Washington Redskins' Camp: Day One and Things Are Already Heating Up

Jack AndersonSenior Analyst IJuly 20, 2008

Try as they might, Old Danny Boy and the 'Skins' front office couldn't make it through an NFL offseason without making a splash.

The Washington Redskins opened camp with a bang today, trading for high-profile defensive end Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins.

The move came in light of the season-ending injuries suffered by defensive ends Phillip Daniels, a projected starter on the line, and Alex Buzbee.

The 'Skins parted with a 2009 second-round draft choice and a 2010 sixth rounder. It was a small price to pay for one of the NFL's most feared pass rushers.

Taylor, as we all know, was on the outs in Miami, and the longer the Dolphins hung on to him the smaller his trade value became.

With Daniels' unfortunate injury, the 'Skins were in dire straits, as their defensive line was already subpar, but Taylor now gives them a phenomenal complement to Andre Carter.

Carter had 10.5 sacks last season, leading the team, while Taylor registered 11 sacks with Miami. In 2006, Taylor was named Defensive Player of the Year. For his career, he has been to six Pro Bowls and has 117 career sacks.

This acquisition should ease the pressure on the back seven while increasing the pressure on opposing teams' offensive lines. The Redskins have a somewhat questionable secondary due to the injury of Carlos Rogers and the age of Shawn Springs, but these concerns will be lessened because of Taylor's arrival.

Taylor will also be bringing his star-studded persona to DC, and that is actually something that might help the Redskins. The 'Skins have their characters, but Taylor is truly a superstar. Though he failed to remain happy in Miami, I fully expect him to enjoy himself in football-friendly DC.

The team is only a few pieces away from being a legitimate contender, and Taylor might actually put them into position to contend for a deep playoff run. He has always played hard, and he possesses a great work ethic. It's time to get excited about this guy!

In other news, the 'Skins will be looking to settle some position battles throughout training camp.

The punting duties are open, as incumbent Derrick Frost underperformed last year and is now being challenged by rookie Durant Brooks.

Brooks is a sixth-round pick from Georgia Tech that led the ACC last season in punting. He will most likely win the job from Frost, who struggled mightily last season. The winner of this battle will also handle the holding duties.

The fifth-receiver slot is open as well. There are a rash of candidates vying for the position, but the top performers are James Thrash and Anthony Mix.

Thrash is a blue-collar player, a do-everything kind of guy. He will make the big catch, make the special-teams tackle, down the punt, etc. He has long been involved with the organization. The only downside is his age and small size.

Mix made a name for himself last camp as he developed some chemistry with former Auburn teammate Jason Campbell. He's big, strong, and sure handed. He recovered a kickoff in last season's Wild Card game against Seattle and has continued to impress coaches this offseason.

The other players contending for the spot are Burl Toler, who had a solid preseason last year and spent the regular season on the practice squad, and Billy McMullen, a former Eagle and Viking.

The safety positions are in flux right now, as the team is unsure where to put star second-year player LaRon Landry.

Landry performed at a much higher level from the free-safety position, but newly acquired Stuart Schweigert is a natural FS. However, should Landry play at FS, then Reed Doughty would most likely play SS.

Personally, I thought Landry was far better at FS, where he had a huge impact. Doughty filled in well at SS and was a tackling machine by the end of the season. That would be the combination I would use, but we'll see what the coaching staff thinks at the end of camp.

Thus, Day One is in the books. Welcome back, NFL.