Sun, 26 Sep 2021

#PickSix: Training Camp Is Almost Upon Us

Washington Redskins
23 Jul 2021, 17:03 GMT+10

The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.

Washington is only five days away from heading to Richmond for training camp, and fans are giving one last look their favorite positions. Here's what Washington's faithful want to know.

Ben H.:Why not useShaka Toneyas a pass rusher from the outside linebacker position on 3rd downs?

Anyone who's been reading the PickSix for the past few weeks knows how excited I am for what Toney could do in this defense. Obviously Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio will want to get as many pass-rushers on the field as possible, but I think there are other ways to do that besides putting Toney at outside linebacker. Keep in mind what Del Rio said way back when he was first hired: he wants his rusher's hands in the dirt more and dropping back in coverage less. It wouldn't be a shock for Del Rio to get creative by putting more edge rushers on the field. But I don't think it'll be that way.

Rio R.: What do you feel is the best position group outside of the defensive line?

I thought about this question for a while, and I'll slightly reframe it to which I'm most excited about, based on the talent at the position. I tried to think of one outside of receiver, but that's probably my answer. There are so many good players in that group, and not just Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. Even guys like Isaiah Wright, who was my favorite dark horse to make the roster last year, bring something to the table. I'm not sure who will make the cut (I'm glad I don't have to make that decision) but whoever is on the roster can help the offense be more explosive.

Christopher H.: North Carolina Football Team Fan here. What does the running back position look like and who seems to maybe have the early edge in starting in the backfield?

The last part of this question is pretty easy, Christopher. I would label Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic as the "1" and "1A" of the group, although I imagine Gibson gets the slight edge. But the position itself is probably one of the most stable on the team with all the major pieces coming back. The only questions I see pertain to how many they keep on the roster and whether Jaret Patterson makes the roster. The team kept four last year, and I don't see that number changing. As for Patterson, he has some good traits, but he's also going against some tough competition.

Michael H.: I'm thinking back to when DeSean Jackson first got to Tampa Bay. What is your level of confidence that Dyami Brown will have a similar connection on the deep ball with Fitzpatrick?

I wouldn't go that far yet, Michael, but I like where your thinking is. Brown is a known deep threat; Fitzpatrick likes to take shots downfield. On paper, that looks like a natural connection. But don't forget that Brown is a rookie. Of course it would be fun if Brown had an impact like A.J. Brown, Justin Jefferson and D.K. Metcalf in his first year, but those players are the exception, not the rule. That kind of production normally takes time. Don't get it twisted, though; I fully expect to see Brown make some plays. But let's see what he does in a couple of games first before we start expecting DeSean Jackson-level numbers.

@WFT_: How is Ron Rivera and the staff preparing differently for this 17-game season? A little on his philosophy with regards to full pads would be cool.

Health will always be a priority for Rivera, so you can expect him to prepare his players for the marathon of the longer season. I don't know his thoughts exactly (I don't have his number on speed dial to ask), but let's look at his actions. He gave the team a couple days off during minicamp because he was satisfied with their work. There are only so many days teams are allowed to require full pads, but if he's happy with the team's progress, I don't think he'll have full-padded practices just for the sake of it.

@TheBurgundyZone:Can Washington's new offense execute enough so the defense will have a chance vs Top offenses this season?

People bring up this indirect relationship a lot, and for good reason. There's something to it, although it's more of an emotional support to me. Imagine for a minute that you're Chase Young (admit it, you've all done it at least once) and you recover a fumble, giving your offense the ball back at midfield. Ryan Fitzpatrick then leads the offense down the field and scores. That gives you a confidence boost and you feel a little bit of the pressure come off your shoulders. That's how the offense can help the defense the most. It's being able to finish drives in the end zone, and with all the weapons and experience that Washington has, it should at least improve from putting up 21 points per game in 2020.

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