The countdown to training camp is officially on after the Washington Redskins wrapped up their last session of organized team activities Wednesday to complete their formal summer workouts. Players have six weeks off before camp begins in Richmond on July 25.
The summer sessions answered some questions and created others. Here are a few takeaways from OTAs and mandatory minicamp.
Dwayne Haskins could start the season opener.
The No. 15 pick is physically ready. There’s no question about that. Haskins stepped onto the field at Redskins Park as the most physically blessed quarterback on the roster. The 6-foot-3, 231-pounder showed off the big arm that scouts raved about leading into the draft and seemed more mobile than expected coming out of Ohio State. He performed well early in OTAs but showed more rookie inconsistencies when most of the roster arrived for mandatory minicamp.
Haskins’s path to an eventual starting spot ultimately will come down to the mental side of his transition to professional football, whether he can handle calling plays in the huddle, making reads, knowing pass protections, calling audibles. Coach Jay Gruden will have to decide what he values more — the more experienced decision-making from veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy or the physical upside of Haskins, who plans to spend most of the next six weeks studying in Ashburn with a short visit to Paris for a Jordan Brand event.
“Train, train, train,” Haskins said about the next six weeks. “I don’t really worry about starting Week 1. I just want to be ready to play Week 1.”
The offense needs Trent Williams.
The absence of the seven-time Pro Bowl selection was the top story of mandatory minicamp. Williams skipped the session over frustrations with the team’s medical staff, and it’s unknown whether he will return for the start of training camp. His medical situation seems to be resolved, and while he posted on Instagram his view from a hospital room Thursday, it is believed that he was only there to undergo a cosmetic procedure stemming from the removal of the growth on his scalp that led to his displeasure with the training staff.
The one thing that was clear was the state of the offensive line without him. The unit struggled with recently signed Ereck Flowers — who struggled his first four seasons at tackle for the New York Giants and was signed to competed for the starting left guard position — at tackle and fourth-round pick Wes Martin at left guard.
The offensive line has a chance to be one of the team’s strengths if Williams is at left tackle and Martin or Flowers prove capable of handling the left guard spot. But the tackle position is thin, particularly with second-year pro Geron Christian still recovering from a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee after an underwhelming rookie season. For a team that wants to run the ball extensively and might play a rookie quarterback, getting Williams back is a must.
“I know Trent knows how much we need him and want him back,” Gruden said.
The defensive line could be one of the best in NFL.
The defensive line is clearly the top position group on the roster and has the chance to be special. Jonathan Allen continues to improve after an eight-sack season, and Daron Payne enters his second season after a strong rookie campaign. Matt Ioannidis was rewarded with a three-year, $21.75 million deal after positing a career-high 7 1/2 sacks in 2018, and Ryan Kerrigan continues to be one of the most consistent pass rushers in the league.
Former second-round pick Ryan Anderson will get his shot to start after the departure of Preston Smith, but regardless of his play, 2019 first-round pick Montez Sweat made a strong impression in workouts and will see plenty of playing time. The group is deep with Tim Settle and Caleb Brantley behind them and could be dominant.
“I think we have a tough edge to us and I’m expecting that to carry over,” Gruden said. “I think it starts with our defensive lineman. . . . I think those guys up front set the stage for everybody.”
Linebacker is a question mark after Reuben Foster injury.
The Redskins’ vision since putting in a controversial waiver claim for Reuben Foster was to see the former Alabama pair of Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton manning the middle of the defense together. That plan imploded when Foster went down with torn anterior cruciate and and lateral collateral ligaments three snaps into the first practice of OTAs.
That moved Mason Foster, who has dropped 15 pounds, back onto the first team, and left question marks behind him. Former second-round pick Jon Bostic was signed and started working with the second team alongside rookie Cole Holcomb.
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