Mandatory minicamp began for the Washington Redskins on Tuesday, as the team has a new look heading into the 2018 season.
New acquisitions quarterback Alex Smith, wide receiver Paul Richardson, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and defensive back Orlando Scandrick and draft picks in running back Derrius Guice, defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne, wide receiver Trey Quinn, cornerback Greg Stroman and defensive tackle Tim Settle have made for a loaded roster that could be ready to turn the fortunes of the franchise.
Even with a deep roster, there are still some questions remaining about whose starting, progression of returning players and the “drama” that surrounds the organization in this quiet offseason.
1. Which running back is coming out on top?
Since the days of Clinton Portis, Washington hasn’t had a running back that could become an elite workhorse, until drafting Louisiana State University product Guice in the second round of this year’s draft. Guice ability of being a game-changing violent runner can quickly improve from a 28th ranked rushing unit last season. Even with the arrival of Guice, the team still has a bevy of talented running backs that will compete for depth chart spots this minicamp.
This includes incumbent starter Rob Kelley, who struggled in his injury-plagued sophomore campaign by only rushing for 194 yards and three touchdowns. The Oklahoma product Samaje Perine showed some promise in his rookie year, leading the team in rushing (603) and is looking improve in-game to stay afloat in the depth chart. Chris Thompson showed everyone last season that he can be a lethal threat in the run and pass game. The fifth-year product from Florida State amassed 804 yards (294 rushing, 510 receiving) and six touchdowns in ten games before suffering a season-ending injury. Even with Guice’s talent, Washington has a group of halfbacks that step up competition for the newest one.
2. What is tight end Jordan Reed‘s injury status?
Ever since entering the league in 2013, Jordan Reed established himself as a top-tier tight end in the league. However, a recent history of injuries seemed to derail the soon to be 28-year-old’s promise.
Reed is recovering from a hamstring injury which caused him to appear in six games putting up career lows in receptions (27), receiving yards (211) and touchdowns (two). Reed wasn’t healthy enough to participate in OTAs and may not be ready for minicamp as well. Even with his slow process to get back to 100%, his teammate and fellow tight end Vernon Davis expects Reed to have a huge 2018 campaign.
3. Who will be number one wide reciever in a crowded corp?
Last season, Washington struggled with injury-plagued Wide Receiver corp after the departures of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Free-agent signing Terrelle Pryor didn’t live up to the hype, third-year standout Jamison Crowder played through injury and under-performed and Josh Doctson was fully healthy, but didn’t get enough targets and ended up being lost in the offense.
In the offseason the team found a solution to their problem by signing Seattle speedster Paul Richardson to a five year deal and drafting Mr. Irrelevant, SMU’s Trey Quinn in April’s draft, with Maurice Harris, Robert Davis and Brian Quick filling out the roster.
4. How will Alex Smith’s progression go with learning a new offensive system?
In January, the team decide to end the Kirk Cousins contract saga by trading for Kansas City Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith. Throughout his whole career Smith has proven to be an established system quarterback entering his prime after having career highs in touchdowns and passing yards last season. Head coach Jay Gruden already has praised Smith for adjusting well to the system. Smith is already connecting on deep balls, which the team had trouble with last season.
More predictions at Doc’s Sports.
(Photo Credit: Associated Press/Nick Wass)