July 29, 2010

Five Guys I'll Be Watching At Camp

I'll be at training camp tomorrow. This will be a huge time for 'Skins Talk. I have credentials for my work on Sports Fan Live, but I'll be providing some nuggets on here too.

Here's five guys I can't wait to watch in camp.

1. Donovan McNabb

It's a no-brainer. The buzz is going to to revolve around two players: McNabb and Albert Haynesworth. It's that way for a reason. McNabb is the biggest thing to hit the Redskins in forever while Haynesworth has been the story all offseason.

Obviously, McNabb will need protection to be productive, but the ultimate question is how much he'll help the WRs improve.

No offense to Jason Campbell, but he just couldn't take charge and make his receivers better. McNabb can do that. I'm interested to watch his interactions with them and see how much guys like Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas can improve under him.

2. Albert Haynesworth

He may be with the second team for now, but I predict he'll be in shape and move up with the first team within the week.

But where will he play. The 'Skins seem to have confidence that Ma'ake Kemoeatu can play at NT, meaning Haynesworth might be used primarily as a DE in the new 3-4 defense.

Either way I expect him to be a force this season so long as he cooperates with Mike Shanahan. If each side can maintain a mutual respect for one another, Haynesworth might be a beloved figure by the end of the year in DC.

Hard to imagine I know, but if Haynesworth plays to his potential, the Redskins defense will be in the top ten in the NFL. And fans won't say boo to that.

3. Ryan Torain

This one is from left field. I have yet to see Torain play yet I have a feeling he's going to make a push for a roster spot.

Willie Parker has reportedly lost his edge, and with Brian Westbrook still unsigned, Torain might be able to play his way onto the roster as a third-string RB.

Torain was drafted by Shanahan in 2008 by Denver in the fifth round out of Arizona State University. Torain played in two games in 2008 before tearing his ACL in his first start against Cleveland.

Torain was released by the Broncos in August of 2009 and then signed by the Redskins in April after Shanahan took over.

Shanahan also brought over G Korey Lichtensteiger after Denver and Minnesota released him. Both Lichtensteiger and Torain were Shanahan draftees who Josh McDaniels let go after he took over for Shanny in Denver.

Both bear watching considering Shanahan is clearly interested in seeing what they can bring to the table. Torain ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine.

4. Lorenzo Alexander

Alexander could very well beat out Andre Carter for the starting OLB spot opposite Brian Orakpo. Alexander has played numerous positions during his four-year stint as a Redskin including all along the defensive line, offensive line and special teams.

Alexander has excelled at all of them and now coaches are thrilled with his performance during the offseason workouts. Alexander wouldn't seem like a good fit at the OLB position especially in coverage, but so far so good.

I want to see if he possesses the athleticism necessary to rush the passer and cover tight ends. Alexander is a big guy, but he has lost around 25 pounds and coaches are loving him.

Add to this that Carter really isn't great fit as a multi-dimensional OLB (great hustle and straightline speed, but not so sure about his change of direction abilities), and Alexander might be the guy.

5. Kareem Moore

Moore was starting at FS during the mini-camps. That's a big story considering he has started just twice during his two-year career.

Moore is most remembered for this gaffe in a game last year vs. New Orleans, but he does have decent range and is probably the most qualified safety on the roster to play centerfield. Still, he has some competition from experienced veteran Reed Doughty.

Doughty is better in a backup role, but if coaches discover that Moore can't handle a starting role, Doughty is a viable option.

Personally, I like Moore and if he can show he understand the new defensive schemes, I believe he has the athleticism to be the starting FS opposite LaRon Landry.

More to come tomorrow. I'll be tweeting throughout camp from @dcship6.

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