With one of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium's parking lots now serving as a farmer's market, Washington football fans will get a little encouragement from the announcement that the first National Football League training camp will begin on July 11.
The San Diego Chargers' rookies will report July 11. The Green Bay Packers follow the next day, the Redkins on July 19 and the Minnesota Vikings last, on July 31. The Baltimore Colts will have the Redskins over for their first exhibition game, on Saturday, Aug. 9.
The camps provide the first laboratory tests of the clubs' expertise in the draft. Detroit will begin to see what all-America running back Billy Sims of Oklahoma can do about reversing their 2-14 record.
Heisman Trophy winner Charles (Too Small, Too Slow) White of Southern California and now the Clev eland Browns will try to make the 26 other clubs who passed him over in the first round eat those adjectives.
The Rams will celebrate their attainment of National Conference-champion status with a move to Anaheim, from Los Angeles, where they felt they were not appreciated.
Expecting to be relocated in Los Angeles by the 1981 season, the Raiders will be "lame-ducking" in Oakland with Dan Pastorini their new No. 1 quarterback and all-America Marc Wilson of Brigham Young his chief challenger.
Houston, again threatening to be the only menace to the Pittsburgh Steelers, will have new help for Earl Campbell with Ken Stabler at quarterback after a straight-up swap for Pastorini. Jack (Assassin) Tatum will bring from Oakland additional respect for the Oilers' seconday.
Like it or not, Don Shula will be referred to as a lame-duck coach, after much talk about where he will be after his contract runs out this season at Miami. It is shaping up as the last year as starters for Bob Griese and Larry Czonka.
This is the season NFC Central Division winner Tampa Bay has to play a first-place team's schedule, instead of a fifth-place team's.
At Baltimore, Mike McCormack is getting a rare chance to be a head coach for a second time, after failing in Philadelphia. His first decision will be whether to use Curtis Dickey, the blazer from Texas A&M, as a running back or wide receiver. Of more concern will be the health of Bert Jones' throwing arm.
The problem in Pittsburgh: how to motivate a team that could win its fifth Super Bowl in seven seasons. Yet, with Terry Bradshaw, Cliff Stoudt, and Mike Kruczek at quarterback, the Steelers were so well manned at other positions that they drafted another quarterback, Mark Malone of Arizona State, because "he was such a good all-around athlete."
The Jets have won the New York media attention from the Giants with two transactions.
They traded reserve quarterback Matt Robinson to Denver for a No. 1 and a No. 2 draft choice and reserve quarterback Craig Penrose.
Then, after giving an implicit vote of confidence to Richard Todd as their starter, used Denver's No. 1 pick to select wide receiver Johnny (Lam) Jones of Texas to go with veteran receiver Wesley Walker. On top of that, the Jets used Denver's No. 2 pick to grab wide receiver Ralph Clayton of Michigan, who rated behind only Jones.
New England continued its slick personnel moves by trading a No. 3 draft choice Chuck Foreman of Minnesota and drafted running back Vagas Ferguson of Notre Dame.
Dallas has to prove it can win big with Danny White, since Roger Stauback retired, and the Cowboys are setting about trying to keep opponents' scores down by attempting to lure Ed (Too Tall) Jones back to defensive end from a failure as a heavyweight boxer.
Because of its no-frills offense, reflecting Coach Dick Vermell's conservatism, Philadelphia does not show the vast improvement other teams are attributing to the Eagles. They picked up running back Perry Harrington of Jackson State in the draft.
The Redskins think they have added "big-play" potential for Joe Theismann in wide receiver Art Monk of Syracuse.
St. Louis has a new head coach in Jim Hanifin. The Cardinals drafted a quality defensive end in Curtis Greer of Texas A&M and a tight end who, they hope, can replace the late J. V. Cain, Doug Marsh of Michigan.
Cincinnati has a new head coach, Forrest Gregg, getting a second chance after failing at Cleveland. The former Green Bay offensive lineman spent his No. 1 draft choice on 290-pound offensive lineman Anthony Munoz of Southern California.
Green Bay lost its No. 1 pick, dfensive end Bruce Clark of Penn State, to Toronto of the Canadian Football League, and Packer Coach Bart Starr is facing a crisis year that might provide unemployed George Allen with his last chance at trying to turn a team around.