As far as Redskins training camps, this one looks boring compared to recent years. Here are a few ponderings as the team begins Thursday in Richmond.
First, the roster is pretty much set. Coaches always talk about competing for jobs, but really the only competing comes at the bottom of the roster. The 22 starting jobs look set barring injuries. The 53-man roster may have one or two coming from preseason accomplishments. Otherwise, the next few weeks are more about executing plays than finding help.
Quarterback Alex Smith didn't show me enough during offseason camps in terms of deep throws. Sure, he can handle the medium and short passes, moves around well and will be a leader. But will Smith work the deep game effectively? It's easier in offseason camps given no hitting, so I'm waiting for preseason games to see if Smith can utilize Paul Richardson deep.
Running back Derrius Guice should be a 1,200-yard runner if given enough chances and he stays healthy. Who's the odd man out in the crowded backfield? I wouldn't cut Rob Kelley just yet after a solid offseason.
At this point, I think tight end Jordan Reed is a luxury. Use him when healthy, plan for when he’s not.
Receiver Jamison Crowder caught 59, 67 and 66 passes, respectively, the last three years. Just a solid player who will get 60-plus again this year. Might become Smith's favorite target.
Daron Payne may be the key player defensively. If the nose tackle can seal the inside run, Washington has a chance to be good. The last two years have seen teams break the Redskins' backs with long runs up the middle.
I like Montae Nicholson, a lot. The strong safety must stay healthy, but his quickness and smarts are exciting.
Ryan Kerrigan has a chance to be the team’s career sack leader in 2019. Yet, does anyone think he’s better than Dexter Manley?
Coach Jay Gruden is 0-4 in season openers and this team badly needs a 2-0 start – at Arizona and against Indianapolis – for any chance of being good this season. Does it impact Gruden's preseason style? He's already moving contact practices to mornings instead of afternoons, which should help players recover better.
Finally, watch for practices to be a little more physical than past years. Translation: a few more fights, chatter and whistles. It's time for more urgency.