By Nick Ashooh
This time last year, I can remember very vividly what things felt like around Redskins Training Camp. Plenty of questions about the defense, a cautious optimism about the run game improving, and this one guy--Kirk, something--that has a contract people seem to care about.
Feels kind of the same doesn't it?
Redskins Training Camp 2017 brings more questions than answers, similar to what we had last year. We're just swapping some names and positions, but in the grand scheme of things, this Redskins team has just as much to prove as 2016.
We know all about the Kirk Cousins contract situation. I've probably either spoken, or typed that sentence more than a thousand times. We've got another year of this topic too, so if you're sick of it, you better get those earmuffs on, and just sit out this season.
Even after his long-term situation, there's new weapons for Cousins too. More than enough variables there that are left to the "wait and see" pile for now.
The defense last year ended up having more people run through them than a retired prostitute, ranking 28th in yards allowed again. You have to give the Redskins credit in this regard though, they went out and added a ton of new faces this offseason, and we're looking at five to seven new starters on the field, if you include Su'a Cravens moving to safety.
It doesn't mean the names D.J. Swearinger, Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee, Jonathan Allen, Zach Brown, and Ryan Anderson will necessarily create a defense that makes opponents need adult diapers when they line up, but you have to at least feel optimistic that they can't be worse than the gaping hole they put on the field last year (*he typed, hoping these words wouldn't come back to bite him in the ass later this year*).
At running back, we know coach Jay Gruden drools over Rob Kelley like me over a plate of ribs, so you have to hope that appetite gets satisfied with more improvement from the undrafted surprise the Redskins were lucky enough to uncover last year.
Samaje Perine will without a doubt at least challenge Kelley as the starting running back, I mean, the guy DID lift a car at one point in his life.
Remember though, Gruden's second love, after Kelley, has always been Mack Brown, who had a 61 yard touchdown run against Chicago late last season.
If THAT didn't make Gruden pitch a tent, I don't know what will.
Obviously, there's predictions all over the map with this team. Vegas has the over/under set at 7.5, USA today went as far as to say this team will be 5-11.
That of course, sent Chris Russell into another fit of wild promises.
Is it bad that a small part of me is rooting for 5-11, just to see this? It's almost a 10 hour walk, which yes, I mapped out to see.
He should've just said Fed Ex Field, that's an easy three hour stroll compared to this.
Also, I didn't account for any sidewalk traffic either.
One thing we at least do know, is when it comes to questions, there can be good answers. The fact that the Redskins went out and addressed needs on defense, including bringing in line coach Jim Tomsula to make this defensive line at least something respectable, is a big plus.
Add a running back capable of picking up a car, and you get some points for that too (yes, I'm still obsessed with that story, so what).
I see the Redskins as an 8 win team, and it's hard to go higher than that, until we know more about how these pieces fit. I have high hopes for Terrelle Pryor, but he's only had one season as a true full-time receiver, so it's fair to wonder how he'll be in a new offense still learning the position, despite the rave reviews he's had in offseason workouts.
The biggest victory of all though, will be a football-driven year, and a Redskins team that stays away from any of the circus acts we've seen in the past.
Remember, If you aren't a reality show, you're already a winner in the eyes of Redskins fans.