The busy portion of free agency is completed. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview. The 90-man offseason roster has been filled out, as well. Now comes the difficult part for second-year head coach Jay Gruden: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin next Tuesday, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going examine the top items on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares his team for training camp in Richmond later this summer.
Up today …
Offensive line to-do list
El-Bashir: To me, the two boldest moves of the offseason were aimed directly at improving the Redskins’ subpar offensive line—the addition of Bill Callahan and the selection of Brandon Scherff. But the work is not done. I’m fine with the left side of the line, though it would be wise for GM Scot McCloughan to ink three-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams to a long term extension before the questions begin. I’m also okay with Kory Lichtensteiger at center. His veteran savvy will be enough as he adapts to Callahan’s system. The right side? Well, that’s where I anticipates some issues. Sure, Scherff is an instant upgrade at right tackle. But he’s also a rookie who’s switching sides. There will be growing pains, particularly early. The starting right guard, meanwhile, should be Spencer Long, a 2014 third rounder. But is he ready? Chris Chester, 32, and his $4.8 million cap number are still on the roster for a reason. The good news is Gruden has a few months to sort it all out. The bad news is that, a year later, it’s still a potential problem.
Tandler: Top draft pick Brandon Scherff comes in with a ton of physical ability and a great attitude and work ethic but he has plenty of work to do. Like most top college linemen who were able to dominate their opponents without using great technique, Scherff will need to improve his fundamentals. We saw him doing this with Bill Callahan during the rookie minicamp and he will undoubtedly continue to spend extra time on the field with the new offensive line coach throughout OTAs. Scherff can work on his footwork, hand placement, and other technical matters during the non-contact OTA period. Then when they put the pads on in Richmond he will be prepared to go up against Ryan Kerrigan on a daily basis.