The busy portion of free agency is completed. The draft is history. Rookie minicamp is in the rearview. The 90-man offseason roster is full, 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 to examine the top items on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the Redskins for training camp in Richmond later this summer.
Up today …
Inside linebacker to-do list
Tandler: There is stability in the starters here, with Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley both back. Robinson’s job is safe but Riley is going to have to stave off both third-year player Will Compton and rookie Martrell Spaight. Riley won’t lose the job in May and June but Compton, who played well filling in when Riley was out injured for two games last year, and Spaight, who has drawn praise from Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden, can gain ground with strong showings during OTAs. All of the inside backers will have to learn their responsibilities in the tweaked defensive scheme. The line will be more aggressive and control gaps so the inside backers will have to learn gap discipline rather than flowing to the ball.
El-Bashir: Robinson and Riley were the starters when healthy last season, and they’ll be the starters in 2015, too. But, as Tandler pointed out, it’s worth watching to see if Compton is able to put some pressure on Riley, who has yet to capitalize on the Pro Bowler potential some saw in him earlier in his career. Compton, who is entering his third NFL season, can play both inside positions, performed solidly in five starts as an injury replacement in 2014 and coaches like his potential. It’s unclear if he’s got a realistic shot to unseat Riley, but it’s something to keep an eye on over the coming months. Something else to watch is the battle for the final two spots (assuming the Redskins keep five inside backers as they did in 2014). Special teams ace Adam Hayward will get one of them. And you’ve got to imagine fifth round pick Martrell Spaight will grab the final spot, though I’m told undrafted Terrance Plummer (Central Florida) has enough talent and toughness to make a run at a job.
[MORE REDSKINS: Can Matt Jones challenge Alfred Morris for carries?]