Washington Redskins: What to Watch for at OTAs
For most, the start of NFL organized team activities doesn't serve as much. No contact, limited pads, no one-on-one drills, etc.
But for hardcore football fans, it's the earliest start to the regular season.
The Redskins' upcoming season carries high expectations, in addition to plenty of question marks.
With all eyes on the team's first rendezvous of the season, here are five things to watch for.
Adam Carriker's Health
With other Redskins injuries taking most of the spotlight, defensive end Adam Carriker seems somewhat of an afterthought.
But the defensive front seven's effectiveness can improve by way of Carriker's rehab.
According to CSN Washington, Carriker suffered a setback near the end of last season.
"I’m still hoping he will be ready,” head coach Mike Shanahan said.
It's great to hear there's hope, but we'd all certainly like to see a status with more certainty.
In the unfortunate case that Carriker can't go, Jarvis Jenkins would assume the starting role. Jenkins started 14 games last season after Carriker went down in Week 2.
Given the setback, we can assume we don't see much of Carriker as the summer goes on. But keep a close eye on his recovery, as he's a valuable cog on this defense.
Chris Thompson's Role in the Offense
Again, OTAs don't bring much in terms of actual football.
They do, however, bring a few things to light as to how a team plans on using a certain player.
Hopefully we get a hint as it pertains to rookie Chris Thompson.
Thompson will play his natural running back position, of course. But it will be interesting to see how the Redskins use him, particularly in their read-option offense.
Like Adam Carriker, we may not see much of Thompson prior to training camp, as he's recovering from ACL surgery.
Robert Griffin III
We saw him jump up and down at the draft party at FedEx Field last month, we've heard reports about how incredibly well he's recovering and we've seen him tote nothing shy of a smile on his face since he crumbled to the dirt at the end of a first-round playoff loss last season.
The question still remains, however: Will Robert Griffin III be ready for Week 1?
If you ask Adidas, they'd say sure.
So would team owner Dan Snyder and the Redskins marketing department.
But until we see Griffin on the field, with our own eyes, doing actual, factual, definitive football stuff, fans will remain hesitant and hold in their excitement surrounding the city's beloved quarterback.
Griffin may not be the entire team, but he's a massive part of it. Enough to either sink a ship, or keep it afloat.
Finally, something or someone without pre-existing injuries.
Knock on wood.
There's obviously concern with all rookies coming into camp. What kind of shape are they in? What's their learning curve? What kind of stuff are they showing early? Which areas are we focusing on?
And that's the meat of it for two of the newest members of the Redskins, safeties Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo.
Despite questions regarding their tackling, discipline and consistency, there's reason to be excited for these young men. Head coach Mike Shanahan, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris will throw the book at them rather quickly, meaning we should see either struggle or progress early on.
Taking well to good coaching early on will change these two for the better. Haslett and Morris will appreciate the playmaking ability and I would be interested to see what kind of looks we see for each safety.
I hate to base so much off injuries, but the OTAs will do that to you as a fan.
If guys aren't healthy and active by the time OTAs kick in, fans tend to grow a bit restless.
For the Redskins, one of the many players we're holding out hope for is running back Roy Helu.
Initially, the injury was thought to be pretty basic. He'd be all set and ready to go by the start of 2013. But things seem to have been worse than expected and now there's concern of whether or not Helu is damaged goods.
The Redskins drafted running back Jawan Jamison in the seventh round last month, possibly for insurance in the case that Helu can't make a full recovery and contribute this season.
Not that Jamison doesn't have potential of his own, but he doesn't quite have the acceleration and straight-line speed of Helu.
Keep an eye on No. 29 and his progress throughout the summer. It'll likely determine a roster spot.
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