ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington Redskins entered training camp last season with a different starting quarterback, and to some extent, a contrary mindset moving forward. In 2016, there appears to be more stability with a brazen sense of confidence after winning the NFC East Division crown just a year ago. A cohesive offensive line, a […]
ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington Redskins entered training camp last season with a different starting quarterback, and to some extent, a contrary mindset moving forward.
In 2016, there appears to be more stability with a brazen sense of confidence after winning the NFC East Division crown just a year ago.
A cohesive offensive line, a confident veteran quarterback at the helm, a vastly improved defensive unit, and a lot of new key offensive threats has the Redskins’ staff brimming with optimism going into camp.
“The depth, you can see it,” said Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden. “When the ones go out and the twos come in, you don’t see a major drop-off. There are a lot of good players. And then our third group goes out there and there’s some skill out there you can see that is just dying to be developed.
“It’s going to be very difficult, but it will all play itself out. We’ve got a great group of guys and they’re all working hard and that’s exciting.”
The Redskins were in dire need for a shutdown cornerback for some time now. Although the team did add former Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, Washington believes it still has another top flight corner in Bashaud Breeland. Breeland played exceptionally well in the wake of an injury-riddled secondary last year and accounted for 81 tackles (career high), three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Gruden believes his role will not change.
“(Breeland) is considered a top corner,” Gruden said. “You kind of laugh at how you’d say you’ve got a No. 1 receiver, No. 2 receiver. You need two to three good receivers, and you need three to four good cornerbacks.
“It depends on the formation who he’s going to get, but he’s a quality corner. He can play nickel also, he’s very versatile, and he’s an excellent special teamer. But his role won’t change. He’s going to play a lot of football for us in a lot of different ways and he’s going to help this team win a lot of games.”
Quarterback Kirk Cousins has noticed a difference at how well the defense has improved thus far. Despite being cool and composed during his reads and progressions throughout the mini-camp practices statistically, Cousins had to work for every throw he attempted.
“Well, obviously a second year under Coach (Joe) Barry has got to help them,” Cousins said. “Like we just talked about with experience, there’s value there. I think they’ve added some really good pieces on all positions.
“It’s exciting. I think we have good potential and I love seeing what they’re doing, the confidence they’re playing with. I think a guy like DeAngelo Hall at safety is a good fit. I think Josh Norman is a great fit at corner. I think Will Compton is a great fit at middle linebacker. I think guys like Preston Smith, who we talked about, Ryan Kerrigan, Kendall Reyes – everybody is fitting in and finding their role and it’s going to help up come the fall.”
As the Redskins get ready to embark on their road to Richmond, Gruden believes there will be a lot for the fans to cheer about. There will undoubtedly be trials and tribulations that the Redskins will ultimately endure during the summer months, but the team is committed to optimizing the talent of their depth this year.
“I think we’ve had a great start to the season, we really have,” Gruden said. “I think the way we have gone about our business in the weight room and in the meeting rooms, and then on the practice field with the intensity they practice with, we can carry that over to next year. Training camp, I think good things will happen to us. We just have to stay focused, stay humble and get after it.”