- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Washington Redskins may not have HBO’s “Hard Knocks” chronicling this year’s training camp, but there’s still plenty of intrigue when players report on Wednesday. With a quarterback competition set to begin in earnest and their star left tackle poised to hold out, the Redskins are in for as much camp drama as any team in the league.

Here are the eight biggest storylines on tap in Richmond.

If not the rookie QB, who?

The Redskins will give their No. 1 draft pick every opportunity to win the job as starting quarterback, but coach Jay Gruden insists that Dwayne Haskins has to beat out Case Keenum and Colt McCoy. The 22-year-old had an uneven spring — impressive on some throws, careless on others. If he has to sit, how long a leash do Keenum and McCoy get before fans clamor for the rookie?

Sharing: Not Peterson’s style

Adrian Peterson has said all the right things when it comes to splitting carries with Derrius Guice. He praised Guice’s skill set and said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. Peterson, though, got frustrated when the New Orleans Saints asked for something similar. It will be up to Gruden to manage the workload effectively. Guice was projected as a lead back before tearing his ACL as a rookie last season. Will he be the same player, post-injury? If he isn’t, the Redskins might not need to split carries at all.

Wideouts were wipeouts

The Redskins desperately need a jolt of energy at wide receiver. The unit was among the NFL’s least productive groups last year, and that’s why the Redskins sought an upgrade with draft picks Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon. Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn are the “established” players at wideout, but there are doubts about each. Despite the uncertainty, Gruden called the receivers “the most exciting group” on the roster during voluntary workouts.

Last year of ‘The Reed and Davis Show’?

This could be it for Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis as Redskins. Davis is entering the final year of his deal, while Reed can be cut in 2020 for relatively little ($1.8 million in dead money). Reed never found a rhythm with Alex Smith last season and spent the final three games sidelined with a foot injury. The Redskins say Reed makes a real difference — when he’s on the field. But he’s been unable to replicate or surpass his 2015 production (87 catches for 952 yards).

A black hole waits to eat the season

With apologies to Brandon Scherff — who is entering the last year of his contract and whose long-term future with Washington is up in the air — Trent Williams’ potential holdout overshadows every other question at camp, even arguably the quarterback competition. The NFL Network reported Monday that Williams is not expected to report, leaving Washington with a massive void at left tackle. Williams appears to want a new contract and is upset over the team’s handling of a diagnosis of a growth on his scalp. How long will this holdout last?

The upside upfront

The defensive line, featuring the imposing trio of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis, is the deepest position group on the roster. Even the backups — Tim Settle and Caleb Brantley — appear to be solid. Together, it’s a talented young core that should be the strength of the defense. But are they an elite unit? Last season, the Redskins were one of the league’s top defenses early, before fading in the second half. When the Redskins were at their best, the defensive line played a major role. They need to get back to that.

Linebacker youth movement

The Redskins released veteran linebacker Mason Foster on Tuesday, signaling they’re ready to go all-in on their youth at inside linebacker. Foster, 30, spent four seasons with Washington, started all 16 games in 2018 and was named a team captain. But by releasing him, the Redskins will save $4 million. Without Foster, the Redskins have veteran Jon Bostic (signed in May), second-year Shaun Dion Hamilton, 25-year-old Josh Harvey-Clemons and rookie Cole Holcomb. Outside Bostic, this is an unproven group with not a lot of depth behind them. The Redskins already released Zach Brown this offseason and lost Reuben Foster to a torn ACL.

Collins needs a co-star

Washington’s splashiest free-agent signing in years happened this offseason when Landon Collins agreed to a six-year, $84 million deal. The Redskins are excited about the hard-hitting impact and leadership the 25-year-old can provide. But while there’s optimism over Collins, the safety spot across from him remains in flux. Third-year safety Montae Nicholson is the most logical candidate to start, though he hasn’t been the same player since suffering a concussion his rookie season in 2017. If Nicholson can’t earn the spot, Washington also has Troy Apke, Deshazor Everett, Jeremy Reaves and undrafted free agent JoJo McIntosh.

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