Washington Redskins: early impressions from training camp

washington redskinsThe Washington Redskins will break on Tuesday after five straight days of hard work in the grueling Virginia heat and humidity. While the Redskins’ offense has looked sharp so far, Rome was not built in five days and many questions still remain. Chiefly among these is do the Redskins have too many offensive weapons? Are there too many mouths to feed? How can Jay Gruden’s offense manage to get all these charismatic playmakers satisfactory amounts of touches?

Following last season’s 3-13 disaster, the Redskins offense looked to be in shambles with no clear solution in sight. There was a considerable list of faults in the Redskins attack, including Robert Griffin III clearly being injured,  Pierre Garcon making uncharacteristic drops, Jordan Reed battling concussions, and Alfred Morris getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage because the play calls were just so damn predictable.

The Redskins cleaned house. The old QB Guru Mike Shanahan was shown the door, so was his son. Jay Gruden, who somehow managed to make Andy Dalton look good for three seasons, is taking over. Following Gruden’s hiring, 28-year-old Sean McVay was named the youngest offensive coordinator in the NFL. While RGIII has looked a little rusty in camp (which is expected), every move the Redskins have made offensively this offseason has been incredibly positive.

I know it’s only been five days, but the positive vibes have continued into camp. Alfred Morris has looked strong with the ball the first few days of practice as well as in the live drills. The wide receivers look just as good as we thought, especially DeSean Jackson. It is common knowledge that Jackson has blazing speed, but you can’t quite grasp how fast he is until you see him in person and I was completely blown away by him. Pierre Garcon is back to being the sure-handed wideout the Redskins faithful have come to know. Andre Roberts looks like he could be the best number three wide receiver in the league. Jordan Reed looks healthy and will be a great safety blanket for Robert Griffin III.

The problem the Redskins might run into is that every single one of these guys wants the ball in their hands. They are all playmakers, they have all been the playmaker at one point or another in their careers. If the Redskins’ offense operates the way Gruden and McVay intend it to, the Redskins should be able to keep everyone happy.

However, RGIII is not quite ready to run this offense at peak efficiency, at least not yet he is not. The Redskins are not quite ready to spread the ball around like Peyton Manning and the Broncos do. Griffin is coming off an injury, the offensive line needs some major adjustments before it can consistently give Griffin the necessary time and give Morris large enough holes to run through. McVay is going to look to mix run and pass very evenly, and considering how many notable receivers on the roster, some guys might get the number of touches they anticipated.

At its core, the challenge through training camp, preseason, and into the regular season will be ensuring that each offensive player embraces their role. We saw Andre Roberts complain earlier in the offseason upon the signing of DeSean Jackson as he sounded upset his role had been slightly diminished. It is up to guys like Roberts, Reed, maybe even Garcon and Jackson some games to realize that the success of the Redskins’ attack lies in the numbers of effective skill players they possess. It might seem like this is a challenge most teams have, but most teams do not have an offense loaded with egos.

If Sean McVay can find a way to spread the wealth evenly and manage all these personalities, the Redskins are poised to have a mosnter season offensively. If McVay is not up to the challenge, the Redskins could find themselves in an unfavorable position on the field and in the locker room. It seems as if there is a certain key which the Redskins must hit to be successful, it will be interesting to see if Gruden and McVay can hit the right notes.