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What to Look for on the First Day of OTAs for the Washington Redskins

May 28th, 2014 at 11:38 AM
By Marty Simpkins

The Washington Redskins started their Organized Team Activities yesterday at Redskins Park in Loudon County, Virginia. With 20 days before the start of  minicamp, head coach Jay Gruden is looking to see what his players are made of. He hopes to establish a new culture in Washington, seeing that the past has not treated the Redskins well over the last 20 years.

'Washington Redskins' photo (c) 2012, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

This will be the first time this year that all 90 players will be on the practice field together. Gruden hopes to build chemistry with the new players coming in and wants to establish a solid foundation in quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris. As for the other players on the team, their future is up in the air. Here are some positions that are in question heading into the preseason that the Washington Redskins need to address.

With the departure of London Fletcher, no one knows for sure who will step up to replace him. The resigning of Perry Riley has assured his spot on the depth chart as a starter, but it is unknown who will start alongside him with Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo. With injuries and poor tackling, the Redskins linebacker corps has been in question heading into this season.

Washington picked up Darryl Sharpton in free agency, hoping to replace Fletcher. However, Sharpton has been injury prone for the last couple of years. He is at the prime of his career at the age of 26, but there is uncertainty with his ability to stay on the field. Keenan Robinson, Akeem Jordan and Adam Hayward are also on the roster, but they will have to make their presence known during training camp in order to snatch that starting role.

The Redskins offensive line has not been great since the days of the Hogs back in the 1980's and early 1990's. Under Gruden's offense last year, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked 29 times and threw a career-high 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns, according to NFL.com. If RG3 hopes to have that kind of season, he needs an offensive line that can protect him.

Specifically, the position of right guard and right tackle are in question. Chris Chester holds that right guard spot, but with his increasing age and decreasing productivity, that might soon change. Third-round draft pick Spencer Long could push him out of the starting spot and second-round pick Morgan Moses could fill in at right tackle. These rookie players must develop quickly during the OTAs and training camp in order to gain RG3's trust. 

In Gruden's offense at Cincinnati, the fullback position was rarely used, which might make Darrel Young expendable to the Washington Redskins. Young has been a big reason why Morris has had two successful seasons running the ball. If Gruden can't find a spot on the roster for Young, he might look to block for someone else in the NFL.

There's also Santana Moss, who is the second-oldest receiver playing in the NFL right now (former Carolina Panther and now Baltimore Raven Steve Smith is just a few weeks older than Moss). The team already has receivers like Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Leonard Hankerson on the team. Moss could either be cut from the team or play in a limited role for the Redskins this year. His performance during OTAs and training camp will determine that.  

Tags: Alfred Morris, Football, Jay Gruden, Morgan Moses, NFL, Robert Griffin III, Santana Moss, Spencer Long, Washington, Washington Redskins

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