The Washington Redskins should be back to work and opening training camp by the end of the month.
There will be jobs on the line, expectations to be met and questions to be answered. Who are some of the Redskins with the most to prove? Let’s take a look, starting with the offense.
Mike Shanahan –The coach was hired to restore the Redskins to their former glory, but Season 1 was a disaster, and there are few early indications that significant strides will be made this year. If Shanahan truly is going to ship off Donovan McNabb and go with John Beck – as all indications suggest – it sure better work. The offense must execute consistently and with balance. The Redskins must show improvement this season, or else, Dan Snyder’s patience may start wearing thin.
John Beck – This offseason, he’s been saying and doing all the right things, and now Beck’s shot to show that he can be an effective NFL quarterback is approaching. Can he make decision quickly? Can he be a leader? Is he tough enough?
Ryan Torain – The third-year running back certainly is skilled enough to be a workhorse, but can he stay healthy? The Redskins drafted two backs, and Shanahan is high on both. If Torain can’t stay on the field, Washington will have to move on.
Malcolm Kelly – Will this be the year that the oft-injured receiver finally breaks out? Of all the players on offense, Kelly needs to have a good camp. Last season, despite getting hurt just before camp and never recovering, Kelly – thanks largely to his size -- was fortunate to be put on IR rather than get cut. But this year, Washington drafted two other receivers with size (Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul). If Kelly gets slowed up by another training camp injury, it could be the end of the road for him.
Brandon Banks – The second-year wideout quickly became a fan favorite last season, but wasn’t as effective in the second half of the year after undergoing knee surgery. Banks this season has to show he has regained that blazing speed and can take a lick and contribute on more than just special teams. Paul has great speed as well, and in addition to being bigger and stronger than Banks, he could be a more versatile option.
Casey Rabach – Coaches value his leadership, but Rabach’s performance seemed to be slipping last season. The soon-to-be 34-year-old is coming off of shoulder surgery, and on the roster are two younger players – Kory Lichtensteiger and Will Montgomery -- capable of challenging him for his job.
Trent Williams – The team’s first-round pick from last season had an up and down rookie campaign. He showed flashes, but has yet to prove he can be the legitimate cornerstone to Washington’s line that he needs to be. Questions have been raised about his work ethic and commitment.
Up next, the defense.