Redskins Roundup: 2013 starts today!

Updated: July 26, 2013

Photo: Washington Times

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Washington Redskins open training camp today at their new facility in Richmond, Virginia. I appeared on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt yesterday to preview Skins training camp. WATCH IT.

Continuing with our training camp position previews, have a look at what you should expect at CENTER & GUARD, as well as TACKLE.

WIth training camp beginning today, this seems like a good time to notice that the Redskins have some good building blocks for the future. According to Football Outsiders, the Redskins have the fourth-best talent under 25 years old in the NFL.

After the Robert Griffin III trade, we wondered if this team would be able to build a young roster without the benefit of the first-round picks it dealt to acquire its franchise quarterback. Finding a dynamic back like Alfred Morris in the sixth round last year certainly was a good start.
The Redskins had a lot of young players step forward last season even beyond RG III and Morris. Ryan Kerrigan had to take on top tackles after Brian Orakpo was lost for the second straight season, responding with 8.5 sacks and 27 hurries along with sterling play against the run. Trent Williams started all 16 games for the first time in his career. Kirk Cousins outplayed his draft value while RG III was hurt and has become an asset that could potentially be cashed in down the road. Perry Riley covered well and took on a big workload at middle linebacker. It would’ve been nice if Jarvis Jenkins took another step forward — or if Washington found a reliable receiver between Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson last season — but thus far they’ve done a good job of infusing the team with young talent. As long as RG III’s star continues to shine, they’ll only need to keep finding consistent contributors to be near the top of this list for the next few seasons.

The Redskins began camp with some roster moves, assigning CB Josh Wilson and OL Maurice Hurt to the Physically Unable to Perform [PUP] list. If there is a roster assignment in sports that sounds more humiliating than Physically Unable to Perform, I can’t think of it. Wilson, who had offseason laburm surgery and has not taken part in any offseason work, is joined on the PUP list by DE Adam Carriker, who continues to struggle with recovery from right quadriceps injury, is going to have his third surgery to correct the problem. Hurt is recovering from knee surgery and has also missed all the offseason work.

Players can be activated from the PUP list at any time and it is not certain if Wilson or Hurt will miss significant time. Carriker, however, is likely to be a question mark for a while.

The Redskins also cleared some room at their crowded and unsettled safety position by waiving Jordan Bernstine and Devin Holland. Bernstine, you may recall, absolutely demolished his right knee in last year’s season opener and has been trying to recover ever since.

Rich Campbell notes that Robert Griffin III seems to have gotten the memo about cooperating with the franchises’s master plan for its franchise player — keep him healthy! That includes not pushing himself in August, when games don’t count.

“If they want me to be patient right now and ramp it up later, then I’m willing to do that,” Griffin said. “They know that I’m going to be — I wouldn’t say compliant, but I’m going to follow those rules, follow those guidelines, do as much as I can within that. And when it’s time to go full-go, then I’ll be ready to go.”

Those words are as important to the Redskins’ hopes this season as any glowing evaluation of his right knee ligaments. Even more encouraging: Griffin knows that.

Me and Mike Shanahan’s relationship is paramount to this team being successful,” he said.

Sally Jenkins has more on the Shanahan-Griffin relationship and the coach’s responsibility to protect Griffin from himself.

Griffin seems on board with the plan to not play him in the preseason.

OLB Brian Orakpo is in the final year of his rookie contract and coming off missing virtually all of 2012 due to a torn pectoral muscle. Nevertheless, the Redskins reportedly want to re-sign Orakpo before he hits the free agent market, believeing he is critical to their defensive success. That seems reasonable, considering how the pass defense suffered without Orakpo’s rush last year. 

NT Barry Cofield has high hopes for the defense in 2013: 

“We want to be a top-five, top-ten defense. We’re not in the business of making excuses. It’s like we’ve got some new toys with the guys that we’ve brought back from injury. A guy like [Brian] Orakpo, a [Brandon] Meriweather, guys like that, that we expected to really help us last year who are just hungry and starving to get out on the field and help us this year so it’s extremely exciting and we expect to improve in every aspect.”

More on Alfred Morris not being a one-trick pony of the read-option offense: He gained 155 of his 334 read-option yards after contact, proving he’s a bruising runner who gets yards on his own. 

“He’s not a flashy player,” said one defensive coach who requested anonymity because his team faces the Redskins this season. He has spent part of the offseason watching Morris’s tape. “He believes in the scheme. He presses the hole, he’ll one-cut or keep pressing. People say if [Roy] Helu had been in there, he would have had 1,600 yards or if [Evan] Royster would have been there, he would have had 1,600 yards. But the way [Morris] runs is totally different than those guys. He got a lot of his yards after contact. He earned it. That’s what good players do. . . . I didn’t see him every game, but it was rare I ever saw him tackled in the backfield.”

The worst formation for Morris last year? The I-formation, in which he averaged only 3.26 yards per carry. In every other formation Morris averaged at least 4.9 yards per carry.

This is the 16th training camp of ILB London Fletcher‘s career and he seems as ready for this one as any.

“I feel great,” said Fletcher, who has healed from offseason elbow and ankle surgeries and looks to extend his consecutive-games-played streak to 241 games and beyond. “This time of the year, most guys get excited, grass starts to smell a little bit different because you know football season is right around the corner, and for me, I’m excited to be here, feel good.”

Despite lots of agitating from fans, the Redskins never got close to signing free agent RT Eric Winston. He’s close to signing with Arizona. 

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