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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

Training camp is upon us this week. Is there reason for hope in Washington this summer?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Training camps starts on Thursday, y'all! I know that SkinsNJ loves him some alone time with the TV when practices start in earnest, despite the walk-through mentality of...well...walking through things in shorts and t-shirts. Still, if any of you can honestly tell me that it is not the slightest bit exciting when the team forms up for the first official business of the 2015 season, I don't know what to tell you.

2. No official losses (those in the official win/loss column) can be taken by the Washington Redskins for well over a month. Until then, any and all predictions are...ummmm...mathematically plausible. Get excited, y'all! (I know...two y'alls in one post...not sure how I feel about it.)

3. One of the more positive benefits of all the shenanigans at Redskins Park under Dan Snyder has been this idea of "newness" that is seemingly ever present. After all, when you change something major every...single...year...the result is: NEWNESS! New head coach, new general manager, new franchise quarterback...there has been no shortage of changeover in Ashburn over the last decade or two. Each change has brought this sense of, "Surely THIS is the right group of people to get the ship fixed." Then, you didn't exactly work out that way.

4. We have some newness going on in the form of a fresh-faced everyman named McLovin'. From free agency, to the draft, to plans for an upcoming campaign, McLovin' has already put his fingerprints on this team. Once again, we are looking at a rebuild in progress, but this time (get ready for it), doesn't it just seem like it's being done the right way? Doesn't it just seem like this "way" has a much better chance of working for us? Doesn't it just seem like--and I know I have said this in the past--the adults are in charge? Doesn't it seem like we are desperate for something to some point...someday?

5. I think it fair to say that while I like myself less and less for suggesting this team will begin the road back to respectability this season, the real problem is that I believe it. Without saying definitively whether or not Robert Griffin III has a "big" year, I think what will make the biggest difference this year will be changes on the offensive and defensive lines. Unlike certain other fanbases, we love our offensive linemen here (we name websites after them, for instance). Brandon Scherff is the real deal and he will be fun to watch. Imagine that--legions of Redskins fans honed in on the right tackle. It doesn't sound as fun at it will be. On the defensive side of the ball, our eyes will be trained on the big guys up front as well. Who isn't excited to see Pot Roast in our first defensive series of the regular season? I know where my eyes will be on that play---wait, unfortunate word choice...let's go with, "My eyes will be firmly trained on both the middle and ends of our new line." Crap...I guess there's no clean way to say what I mean, which is that I will be unnaturally excited to see a bunch of dudes take the field for us in September.

6. To me, Scherff's selection is everything to me. It signals a change in mindset that didn't seem possible with this franchise. Previous front offices had shied away from investing heavily in the offensive line--with the exception of Trent Williams. One stud left tackle does NOT an offensive line make (use your Yoda voice on that one). Scherff's addition, along with what appears to be a willingness to let younger players push out veterans from the starting lineup. This is huge--don't get me wrong, teams always want their best guys playing. When new coaches arrive though, they often lean on veterans that possess valuable experience to keep the lights on while they get situated on the sideline. When you are constantly changing coaches, you end up with a lot of guys like Chris Chester and Shawn Lauvao on your offensive line. There are worse things in life, and these guys know how to play football, but you end up not really developing younger players as coaches depend upon veterans to contribute a base level of proficiency. I am not making excuses for guys like Josh LeRibeus and Tom Compton--both of these guys have seen the field over the last couple seasons. Enter Bill Callahan. When you invest heavily in your offensive line with a draft pick like Scherff and you hire a guy like Bill Callahan to come in and coach offensive linemen, you are telling the world that you are taking a different approach than previous approaches. I'll save my record prediction for a future post, but suffice to say, I think we will see the results of this focus on Sundays this fall. A more solid offensive line touches every aspect of our game: it helps extend drives which helps rest our defense, it helps keep our quarterback upright through his development, it keeps defensive coordinators from winning with exceedingly simple gameplans and it allows our offensive-minded head coach some breathing room to get his systems and schemes implemented. The bottom line to me is a product that is eminently more watchable, and a team that is unquestionably more respectable. That might not be the most ice-cold glass of fresh Kool-Aid you expect from me...but give me's still just July.