This morning the Washington Redskins concluded the voluntary offseason workout program with their 10th and final practice. While all the OTA sessions are voluntary under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), coach Mike Shanahan was pleased to report perfect attendance (according to the team's official website): "We’ve got 100 percent attendance...That’s what you look for in the OTA days."
The organized team activities (OTA) was the first opportunity to see the new rookies competing with the veterans. Teams are not permitted to have players engage in full contact drills/practices during OTAs, but fans are provided with the first glimpse of their team in 2012.
Coming out of OTAs there are important points to notice and look forward to in training camp:
The obvious player everyone is drooling over is Robert Griffin III, but the unexpected standout so far has been Niles Paul. Paul was asked by Shanahan to make the transition from wide receiver to tight end and has not disappointed so far.
Paul has displayed impressive speed and agility on the field, presenting as a mismatch for linebackers. Paul capped off the week by catching a touchdown pass from Rex Grossman.
The offense was not in clear starting form with several of the starters sitting out, but the passing game gave us a glimpse of things to come. RG3 completed a majority of his passes all week and flashed greatness today in a two-minute drill.
Griffin was not without some growing pains as he was picked off by DeAngelo Hall at the end of practice today. However, the offense is being geared around Griffin more and more each day, as today the offense showcased QB sneak and draw plays similar to those run by Carolina last year with Cam Newton.
It is hard to get a good sense of the defense without full contact, but London Fletcher has stood out as usual. Griffin has noted Fletcher's presence on the defense throughout post-practice interviews (via Redskins.com), and the two seem to have developed a friendly competition.
A player fans were happy to see return this offseason is last year's second-round pick, Jarvis Jenkins. Jenkins was a man among boys during preseason last year, but suffered a season ending knee injury.
Chase Minnifield has received plenty of attention since going undrafted and signing with the Redskins, and OTAs followed that trend. Minnifield flashed impressive agility that had him pegged as a second-round pick. While it is still early, Minnifield has certainly got the attention of coaches as he spent some of his time running with the second-team defense.
It's impossible to have football practices without injuries occurring and this year is no exception. At this time, no major injuries have occurred and only minor setbacks have been reported with the following players (from Redskins.com):
- Tanard Jackson, Stephen Bowen and Leonard Hankerson sat out most of the OTAs with injuries but participated fully today
- Roy Helu, Evan Royster, Tim Hightower, Adam Carriker and Josh Wilson sat out today's session
What to Look Forward To
Training camp will bring an elevated level of competition to Ashburn as players engage in full contact. Practices will mimic game speed and brutality at times.
The key things to watch for will be:
- How Griffin has progressed with the offense and his receivers
- How reliable does the offensive line look
- Position battles at running back, safety, tight end and cornerback