the depth chart.

The last spots at wide receiver will be interesting. There have been standout performances from a number of unheralded players, including Lee Doss and Rashad Lawrence.

BYU’s Cody Hoffman has emerged as a fan favorite, thanks in part to his 6-foot-3 height, but he’s a long shot to make the roster now.

How many receivers are taken may depend on whether Gruden keeps Colt McCoy as a third quarterback. McCoy has been underwhelming, but is viewed as a project by the coaching staff.

RUSHING: Alfred Morris hasn’t lost his edge, and will remain one of the league’s top backs in 2014.

The competition will take place for the final spots, with Roy Helu Jr., Silas Redd, Chris Thompson, Evan Royster and Lache Seastrunk all getting reps.

Seastrunk was never asked to catch passes at Baylor, but maintained he has the ability. He’s dropped two so far at training camp — not a big deal for any other back, but the coaches were quick to get on him.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Early competition provided little separation between the starters and the backups, which will make the final cuts tough.

The Redskins have a surplus of capable players, but a lack of standouts. Shawn Lauvao and Mike McGlynn, both free agent pickups, have made the picture even fuzzier.

Whichever five players the Redskins select to start the season will have only a tentative hold on their jobs, with the exception of left tackle Trent Williams and center Kory Lichtensteiger.

DEFENSIVE LINE: The biggest questions here revolve around injuries. Jason Hatcher has yet to make his training camp debut. When he was asked on Sunday, he said he expected to be cleared any day.

Stephen Bowen, who is recovering from knee surgery, also hasn’t participated in camp. While Hatcher expects to be ready for opening day, it’s less clear if Bowen will be able to play in Houston.

LINEBACKERS: There is uncertainty around Perry Riley Jr. and Keenan Robinson, but both have held their own so far in training camp.

They’ll benefit from having safety Ryan Clark, as he’s helped with the on-field communication.

Probably the biggest standout of training camp so far has been outside linebacker Trent Murphy, a second-round draft pick whose combination of speed, strength and preparedness has endeared him to coaches.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Clark and Brandon Meriweather have an edge in the scramble for the two starting safety spots, but 2013 draft pick Phillip Thomas may be playing too well to ignore.

The big concern with Meriweather is his reckless playing style. Gruden already has had a discussion with the safety, and told Meriweather that he’ll get a two-practice suspension for illegal hits during camp.

At cornerback, David Amerson has made big strides from his rookie season.

The secondary has the potential to be one of the team’s most improved units, especially if it gets help from the pass rush.

Several players have cited Clark’s leadership. He has the unit staying after every practice to catch additional passes off the JUGS machine, with the goal of increasing the number of interceptions this year.

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