Training camp is a week and a half away and the Redskins have a number of questions that need answered heading into the season. Most of the questions are on offense, but the defense has a share of concerns as well. Here are my top three concerns for each side of the ball:
Trent Williams situation:
-I keep expecting this situation to resolve itself (perhaps with a contract extension), but the longer this drags on the worse it is. Despite all the injuries, Trent Williams remains an elite left tackle in this league and any protracted holdout or trading him away would be devastating to this team and their young QB. Obviously there is still over a week until the start of camp, but if it’s not settled by then this is going to be a serious problem.
Dwayne Haskins readiness:
-This is a two-fold question. When will Haskins actually start and will he positively contribute to the team this year. There was a time period where first round rookie QBs automatically started week 1 (unless they were behind a veteran starter), but lately teams have gone away from that. Over the last 3 seasons 11 first round QBs were selected, but only two of them (Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold) started week 1 of the season. So it’s definitely not a given that Haskins starts day 1.
The bigger issue is can he contribute positively this season. While there have been a couple exceptions, for the most part rookie QBs are average at best in terms of play. So if Haskins comes in and plays average, that is a positive sign for the Redskins. Expectations generally though shouldn’t be too high, as typically the situation a QB is placed in goes a long way in contributing to their early success.
Wide Receiver development/production:
-The Redskins right now are likely to split their WR snaps and targets among Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, and Terry McLaurin. That is arguably the worst pass catching group in the league. That’s not ideal for any situation, but especially trying to break in a new quarterback.
The good news is there is a little upside to this group. Trey Quinn has a classic slot receiver skill set, and he could be featured heavily in this offense this season. It would be a big step for him in year two to get up to Jamison Crowder’s level, but it’s not impossible. McLaurin was under-used at Ohio State and he combines a pretty advanced feel to route running with excellent speed. He could quickly pass one of Doctson or Richardson on the depth chart and turn into a quality receiver. This is still the team’s weakest unit, but there are a couple young guys who could step up.
Inside linebacker situation:
-With Reuben Foster out, there is a big hole in the middle of this defense. There was already some concerns about Mason Foster, and now without the upside Reuben could bring, this is a problem area for the Redskins. I did think signing Jon Bostic gave the Redskins at least a solid veteran, but he is a limited player and can’t be relied upon in the passing game. Shaun Dion Hamilton is likely to have a bigger role this season, but even so the Redskins could be facing another year of below average ILB play.
Free Safety play:
-Signing Landon Collins gave the Redskins one of the best strong safeties in the league, but the team didn’t do anything to address their free safety concerns. Montae Nicholson is penciled in as the starter, but he struggled last season. In addition in his short career he’s had both injury and off the field concerns as well. If Nicholson doesn’t turn it around the Redskins would have to hope Troy Apke develops, which feels like a long shot.
Young corner development:
-Josh Norman remains the Redskins top corner, but his play has started to fall off these past two years. That trend is likely to continue, and it’s unclear if the Redskins other corners can make up for any decline. Quinton Dunbar has flashed consistently, but injuries sidelined him for a good part of the year last year. Fabian Moreau was very up-and-down in his first extended action last season. Behind the top three the Redskins have four young corners added over the past two years. Greg Stroman is probably in line to be the fourth corner, but rookie Jimmy Moreland was the talk of OTAs and mini-camp.
What are your concerns for the team on both sides of the ball heading into Training camp?