Redskins head to Richmond after good offseason, but with question marks

WASHINGTON — Believe it or not, it’s time for football.

The Redskins open training camp on Thursday in Richmond, Virginia. I believe they have had a good offseason, with the acquisition of key free agents and a full draft class. That being said, there are still some question marks.

Is Robert Griffin III ready to lead this team?  Is Jay Gruden going to step up in year two and prove he belongs as an NFL Head Coach? With new General Manager Scot McCloughan ready to oversee his first training camp as Redskins GM, will his influence be felt immediately?

We will find out over the next five months, beginning this week in Richmond. Here are a few things to watch for during training camp.


I know, you can’t believe that the quarterback position will be front and center at training camp.

All eyes will once again be on Robert Griffin III. He enters camp as the starter and Jay Gruden has said a number of times this offseason that it’s his job to lose. The team has also picked up his $16 million option for next season (2016).

Griffin is entering year two in Jay Gruden’s system and should be more comfortable. Last year was a down year for him, and there were times when his head coach was honest — to a fault — about his quarterback.

Gruden was brought here to fix Griffin, and it’s no secret that last year he was not convinced that Griffin could quarterback his team. New General Manager Scot McCloughan has not given up on Griffin, which means that Gruden has to try and make this work. I do not think Griffin is done in this league and I think he will vastly improve this season. He has had a quiet offseason on social media, which is a good thing. He is ready to prove everyone wrong.

Gruden knows that Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins are not happy with the fact that Griffin is the starter, and as competitors they shouldn’t be. If we learned anything last year, it’s that Gruden doesn’t necessarily have the confidence in any of the quarterbacks and he might believe that McCoy gives this team the best chance to win. These two will battle it out for the backup position.

If we get through the preseason and the questions are still being asked about Griffin and whether or not he’s ready to lead this team, then we are in for a very long season and perhaps a lot of changes at the end of it.


The Redskins will have five new starters on this side of the football, along with a new coordinator and staff. The defense needs to be better and I expect it to be. The free agent additions of Terrance Knighton (Pot Roast), Stephen Paea along the D-Line, safeties Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson, and cornerback Chris Culliver — along with the return of DeAngelo Hall — should help this unit.


The Redskins drafted Brandon Scherff with the fifth overall selection in this year’s draft and I expect him to start at right tackle. He has been with the starters since Day 1 of offseason workouts. Linebacker Preston Smith, drafted in the second round, should push Trent Murphy to start at the outside linebacker position. Running back Matt Jones was very solid during offseason work and could be a great addition as a third down back, something this team really needs. Also keep an eye on Jamison Crowder. He has great speed and I can see him contributing immediately on special teams as a returner. He could also help at wide receiver.

Practice time and crowds

Last year Gruden moved the real practice to the morning with a walkthrough in the afternoon. The crowds were noticeably smaller for both sessions and the reason was being blamed on the practice times. This year, Gruden is moving the practice back to the afternoon. The team will take the field at 3 p.m. for practice following a 10:35 a.m. walkthrough.

Gruden said that the change was made last year because they were worried about thunderstorms in the afternoon, but after seeing only a couple days would have been rained out he decided to make the switch back this year. This should make for bigger crowds in the afternoon, and the surrounding businesses should thrive along with the food and merchandise outlets run by the team.

Buckle up. The ride starts Thursday.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

© 2015 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

George Wallace

George Wallace is the WTOP sports director. He began at WTOP on Christmas Day of 2000.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up