Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 16, 14 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
Question of the day
A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.
I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please.
Today’s question comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page.
Although the Redskins are far from a finished product, they do have some areas of strength that opponents should find to be tough to handle.
On the offensive side of the ball it’s easy to identify that unit. The wide receivers are by far the strength of the offense and probably the strongest unit on the team. One NFL.com analyst recently called DeSean Jackson the top deep threat in the game. His sheer speed forces teams to play a safety over the top and that can open up opportunities in the rushing game and help other receivers get open.
Don’t think for a second that Pierre Garçon is past his prime. A lot of starting wide receivers would have loved to have 68 receptions and have everyone consider it a bad year. He should improve his years per catch from around 11, where it was last year, up to closer to 14, where it was in 2012.
The quality and reliability do drop off after the top two but they should be able to find someone who can provide quality play out of the slot between Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, and Jamison Crowder.
On the defensive side of the ball, I think that the linebackers could cause other teams problems. Ryan Kerrigan’s play speaks for itself. Keenan Robinson is a budding start on the inside. Trent Murphy and Preston Smith could be quite a duo to deal with on the right side assuming Joe Barry can figure out how best to utilize both of them effectively. Perry Riley has his share of struggles in coverage but that’s not unusual at this position. Perhaps his is a spot that could be upgraded at some point but there certainly are plenty of less capable starters at this position in the league.
I should point out that I my confidence in the linebackers is not anywhere near as solid as my confidence in the receivers. The only proven performer there is Kerrigan and even he needs to have another year with double-digit sacks and other big plays to even enter the “elite” conversation. Murphy and Smith project well but they haven’t shown it yet. One good year does not make Robinson a star, it just shows what he’s capable of doing.
—It’s been 200 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 59 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.
—Days until: Redskins training camp starts 14; Preseason opener @ Browns 28; final cuts 51
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