Redskins Training Camp Photo Gallery
After what felt like more than a century of sitting around and waiting, creating storylines and discussions wherever we could, real football has finally returned. Training camp for all 32 NFL teams is in full swing.
The Washington Redskins will look to build on last year's division title after finishing the regular season on a seven-game win streak, their early first-round playoff exit serving as the fuel.
Here's a look into the first week of training camp in Richmond, Virginia.
Fred Davis Returns
While the Redskins did receive credit and notoriety for their offensive production last season, most seem to forget they were missing a crucial part of the unit in tight end Fred Davis.
After suffering a torn Achilles during Week 7, Davis was forced to miss the rest of season. The Redskins were left to operate with Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul at the position.
Since undergoing a tough and lengthy recovery, Davis is expected to be the team's opening week starter. The Redskins were able to re-sign the 27-year-old tight end to a team-friendly one-year deal that should result in a good situation for all parties.
With a healthy Davis on the field, the Redskins offense becomes even more dangerous.
Could this picture be any more perfect?
After tearing his ACL just seven months prior, star quarterback Robert Griffin III is smiling, running and seemingly amped to be playing football again.
Not that anyone needs to be reminded of the obvious, but the Redskins will go as far as RG3 and his knee will take them. Sure Kirk Cousins is a viable backup, but it's the dynamic that Griffin brings to the field that gives the Washington offense the firepower to run.
One Down, Next One Up
The man on the left is Jarvis Jenkins. The former 2011 second-round pick defensive end was slated to start the 2013 season following an unsuccessful rehab by Adam Carriker.
The man on the right is Chris Baker. The backup nose tackle has been with the Redskins since 2011 and recently signed a new three-year deal last March to continue his role as a rotational defensive lineman.
Late last week, NFL.com reported Jenkins would be suspended for the first four games of the season after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Baker's name now becomes one of the more popular ones in camp, as he'll likely contend with veteran Kedric Golston for the starting defensive end position.
Behind the Curtain
While head coach Mike Shanahan usually receives most of the credit for the recent success in Washington, and for good reason, general manager Bruce Allen is the man behind the curtain.
Despite some crazy cap penalties over the past two offseasons, Allen has been able to work the books to the team's liking, making the deals necessary to abide by the league's ridiculous demands, while still retaining key players.
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One of the most intriguing roster battles in Richmond, Virginia this summer will be at the wide receiver position.
Beyond Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan, the remaining spots appear to be fair game.
Aldrick Robinson has received some attention so far through the first week, even earning praise from his quarterback, as Chris Russell of ESPNRadio980 tweeted on Monday, July 29:
Griffin III says the one player that has impressed him the most thru a few days is Aldrick Robinson. "He's just looked phenomenal."
Veterans like Devery Henderson and Donte Stallworth were signed to compete in camp, serving for a healthy push to younger guys like Dezmon Briscoe and Lance Lewis.
Wouldn't We Wish?
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
While it's not certain that veteran quarterback Rex Grossman will be retained in order to hold a clipboard, the fact that running back Alfred Morris is working on his hands is exciting.
But let's not get carried away. There's a reason the Redskins went after two running backs in the draft, both of which bring versatility in terms of running and catching out of the backfield. Not to mention, an expected healthy Roy Helu Jr. gives the Redskins their third-down back.
Meanwhile, Morris remains the bruising down-hill force. Although he may not receive the high number of carries he saw last year, he'll still be the guy called on to earn the tough stuff.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
In addition to a hopefully healthy Roy Helu Jr. in 2013, rookie Chris Thompson (No. 35) joins the Redskins backfield, helping to bring speed, acceleration, agility and playmaking ability to an already productive unit.
Thompson was riddled with injuries in college, ultimately limiting his production in four years at Florida State. But head coach Mike Shanahan had an eye for Thompson's natural ability and skill set, which should blend nicely with the running style of starter Alfred Morris (No. 46).
Age Is Just a Number
Santana Moss (No. 89) proved age is just a number last season in the absence of Pierre Garcon.
Although Moss wasn't a starter, he stepped up to haul in 41 catches for 573 yards and eight touchdowns at the ripe age of 33.
This season, another year older, Moss returns to once again serve as one of the more reliable pair of hands on the team.
This isn't some sort of running nickname that all should know. In fact, I just made it up.
But if you think about it, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is somewhat of a chef, considering the defense was dismal to begin the season, yet somehow found a way to turn it around late on their way to a division title.
And sure, the defense, even after the corner turn, wasn't anywhere near dominant. But Haslett deserves some credit for making chicken salad out of chicken-you-know-what. This even coming from a guy who was calling for the coordinator's head in early December.
'Rak Is Back
From an individual perspective, 2013 is the most important season in Brian Orakpo's career thus far.
He's playing to prove to himself that he can stay healthy. He's playing to prove to everyone else that he's an elite-level pass-rusher. And he's playing to earn himself top-dollar in the final year of his contract.
The Redskins have stated their desire to retain Orakpo and sign him to a long-term deal. But what's the rush?
If I'm the Redskins, I sit back and reap the benefits of a motivated athlete with a chip on his shoulder (a positive one), watching Orakpo go on his hopefully vicious tear of opposing quarterbacks. Then we talk money after the season.
A healthy Brian Orakpo will have a direct effect on Ryan Kerrigan, as the soon-to-be 25-year-old enters his third NFL season.
Kerrigan posted 7.5 sacks during his rookie season, then 8.5 last year without Orakpo working the opposite side.
This season, Kerrigan is a year older, a year better and hopefully teamed again with Orakpo.
Kerrigan's 2013 feast of rival quarterbacks is shaping up to be a hearty one.