Redskins Players Facing Make or Break Training Camps
It looks as if the Washington Redskins will have their hands full this summer with a few juicy position battles, specifically at wide receiver, running back and tackle.
Competition at any position is good for the team, the coaches, the fans and everyone.
But for those guys battling, their training camp suddenly becomes a make-or-break scenario. They're under the watchful eye of coaches and staff and the pressure to showcase themselves in order to earn a roster spot weighs heavy.
Here's a look at five players on the Redskins' current 90-man roster that face an uphill climb to stick as one of the final 53.
When the boss adds two new guys at your position that offer a more versatile skill set, your path to sticking with your team just got a lot harder.
For Evan Royster, the addition of Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison could be the writing on the wall.
Thompson was selected in the fifth round, offering a speedy set of legs and highlight-reel elusiveness. He's a guy that could work extremely well in the Redskins offense, also serving as a reliable set of hands out of the backfield.
Jamison, on the other hand, was a seventh-round selection and perhaps viewed more as a practice squad guy.
I beg you, though, don't sleep on Jamison.
Royster only carried the ball 23 times last season in his second year as a pro. Add that to the two rookies and a hopefully healthy Roy Helu Jr. and Royster's the guy that winds up on the outside looking in.
It's a crowded group at wide receiver this summer, and after Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, spots are up for grabs.
Lance Lewis was originally signed as an undrafted free agent following last year's draft. Injuries, however, cost him a chance to contend, and he ended up on the Redskins' injured reserve list.
This year, Lewis is healthy and looking to rebound.
The 6'2" former East Carolina star doesn't play with incredible speed, as you won't catch him burn anyone on the outside. But he plays with great body control, and he has a good set of hands. He also doesn't shy away as a blocker (Shanny likes that from his receivers), and he's a fine candidate in the red zone.
To me, Lewis isn't going to wow you right away. He doesn't have the insane athleticism to go along with his big frame. But he definitely has potential, and the Redskins could benefit from a chain-mover with size.
Not making it easy for Lewis are veterans Donte Stallworth and Devery Henderson, speedster Aldrick Robinson and fellow big man Dezmon Briscoe.
Lewis will need to shine.
Whether or not Chase Minnifield makes the roster depends solely on health.
After being rated as one of the best corners in last year's draft class, Minnifield's health concerns caused his stock to flatten, while an ACL tear during training camp last year ultimately put him on the shelf for all of 2012.
But even if Minnifield is healthy, it won't be an easy roster spot to earn.
Not only did the Redskins take cornerback David Amerson with their top pick last April, they also signed free agent E.J. Biggers and got to see a lot from Richard Crawford during the final stretch of last season.
Meanwhile, DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are slated as starters.
If Shanahan is fine with hanging onto to six corners, Minnifield's chances increase—assuming good health. But the roster has talent at a lot of positions this summer. Roster spots should be tight. Impressing coaches and proving himself healthy is Minnifield's only opportunity.
As previously mentioned, the wide receiver position should be one of the more interesting battles throughout camp.
Not only are there a handful of guys capable of making the roster and contributing, there are a few spots up for grabs behind guys like Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan.
For soon to be 33-year-old Donte Stallworth, he does have the head coach in his favor. But keeping the best talent always reigns supreme.
I'd normally talk about veteran leadership and experienced route running—both of which Stallworth has—as added bonuses for a veteran guy. But the sudden emergence and impact of Robert Griffin III has all of us believing he's the type of quarterback that can make his receivers better.
In that case, and thanks to RG3, perhaps the Redskins can play their hand a little more freely at wide receiver, maybe favoring a young big man (like Lewis or Briscoe) with upside over the experienced veteran.
After starting 84 games in seven years for the Buccaneers, Jeremy Trueblood was released following a season that included him being benched on more than one occasion for ineffectiveness.
With a question mark looming at right tackle, the Redskins came calling in hopes of pulling a few more serviceable seasons out of the 30-year-old Trueblood.
Like elsewhere on the roster, the competition at right tackle is crowded. Most of us should know by now that Mike Shanahan has a thing for Tyler Polumbus—but that doesn't mean it's his job in stone.
Along with Polumbus, Trueblood will battle fellow veteran Tony Pashos, last year's draft pick Tom Compton and undrafted free agent Xavier Nixon.