Early Observations From Redskins Training Camp

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Here are four takeaways from the first four days of training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Virginia.

1. The quarterback battle is in full swing.

This seems to be a very healthy quarterback competition. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins has garnered plenty of praise in Richmond for his poise and arm talent, some of which came from a player he's competing against for the starting spot.

“He’ll be a great quarterback for a long time," quarterback Case Keenum said Friday. "He makes big time throws with guys in his face.”

All three quarterbacks have shown promise so far in camp, and there's pros and cons to each of them lining up under center to start the regular season. The rest of training camp, as well as preseason games, will provide valuable insight for head coach Jay Gruden and his staff as to who should win the job.

2) Wide receiver Terry McLaurin and tight end Jordan Reed have been a few of the top performers.

The Redskins are hopeful one of their wide receivers will emerge as a consistent option this season, and so far rookie Terry McLaurin has looked the part. He has displayed his crisp route running abilities, reliable hands and top-end speed that made him so productive at Ohio State and a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Tight end Jordan Reed has also shown some of that explosiveness that made him a dominant force in 2015, when he recorded nearly 1,000 receiving yards. A healthy Jordan Reed is a dangerous Jordan Reed, especially in an offense that already features the running back trio of Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson and a slew of talented wideouts. His presence creates mismatches over the middle of the field that opens things up for everyone else.

It’ll be interesting to see how these two produce as training camp and the rest of the preseason progresses. Having consistent pass catchers would be invaluable to whoever ends up being the starting quarterback.

3) The defensive line has looked as good as advertised.

The clear strength of the Redskins defense lies in the trenches. Thanks to a pair of first-round picks (Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne) and a late-round steal (Matt Ioannidis), the unit has developed into a consistent force.

Allen has emerged as an all-around interior defensive lineman and a respected leader, Payne looks to build off of his impressive rookie season and Ioannidis has proven himself to be a consistent inside pass-rusher, which earned him a contract extension in the offseason. Tim Settle, a 2018 fifth-round pick, has also contributed as a key rotational piece.

During training camp, the defensive line has consistently won at the point of attack and will look to build on that momentum in ensuing practices.

4) The defense as a whole looks poised for a dominant season.

The defense was playing at a high level in 2018 before widespread injuries crippled the team's depth. First, starting quarterback Alex Smith went down, and soon after the backup-turned-starter, Colt McCoy, was also done for the season. These injuries significantly hindered the offense, which struggled to sustain drives and therefore forced the defense to stay on the field longer.

However, the Redskins are mostly healthy entering training camp. The team welcomed back Guice, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL to pair with Peterson in the backfield. Add in Thompson, Samaje Perine and Bryce Love, and you get a running backs room coach Randy Jordan said is the "best he's ever been a part of." Their production should allow the defense to stay fresh both in games and throughout the season.

The Redskins also have a dangerous pass rush when you consider the defensive line trio of veteran Ryan Kerrigan, who combined for 37 sacks the past three seasons, and first-round rookie Montez Sweat, a freakish athlete with loads of potential. And don't forget about the offseason signing of All-Pro Landon Collins.

There are some questions, starting at inside linebacker. The Redskins let Zach Brown go this offseason, and they recently released Mason Foster, the team's leading tackler a year ago. They also had high hopes for offseason signee Reuben Foster before he suffered a season-ending injury during the first day of OTAs in May.

That leaves a position group short on experience, but they do have some pieces in place. Second-year player Shaun Dion-Hamilton looks ready to take over one of the starting spots with his quality instincts and coverage strengths. Offseason addition Jon Bostic has also performed well during training camp and gives the defense a savvy veteran to lean on. Cole Holcomb and Josh Harvey Clemons are also potential contributors.

When assessing the defense, perhaps Allen said it best:

"We have a bunch of pieces, but pieces don't win games."

It will be interesting to see if the Redskins can turn all of this potential into consistent production during the fall.

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