The Washington Redskins get back to work today after receiving a day of rest from Coach Mike Shanahan. This six-day stretch will mark the team’s longest of training camp. Story lines are beginning to take shape on both sides of the ball. Here are five things to look for this week:
1) Progress of Robert Griffin III — The rookie quarterback looked rather shaky on his first day of camp, but has improved his timing and accuracy as practices have continued. Kyle Shanahan hasn’t called a lot of deep passes for Griffin during the 11-on-11 portions of camp so far. Instead, Griffin has worked on his short-to-intermediate throwing game. Today Griffin speaks to the media for the first time since practices began.
2) Jammal Brown’s status — The team’s projected starting right tackle remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and is scheduled to have an MRI on his problematic left hip on Tuesday in New York. Brown wanted to work with his own doctor rather than the team doctors but has had to wait because the physician was out of town. Shanahan sounded a little bothered by the slow pace of things, but said the Redskins have no choice but to wait.
3) Free safety competition — Brandon Meriweather is the favorite at strong safety but free safety has yet to be determined. Madieu Williams has worked primarily with the starters, but things won’t really get cooking until Tanard Jackson returns from the calf injury that caused him to open camp on the PUP list. Jackson is also behind because of a shoulder injury that limited him in OTAs. But he remains a serious option and hopes to practice today. Meriweather also said on Saturday that second-year pro DeJon Gomes should not be overlooked. “That kid plays hard and is real smart,’’ the veteran said.
4) Running back race — Tim Hightower probably would be the guy, but he’s not yet completely recovered from a torn ACL. Evan Royster and Roy Helu continue to alternate carries as the lead back. Shanahan said the competition remains wide open. He would rather have one workhorse back and use the others to spell him. Shanahan is trying to find out if either second-year back can be that guy.
5) Wide receiver spots — This was already a deep position, but the addition of Dezmon Briscoe makes things even more interesting. It’s unlikely that the Redskins carry seven wideouts and a returns specialist as they did last year. That’s why Shanahan said Brandon Banks had to show he could contribute as a receiver. Banks has looked good. Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson have all had solid starts to camp. That leaves some familiar faces and the intriguing but baggage-laden newcomer to battle. It’s still very early, though. Versatility will be a big factor.