December 7, 2019

Washington Redskins key training camp questions: offense

Robert Griffin III hands off to Alfred Morris in Redskins 40-32 win over New Orleans Saints in Week 1. (Photo by Brian Murphy)

Robert Griffin III hands off to Alfred Morris in Redskins 40-32 win over New Orleans Saints in Week 1. (Photo by Brian Murphy)

Training camp is underway in Richmond and that means the season is just around the corner. The Washington Redskins, however, have a lot of work to do before their opener in Houston.

Each year, every team in the NFL has questions they hope to answer during training camp at each position. That is especially true for a team like the Washington Redskins who enter the season with a new coach. With that in mind, here are the key questions for each position the the team needs to answer during camp:

Quarterback:  Has Robert Griffin III taken the next step in his progression with a full offseason and training camp?

Everyone has heard of a sophomore slump, but the importance of a quarterback’s development between his rookie and sophomore seasons is often overlooked.

The development of a player from his first to his second season is critical. Because of the knee injury, Griffin didn’t get all the reps he needed in the offseason and training camp last season and the results reflected that. Now, Griffin needs to take the next step in his development.

As a rookie, Griffin struggled when his primary receiver was covered and resorted too quickly to tucking the ball and running. That’s fine for a rookie who is just getting his feet wet, but now it is time for him to become more of a polished NFL quarterback.

A lot of people want to see Griffin return to the Griffin from 2012. I don’t. I want to see that skillset utilized by an experienced quarterback; someone who is playing like it is his third year in the league, not his first.

Running back:  Who else besides Alfred Morris can make an impact offensively?

Morris is the team’s top weapon in the backfield, but the Washington Redskins need other players behind him to contribute as well.

As a power back, Morris’ role is somewhat limited; he’s not a third down back and he’s not a pass catcher. He’s capable of catching passes, but he is not the type of back that can stretch out a defense because they have to be aware of him whenever Griffin steps back to pass..

CIn today’s NFL teams need a speed back to compliment the passing game.

The Washington Redskins have waited years for Roy Helu to establish himself in that role and though he has been serviceable, he has hardly been the threat they hoped he would become when drafting him in the fourth round in 2011. If he can finally assert himself as a major threat in the running game, it will be a major boon for the offense.

There is also the question of what Chris Thompson and Lache Seastrunk can provide. Both are relatively unknown commodities, one in his second season whose rookie year was cut short by injury and the other as a rookie, but both are speed-type backs who will be looking to show they are capable of stretching a defense.

It would be too much to ask to expect Thompson or Seastrunk to supplant Helu as number two on the depth chart this season, but if either shows potential of developing into true breakaway threats,  it would make the team’s rushing attack far more potent.

Wide receiver:  How can the team effectively utilize so many weapons?

Griffin will have a lot of weapons to choose from this season with DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts joining Pierre Garcon and a (hopefully) healthy Jordan Reed. Add Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson to the mix and the Washington Redskins look very dangerous through the air.

The problem will be finding the right balance.

Garcon had a great 2013 season with 113 receptions, but that was out of necessity. Griffin had few dependable targets to throw to. In fact, Reed had the second most receptions on the team with 45 despite the fact that he only appeared in nine games last season.

This year, Griffin has more targets, but it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t spread the ball around. It is imperative that during camp he establishes a rapport with each receiver and head coach Jay Gruden develops a role for each in the offense.

Tight end:  Can Jordan Reed stay healthy?

Reed proved in his nine games last season that he has the potential to be a major NFL playmaker…when he was on the field.

He needs to work on his blocking, but he’s clearly the best tight end on the roster. He will be a major asset to the offense if he can stay on the field.

Football is a physical game. If Reed is susceptible to concussions, he’s not going to last very long. When players start hitting in camp, will he be timid? Is he fragile? Will he approach football in a new light for fear of suffering another injury?

Gruden and Sean McVay are going to have to keep a close eye on him to make sure there are no lingering affects either physical or mental.

Offensive line:  Can anyone besides Trent Williams be consistently counted on?

The offensive line has a single dominant player in Williams and it has been that way for several seasons now.

The team added Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long and Morgan Moses in the offseason, but they will largely be depth additions this season. Kory Lichtensteiger will also move from guard to center.

The offensive line was average last season and unless anyone can establish themselves in the offseason, that’s just the level we can expect.

Will Williams still be the only dominant player on the line or can someone breakout during camp?


JJ Regan is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He is an aspiring sports journalist currently earning his master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and has his own website atregansports.com. He is also a digital freelancer for Comcast SportsNet Washington and Baltimore. JJ follows all D.C. sports but specializes in the Capitals. You can follow him on Twitter@TheDC_Sportsguy.

About J.J. Regan

J.J. Regan is a contributor to District Sports Page. He also is a college football and NHL blogger for CSNwashington.com and CSNbaltimore.com and has a master's degree in interactive journalism from American University. Regan follows all DC sports but focuses mainly on the the Caps and college football. You can view his online portfolio at regansports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheDC_Sportsguy.

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