One of the most interesting things during this part of the offseason is studying the various position battles now that the roster is fairly set. Though many positions are set in stone, the Redskins do have a couple positions that are pretty well open competition this summer. Here are the position battles I see as the most interesting and why:
(If you want to see my breakdown of the battles you can check it out here:
1. Right Tackle:
- The Right Tackle battle is going to be one of the more interesting battles to watch this offseason. For one thing it is a major need, as it was one of the Redskins biggest weaknesses last year. Another thing that makes it interesting is the sheer number of contenders for the spot. Arguably you can make a case for Tyler Polumbus, Tony Pashos, Jeremy Trueblood, Maurice Hurt and Tom Compton for the starting job. And despite the five viable names, there really doesn't seem to be a clear cut favorite, either among media speculation or fan support. Another thing that makes this battle so interesting is the fact, that it's not (and hopefully won't be) a shared position. The guy who wins the starting RT job is expected to play every down of every game. That isn't necessarily the case with the other positions, where you could have the runner-up still playing 25-40% of the snaps depending on the position.
2. Free Safety:
-If there was one position that rivaled Right Tackle for futility last year free safety would be it (strong safety was in the mix as well), so the importance of getting the right guy is key. The other thing that makes this interesting is the fact that the Redskins drafted a pair of rookie safeties. Could one of them win this spot? If not the rookies then who? Does a strong safety play out of position? Does a corner move safety? There are a lot of unknowns here, and it should make for some good drama. Also, this position battle could effect the SS battle, if the SS favorite Brandon Meriweather ends up being the best option at FS, it could open up another position battle.
3. Number 2 Receiver:
-This is likely a two horse race between Joshua Morgan and Leonard Hankerson, and the loser will likely see their fair share of playing time. What makes this interesting is the fact that it is a skill position and could have an impact on how explosive the Redskins offense is (Hankerson is a bigger deep threat, Morgan more of a possession guy). Also the long term impact is key, given that both Morgan and Santana Moss are free agents after next year. Leonard Hankerson has become a bit of divisive player for fans as some love his potential and others see him as a bust.
4. Number 2 Running back:
-Alfred Morris is a lock as the top back, but who is behind him is a wide open question. The Redskins have drafted four additional running backs over the last three years, and all of them could be in line for the 2nd most carries behind Morris. They all have reasons why they might not be the guy as well, and according to reports the Redskins have talked about the possibility of bringing in a veteran like Tim Hightower. Though it seems like the position isn't as important as some, this will be a fun battle to watch. Morris will get the primary carries if healthy, but running back is one of the most injured positions in the league. In addition, roles of personnel protector and a viable receiver out of the backfield are definitely up in the air.
5. 3rd Cornerback:
-The Redskins brought back DeAngelo Hall at a reduced rate, signed TB starter E.J. Biggers and drafted David Amerson in the 2nd round to go along with returning starter Josh Wilson. All four corners will compete for the top 3 spots, but the third spot could be the most interesting. For one thing where that player plays will be dependent on who wins the starting job. Typically we think of 3rd corners as the "slot corner", but if David Amerson were to win the 3rd role, he'd play outside when he comes in, and a starter (any of Hall, Wilson or Biggers) would kick inside.
6. Starting Defensive End:
-Two of the three defensive starters are locked in Stephen Bowen at one end spot and Barry Cofield at NT. The other defensive end spot is a bit more up in the air as 2011 2nd rounder Jarvis Jenkins played well down the stretch last year while filling in for injured starter Adam Carriker. Complicating matters for Carriker is the fact that he's apparently suffered a setback in the recovery from his injury and his status for Camp and the regular season is up in the air. Even if he was healthy though, Jenkins could unseat him given the higher potential.
7. Starting Tight End:
-This is a position that is going to be very dependent on health, as Fred Davis is recovering from an Achilles injury. Jordan Reed was drafted in the 3rd round and has a similar skill set to Davis, but probably isn't ready as the starter. Logan Paulsen is more of a blocker, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing for the Redskins given how much they run. How the Redskins split up their TE position is going to be very interesting this year, especially if Davis isn't 100%.
Which position battles are you most interested in? And what do you think will end up with the biggest story line?