Washington Redskins Training Camp: 3 Lingering Questions
The Washington Redskins wrap up training camp this week, but that won't do much to the team's daily routine. They remain in Ashburn, where they'll have a chance to keep filling out a roster that has quite a few question marks.
Before camp wraps up, we bring you three particularly important questions that are still being asked about this Washington team.
Which Running Backs Will Make the Final Roster?
Notice I'm not asking who the starting running back will be? That's because it doesn't matter. Mike and Kyle Shanahan will go with the hot hand from week to week, and if someone looks good in practice, he'll shake it up. Free fantasy football tip: Stay very far away from the Washington backfield.
Tim Hightower has been recovering from knee surgery and Evan Royster has earned himself a spot ahead of Roy Helu on the depth chart. Hightower will have a shot at retaining his No. 1 spot when he returns, but Royster has looked good running with the first team.
Helu can't be far behind, though, and yet he's likely also feeling heat because rookie sixth-round pick Alfred Morris received twice as many carries as every other back during the preseason opener against Buffalo. At this point, it's clear that the coaching staff is giving Morris every opportunity to crack the final 53.
If someone gets hurt or Hightower suffers a setback, this isn't an issue. But if all four of these backs are ready to go come early September, the 'Skins will have a very hard decision to make.
My gut feeling? Helu's not on the roster come Week 1.
Who Will the Starting Safeties Be?
The offensive line is a question mark, for sure, but at least we know who the starters are. If those five men can stay healthy, the line should be half-decent in 2012. That's why I'd argue that, from a skill standpoint, the biggest concern on the team comes at the safety position.
After saying goodbye to LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe, the Redskins added three free-agent safeties in the offseason, and none have been standing out thus far.
Brandon Meriweather and Madieu Williams are currently slated to start, while Tanard Jackson is buried on the depth chart as he attempts to get up to speed after offseason shoulder surgery. Returnees Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes are also in the mix.
Meriweather is comically overrated despite being cast aside in back-to-back years by New England and Chicago. He dropped an interception Thursday in Buffalo, and neither he nor Williams separated themselves from their peers.
"I like our group. It's competitive, first of all. It's great competition back there," defensive coordinator Haslett said according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. "I don't know who the starter's going to be, but there's good competition between all five of those [veteran] guys. And I think [rookie Jordan] Bernstine is doing a nice job. He's really athletic, and I think he's going to be a good player. So, you've got six players vying for however many spots, and the practice squad. It's a good situation to be in."
I'd like to see the 'Skins give everyone a shot with the first team at different points in the preseason, because I'm confident Meriweather and Williams are not the best men for the starting duties.
What Kind of Impact Will Jarvis Jenkins Make?
I single Jarvis Jenkins out here because he's the biggest wild card up front. The second-year defensive end looked fantastic last year at this time before his rookie season went up in flames because of a knee injury. This year, he hasn't been as explosive, but in the opener against Buffalo he showed glimpses.
The Redskins need someone to step up on the line to make a strong first push and help Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. Jenkins, who was a second-round pick last year out of Clemson, has the ingredients to be that player, but right now Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker are still working ahead of him.
"I think I can do a lot better," Jenkins said Sunday via WashingtonExaminer.com. "Last year I was coming in real full speed. The difference now is I know a lot more and studied a lot more. I'm coming out now and being more physical. That's the main thing.
"I could have pressured a little more [Thursday]. My technique was good, but I have to work on staying low. I'm not yet [back to 2011 form] but I have a few more games to get back to last year."