The Washington Redskins Are Baaack! The Keys to Success For 2008

Craig Garrison SrSenior Analyst IJuly 19, 2008

The Washington Redskins start training today and there are many story lines to follow.

The most common question mark among fans and the media alike is the dynamic of young Jason Campbell's ability to progress in new Head Coach Jim Zorn's version of the West Coast Offense.

While that is one of the keys to the Redskins having a strong season in 2008, there is another issue that will determine Campbell's ability to grow—the offensive line.

It won't matter if Campbell is capable of growing into the Redskins' long term leader if the offensive line can't stay healthy and/or doesn't play well.

It is reasonable to say that there will likely be struggles early on for Campbell and this offense, but without a solid group up front, Jim Zorn and Offensive Coordinator, Sherman Smith, won't be capable of leaning on Clinton Portis and the running game to offset the growing pains.

Portis will not be a big question mark because the Redskins have a capable backup in Ladell Betts and won't lose much if Portis goes through another injury plagued season like the 2006 season.

Betts can do what Portis can do, just a little differently, and without as much explosion. But he can get it done.

The second most important key to the upcoming season is the Defense. Under new Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache, the Redskins won't be changing much.

They will simplify the defensive schemes, enabling the players to players to "play faster", according Blache.

Depth at the corner back spot is a serious concern, however.

It's unlikely that Carlos Rogers will be capable of playing at a starter's level when he returns from reconstructive knee surgery later in the season—Zorn has said he won't be surprised if Rogers begins the season on the Physically Unable to Play list. 

Most players are not back to 100% pre-injury health/ability until the year following their return to the field. Fingers crossed and blessings said, good luck Carlos.

I will be attending portions of training camp and intend to offer my own insights on what I see on the field.