Four Things to Watch in Washington Football Team Training Camp
The Washington Football Team kicks off the 2020-21 season this week, as the entire organization convenes in Ashburn, Virginia.
This will be the first time under the new regime, where Coach Ron Rivera can finally meet his team face-to-face, as opposed to through a camera lens or Zoom conference.
Although the first few days of Ashburn are mostly logistical in regard to meetings, health checks, and equipment distribution, it is a great feeling to get back to football again.
Heading into training camp, there are several storylines to monitor, but here are the ones I'm keeping an eye on.
The Development of Dwayne Haskins
Heading into year two, incumbent starter Dwayne Haskins has a lot to prove this season. Under conditions that were not ideal, he struggled to produce consistently last year. Over nine games, including seven starts, he completed 58.6% of his passes for 1365 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He will be asked to do much more this season, because barring any unexpected circumstances, he’s QB1 for the foreseeable future.
This offseason, Haskins has shined during workout videos, and it is clear he has lost significant weight.
He has also been documented working out with an array of NFL superstars, including Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton, Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown.
Washington fans should be cautiously optimistic that these off-season workouts will translate to on-the-field production. The season, and potentially the franchise, rests in the hands of the young QB.
Training Camp Under Rivera
It is well-documented that Washington had a complete cleanse of its program this off-season. And it has been stated repeatedly that the program is going to change its culture under Rivera. Now is the time to see if this change is tangible, or just simply more coachspeak.
Watching practices under Rivera will be an interesting case-study over the next month. Having a defensive-minded coach usually favors more physical practices and an emphasis on contact.
This may be a welcome reprieve from what we have seen over the last six seasons in Richmond. Although former Head Coach Jay Gruden was known for his offensive prowess, his practices were considered lax and somewhat disorganized. Hence the "Club Jay" moniker he developed over the years. Will Rivera and company be different? We'll see.
Chase Young Against Professional Competition
The last time a Washington prospect has received this much hype before stepping on the field was Robert Griffin III in 2012. Coincidentally, he was taken as the second overall pick, just like edge rusher Chase Young.
It has been stated on numerous outlets how great of a prospect Young can be, and some have deemed him as a "generational talent". I personally think that term is used very loosely, and should be earned, not given.
The professional game offers a different type of speed, and is more nuanced. And Young’s distinct physical advantage is somewhat off-set at the pro level. It'll be interesting to see if he shines brightly in Ashburn.
If he does, that's a good indication of an upcoming successful year. Let’s hope he makes it to September healthy.
“New Year, New Me”
Finally, and fading from football a little bit, it will be interesting to see the aesthetics of the team over the next few weeks. It is unprecedented for a team to completely rebrand itself in the late-July, a mere week or two before training camp. What does that look like? How will it shake out? Will the team give further hints of logos and branding this week? It's definitely something to keep an eye out for. This is a hotly debated issue on social media, and I’m sure fans are eager.
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George Carmi joined "Washington Football" on SI.com in April. He is also an editor/contributing writer to FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. He is a native of the DC metropolitan area and is an avid fan of DC Sports. A former journalism major at the University of Maryland, his focus is now in public education. His earliest memories consist of Darrell Green, "The Posse" and Super Bowl XXVI. Follow him on twitter @Gcarmi21