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 Tuesday, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are examining the top items on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the Redskins for training camp in Richmond later this summer.
Up today …
Redskins OTA to-do list: Safety
Tandler: It looks like Dashon Goldson, acquired from the Bucs in a trade, and former Seahawks and free agent acquisition Jeron Johnson are set as the starters. They will have to learn their responsibilities in Joe Barry’s and Perry Fewell’s new defense. Behind them, Barry and Fewell will be looking for somebody, anybody, to step up and provide some depth. This could a make or break summer for Phillip Thomas, who was injured as a rookie and appeared to be unprepared when injuries got him an opportunity to start some games last year. He needs to show improvement early. Kyshoen Jarrett and Akeem Davis might earn roster spots thanks to special teams play but they both need to learn to handle defensive snaps if they should come their way.
El-Bashir: I see one of the more intriguing battles of the offseason unfolding at safety. From the sounds of it, Goldson, Johnson and Ihenacho will enter OTAs as the Redskins’ top three safeties. That shouldn’t come as a surprise (and I don’t see it changing). Goldson and Johnson have a history with GM Scot McCloughan dating back to their days with the 49ers and Seahawks, respectively. And Ihenacho, who turns 26 next month, started 18 games in 2013 for AFC Champion Broncos. After that, you’ve got Thomas, Jarrett and special teams standouts Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis competing for one, maybe two, spots. Thomas, to me, has the most to prove after an injury-plagued start to his career. And he’ll have to prove it to a GM that didn’t draft him, as well as a new defensive coordinator and a new secondary coach. Because of all that, it’s not really a stretch to say that the next three months could determine Thomas’ NFL future.