Cleat Geeks

REDskins Zone; 4 Camp Questions

The beginning of training camp week always brings great promise around the NFL, as 32 teams are on equal footing, at least theoretically.

For teams coming off a rough season, it’s a chance to wash the slate clean, while others want to keep up the momentum from more positive efforts.

In Washington, this summer falls somewhere in between. On one hand, the Redskins did some good things last year, in capturing the admittedly lousy NFC East but compiling a winning 9-7 record.

And yet, they ultimately came up far short of doing anything with it, falling completely apart after a promising start on Wild Card Weekend and losing at home to Green Bay.

It leaves a lot of questions to be addressed in the next few weeks. Here are a few of them:

Is Kirk Cousins ready to be the franchise quarterback?

KirkCousins2The answer better be “yes” because the Redskins have pretty much gone “all in” on the former Michigan State standout.

His numbers last year were solid – 4,166 yards and 29 touchdowns against only 11 interceptions. And while Robert Griffin III was physically still on the sidelines, it was pretty clear he probably wasn’t pushing seriously for playing time.

But he was still there as a “theoretical” option had something gone really wrong. Now he’s not, and the burden of pressure lies squarely on Cousins like never before. How he handles it will be the difference between bang or bust for the Redskins’ offense.

How will the team’s 2016 draft picks be able to help out?

We’ll look a little more in-depth at some of these individuals in the coming weeks, but it’s safe to say that in particular WR Josh Doctson and CB Kendall Fuller are going to be quite important.JoshDoctsonPractice

It’s been years since the Redskins hit a home run on a home-grown receiver. For what seemed like forever (actually only 2005-11), veteran Santana Moss just kept out-producing all the younger guys coming in. Now it’s up to Doctson, a productive speedster at TCU, to provide help alongside Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson and, hopefully, outdo them. So far, it doesn’t look good, as he started training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

Fuller’s season is just as cloudy, as he comes in off a torn ACL injury suffered in the first month of the 2015 season at Virginia Tech. Many though he’d be a first-round pick before the injury.

Now if he can recover and play like a first-rounder in a secondary featuring free agent prize Josh Norman, it would be a big boost to the defense.KeithMarshal

Who’s going to carry the ball?

Alfred Morris got fewer carries as the season went along last year, but he still solidly led the team in attempts (202) and yards (751). But he was nowhere near as productive in the receiving game, as his 10 catches were well behind Chris Thompson (35) and Matt Jones (19).

None of which will matter now, as Morris is long gone. Jones, Thompson and a number of young backs, including seventh-round pick Keith Marshall out of Georgia, all are competing for time in what figures to be an interesting camp. It will be interesting to see who can emerge in what’s one of the more wide-open backfield situations in the NFL.

 

How do the Skins overcome early injuries?

Before training camp even started July 28, the Redskins already had bad news on this front. In addition to Doctson, they lost linebacker Junior Galette to an Achilles injury in a pre-camp workout. They also lost safety Kyshoen Jarrett, a pleasant surprise as a rookie last year, to a debilitating shoulder injury suffered late last season that hasn’t healed correctly.

That’s two potential starters and contributors on the defense that are gone, before August even had gotten here. Add offensive lineman Shaun Lauvao to that list (although he’s expected back soon) and it’s a rough place to be healthwise so soon.

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