Washington Redskins Team President Bruce Allen has announced that Kirk Cousins will be playing on the franchise tag for the upcoming 2017 season. Though Allen has made the media aware of his offer, which includes a $53 million signing bonus, Cousins did not accept the deal. Allen’s pronunciation of “Kirk” as “Kurt” does not help the cause either.
Contract aside, the football season is just around the corner as Redskins training camp will be held at Richmond, Virginia and will be open to the public on July 27th.
Here are five things to watch during training camp:
Jay Gruden’s Command of the Offense
Sean McVay is now the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Although Matt Cavanaugh was promoted to be the Redskins new offensive coordinator, Gruden will be the play-caller. How productive can Kirk Cousins and the offense be without McVay? Can Gruden continue the success of the Redskins’ offense?
Rob Kelley vs. Samaje Perine
Rob Kelley had a very successful 2016 season, rushing for 704 yards with a 4.2 average in only nine starts. Rookie Samaje Perine did well as a Oklahoma Sooner, rushing for 4,122 yards and 49 touchdowns with a 6.0 average in his three seasons of play. Although Kelley enters training camp as the starter, Perine has all of the athletic traits to succeed. He is a multi-dimensional player who can carry and catch the ball. This should be a very fun battle to watch during training camp.
Josh Doctson’s Ascension…or Not
Doctson was the Redskins’ 2016 first round pick, but suffered an Achilles injury that resulted to him being active for only two games. Even with the addition of Terrelle Pryor, Doctson is expected to be the franchise’s number one receiver. The departures of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson will give him many more opportunities to prove to Gruden that he can be a reliable weapon on the offense. Another season ending injury could put him out of the starting lineup for good. Let’s see what he can do against Pro Bowl Cornerback Josh Norman and how his health checks out in camp.
Utilization of Zach Brown, Will Compton, and Mason Foster
Will Compton was the primary signal caller the past two seasons and is expected to be the same in 2017. Mason Foster had a breakout 2016 season with 124 tackles and Zach Brown was signed late this offseason but is coming off a breakout season as well, compiling 149 tackles and a trip to the Pro Bowl. Brown is one of the best inside linebackers against the run and is an immediate upgrade at the position. This stable of inside linebackers has never been more talented. All three linebackers are expected to play a big role on the Redskins’ defense. It will be very interesting to see how they will be used.
Position Battle: SAM Linebacker
The starting SAM linebacker position is Preston Smith’s to lose. He followed his eight sack rookie season with only 4.5 sacks in his sophomore campaign. Second round pick Ryan Anderson will be in contention for the starting job and will be a player to watch. Anderson is more athletic than his 4.78 40-yard dash suggests. Junior Galette is returning from a torn Achilles tendon and will steal some snaps whether Smith wins or loses the job. Coaches continue to express confidence in Smith but he has to prove he can be a consistently effective pass rusher.