1. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod...we made it to training camp! This week will see the latest and greatest and newest "official" beginning of the Robert Griffin III era. There will be a few more of those before we get to the only one that counts in September. We have spent months theorizing various storylines--manufacturing in some cases--and now we will get to see the real thing. One thing we have all come to depend on is the ability of the Washington Redskins to create drama and excitement from the moment camp begins.
2. When Kevin and I took over managing this site back in 2009, we did notice that the natives got restless in the cruel months of the slow offseason. For whatever reason, this offseason has been the worst I can remember in terms of the readership going a bit stir-crazy. There are a lot more of you today than there were in 2009, but I think a certain #10 has caused the masses to exhibit a lot more impatience than they normally would. I understand that.
3. I thought there was a good Redskins note in Peter King's MMQB column today (came from the new Football Outsiders Almanac 2012):
I seem to recall one play where Romo was under at least some pressure and managed to gain 21+ yards.
4. I will close out the Sixpack today with the biggest three positions I'll be watching in training camp. They might not be the three most important position battles (or they could be) but they are the ones I am most interested in today. One thing I think that is interesting about this list is that these aren't necessarily weak spots on this team. In fact, you could argue that I am focusing on some of the strongest positions we have. It is true that we have glaring weaknesses at certain spots...cough...safety, but I am extremely encouraged that these three positions I am looking at could turn into incredible strengths for our team. Chief on my list is the tight end position. They say there is no better friend to a rookie quarterback than a solid tight end. They say that a potent double tight end set is one of the more difficult things to defend in today's league. We have all kinds of reasons to focus on improving the tight end position, but the truth is we could have already been better than we are. Sure, injuries and suspensions have shaped the most recent seasons at the tight end spot, but all of us had higher expectations with players like Fred Davis and Chris Cooley in tow. Last year, Cooley told us how he was disappointed that a dual-tight end threat never really materialized. He essentially said it was something "we don't do well." With the addition of Niles Paul to the mix, it would seem that we have three very legitimate receiving threats at the tight end spot. One would think a healthy Cooley retains his spot in the pecking order, but the truth is that Shanahan could employ all three of these tight ends in a variety of formations. I think Griffin is smart enough to read which tight end is going to come off either free or in a mismatch. You could run a lot of different plays moving Paul, Davis and Cooley around in a hurry-up set. The threat RG3 poses as a running quarterback should open up things for an opportunistic set of tight ends. Here's hoping 2012 is the year the Redskins break out in that spot.
5. Most people would look at the safety position as the next most obvious place to watch. I can't bear to watch it. I will be intrigued to see who emerges as our starter(s) there, but if I spent too much energy and focus on the safety position right now, I would likely become certifiably insane. Instead, I will stay on the offensive side of the ball and go with the running backs. Between Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Evan Roster, the Redskins are likely set up to be as strong at the running back position as they have been in quite some time (I know, they had these three guys last year too). As much as I love Helu and the prospect of establishing him right away, I still can't forget how effective Hightower was before his injury. He is a heady back that excels at picking up the right pass rusher in protection. That might be what keeps him on the field early on to protect the rookie quarterback. I was prepared to look past Evan Royster in 2012, but as we get to camp, I have a sneaking suspicion that he will emerge as a player that Shanahan trusts more and more. We know who we have in Darrel Young and we can be pretty sure that the Shanahans have a plan for Alfred Morris. If you need help getting excited about our running back situation, here is a little help: Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.
6. I will wrap up my most anticipated positions list (of three) with linebacker. It would seem that we have the first line kind of stabilized by Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley and London Fletcher. There is also the "One Man Gang"--Lorenzo Alexander--competing for a spot in the middle, with Rob Jackson and Markus White looking to hold down backup roles on the outside. If we broke camp with these seven men as our top linebackers, we could be pretty happy, but the real X-factor for me this summer is Keenan Robinson, the rookie out of Texas. I am dying to see where and how he fits into this group. Add to that veterans like Jonathan Goff and Bryan Kehl, as well as another rookie I am looking forward to seeing go to work--Donnell Holt--and you have a linebacking corps that could really shape up into something rather awesome between now and September.