- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Washington Redskins’ full-squad minicamp starts today. Training camp is six weeks away and the season opener less than three months away. The offseason has been relatively tranquil even with the regular amount of free agent splurging and Sean Taylor drama. But several questions need to be answered, and this weekend could provide some clarity.

1. What happens at weak-side linebacker?

The competition is on hold for six weeks (until training camp). Rookie Rocky McIntosh had knee surgery on Wednesday, leaving the first-team snaps to Chris Clemons and Warrick Holdman. McIntosh could start in due time (late September, early October). Clemons is athletic, but never has played an every down role. Holdman had a measly 23 tackles and started seven games last year. Something to consider is that Holdman didn’t play special teams last year. If he doesn’t win the starting spot, does the team use a valuable roster spot on him?

2. Campbell or Collins as the No. 2 quarterback?

Starter Mark Brunell’s broken finger will keep him out of minicamp, he turns 36 in September and struggled in the playoffs. That makes the back-up position even more important this year. How the Redskins hope this plays out: Jason Campbell performs well during the preseason and wins the No. 2 job, giving him more snaps during practice running the Redskins offense instead of the scout team. That’s not a knock on Todd Collins inasmuch as it’s important to get Campbell ready for a 2007 debut. If Campbell struggles during the preseason, the Redskins will be forced to make Collins the top back-up.

3. Which receiver should be nervous?

The Redskins have a glut of receivers and Taylor Jacobs is on thin ice. Santana Moss and Brandon Lloyd are the starters and Antwaan Randle El and David Patten will also see plenty of time in three- and four-wide receiver formations. That leaves one more roster spot. James Thrash gets the edge over Jacobs because he’s a more reliable receiver, plays special teams and is a JGG (Joe Gibbs Guy). Jacobs and Jimmy Farris are likely being kept around for insurance in case of injury.

4. How many starting jobs are actually open?

On offense, none, unless Patten or Randle El have better preseasons than Lloyd. The offensive line and backfield remain intact. On defense, Gregg Williams will say there are 11 jobs open because he hates the ‘S’ word. But the only “front line” position open is weak-side linebacker. The defensive line is solidified with Andre Carter and the secondary is set with Carlos Rogers joining the lineup full-time and Adam Archuleta coming from St. Louis. On special teams, both the kicking and punting jobs could be up for grabs.

5. How concerning should the injury situation be?

It should be a concern. Brunell is expected to be ready for training camp, but he’s had calf, hamstring and knee problems during his two seasons with the Redskins. McIntosh’s surgery has been described as minor. And Randy Thomas (leg), Casey Rabach (shoulder, leg), Chris Samuels (knee), Lemar Marshall (shoulder) and Renaldo Wynn (arm) are either fully recovered or on the right track. Rabach and reserves Tyson Walter and Nic Clemons will be limited this weekend. But especially on the offensive line and at cornerback, one long-term injury could be disastrous.

Ryan O’Halloran

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