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News, Notes, + Pre-Camp Depth Chart

  • Top draft pick Trent Williams remained unsigned with a little more than a week left before the start of camp. If Williams misses time, he’ll become the ninth of owner Dan Snyder’s 11 first-rounders to do so.
  • Rogers is the only other unsigned current Redskin, but he has said that he will definitely sign and report on time.
  • Colt Brennan has never taken a regular-season snap for the Redskins, but the 2008 rookie is the only one of Washington’s four quarterbacks to even wear the burgundy and gold in a preseason game.

    Drafted in the sixth round after a stellar career at Hawaii, Brennan came to his first NFL camp recovering from surgery on his right hip but went on to shine that summer and make the team as the No. 3 quarterback behind young starter Jason Campbell and veteran backup Todd Collins. Brennan hoped to beat out Collins last summer but didn’t play as well before suffering an injury to his left hip and undergoing season-ending surgery.

    So now Brennan has to show a coaching staff that didn’t draft him that he deserves to beat out practice squad veteran Richard Bartel to be No. 3 behind veteran quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman, both former Super Bowl starters.

    “I want to let (the coaches) know that in the future, down the road, I can be a guy for them,” Brennan said. “I’m pretty comfortable out there. It’s all about getting everything going from the playbook to being back out there feeling brand new. I had the same surgery that A-Rod and Kurt Warner have had and I went to the same doctor. I’m feeling good. For two years I heard, ‘Hey you’ve got to speed it up,’ and now they’re telling me to slow it down, which is a good thing to hear. My legs are back. I’m kind of surprised about how well my body has responded.”

  • Rookie Trent Williams is receiving loads of attention as he attempts to replace retired six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels in protecting the quarterback’s blind side.

    However, the fourth overall pick isn’t the only Washington newcomer with big shoes to fill.

    Nick Sundberg, who has yet to play in an NFL regular-season game, has taken over for veteran long snapper Ethan Albright, a Redskins fixture for nine virtually flawless seasons.

    Albright, who was chosen for the Pro Bowl in 2007, wasn’t re-signed by the new regime because he turned 39 in May and had back surgery during the offseason.

  • Quote:  “Buges was more my way or the highway. Foerster is more, ‘Try it this way and if it doesn’t work, I’ll teach you another way.'”

    – Offensive tackle Stephon Heyer on the differences between former line coach Joe Bugel and newcomer Chris Foerster.

Current Depth Chart:

Quarterbacks:

Starter – Donovan McNabb.
Backups – Rex Grossman, Colt Brennan, Richard Bartel.

Since owner Dan Snyder foolishly soured on 4,000-yard passer/1999 NFC East champion Brad Johnson in 2000, the Redskins have gone through nine quarterbacks from the too-bitter Jeff George to the too-nice Jason Campbell. A decade later, Washington finally has a big-time quarterback and leader again in McNabb, who had one of his best years for the Eagles in 2009. McNabb, who played in a similar offense to coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s the past 11 years in Philadelphia, should certainly be an upgrade over the inconsistent Campbell, even though he’ll turn 34 in November. Former Bears starter Grossman, who learned the offense with the 2009 Texans, should be the backup. Brennan, a 2008 preseason star, has the edge over practice squad journeyman Bartel for the No. 3 job.

Running Backs:

Starters – Clinton Portis, FB Mike Sellers.
Backups – Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Ryan Torain, FB Dennis Morris, Keiland Williams, Darrel Young.

Portis, whom coach Mike Shanahan traded to Washington in 2004 because of a contract dispute that followed two spectacular seasons in Denver, led the NFL in rushing at midseason 2008. Johnson was a stud for Kansas City in 2005-06. Parker was an ace for Pittsburgh from 2005-07. Trouble is that was then and this is now. Portis, who’ll be 29 in September, was slumping before missing the second half of 2009 with a concussion. Johnson, who’ll 31 in November, was a disgruntled backup last year. So was Parker, who’ll be 30 in November. It will be hard to keep two of these once-elite backs happy, let alone three. Portis goes to camp as the starter, although Johnson looked the best this spring. Torain, who also played for Shanahan in Denver, could be the young, change-of-pace back if he can stay healthy. Draft pick Morris will learn from Sellers, 35, who went to the Pro Bowl in 2007.

Tight Ends:

Starter – Chris Cooley.
Backups – Fred Davis, Lee Vickers, Logan Paulsen.

The goofy but productive Cooley was coming off consecutive Pro Bowls when he suffered a season-ending broken ankle in Week 7 of 2009. Davis, a bust as a rookie in 2008, took over and sparkled, giving McNabb two prime weapons in the West Coast offense. The massive Vickers had a good spring while undrafted rookie Paulsen showed enough to allow the Redskins to cut up blocking tight end Sean Ryan, whom they had signed during their initial free-agent spending spree in March.

Wide Receivers:

Starters – Santana Moss, Devin Thomas.
Backups – Malcolm Kelly, Joey Galloway, Bobby Wade, Mike Furrey, Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Roydell Williams, Brandon Banks, Shay Hodge.

The undersized Moss is still a reliable target at 31 but has never quite recaptured the form that made him a Pro Bowl pick during his 2005 Redskins debut. What’s more, Moss missed most of the spring following knee surgery and is embroiled in the human growth hormone case surrounding a Canadian doctor and could face an NFL suspension. Thomas and Kelly shared the other starting job in 2009, but the 2008 second-round draft picks have been limited: Thomas by his lack of maturity, Kelly by his body. Ex-star Galloway is 38 and was cut in each of the past two years. Wade has started for three seasons but is a journeyman. Furrey had a monster year for Detroit in 2006 but is 33. Williams was out of the league the past two years after leading Tennessee in catches in 2007. Armstrong, a practice squad member in 2009, looked great on deep routes in the spring, as did undrafted rookie Hodge. Draft pick Austin excels on returns, as does pint-size undrafted rookie Banks.

Offensive Linemen:

Starters – LT Trent Williams, LG Derrick Dockery, C Casey Rabach, RG Artis Hicks, RT Jammal Brown.

Backups – G Mike Williams, T Stephon Heyer, G Chad Rinehart, G Kory Lichtensteiger, G/C Will Montgomery, C/G Edwin Williams, T William Robinson, T Clint Oldenburg, C/G Erik Cook. T Selvish Capers.

At midseason 2008, the Redskins’ ground game was on fire, but age and injuries caught up to that line, with Rabach the only survivor. Fourth overall pick Trent Williams has the proverbial big shoes to fill in replacing six-time Pro Bowl pick Samuels as the blindside pass protector. Dockery, who returned in 2009 after two years in Buffalo, is serviceable, which is more than you can say about the line’s right side last season. That outlook changed dramatically with the June trade for two-time Pro Bowl pick Brown. He’s a huge upgrade over 2009 starter Heyer and moved free-agent signee Hicks inside to compete with Mike Williams, who lost 110 pounds last year in his return from two years out of the league. However, Williams is apparently out for the season, although the team hasn’t officially announced anything. Rinehart, a third-rounder in 2008, has been a disappointment. Montgomery and Edwin Williams had shots last year as injuries swamped the line. Ex-Bronco Lichtensteiger and draft picks Cook and Capers will be given the opportunity to beat out the holdovers for backup jobs.

Defensive Linemen:

Starters – LDE Phillip Daniels, NT Maake Kemoeatu, RDE Albert Haynesworth.

Backups – E/T Adam Carriker, DE Kedric Golston, DE Vonnie Holliday, NT Howard Green, DE Darrion Scott, NT Anthony Bryant, DE Rob Jackson, DL Trey Jacobs.

Much depends on the talented but selfish and moody Haynesworth. After blowing off the offseason, including the mandatory minicamp, is he willing to ask for forgiveness and get with the program? Will the coaches and his teammates, some of whom blasted him in June, accept him back? And if both those events occur, how will the former defensive tackle react to his role in the new 3-4 scheme and how he plays. In his Washington debut in 2009, Haynesworth drew double teams and was a boon to edge rushers Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo, who each recorded 11 sacks. It would make greatly ease the tension if Kemoeatu can man the nose after missing all of 2009 with a torn Achilles tendon. Carriker isn’t suited for the spot and Green isn’t a full-time player. Daniels, 37, remains a run stopper. The well-traveled, versatile Holliday rolls on at 34. Golston is a solid, willing worker.

Linebackers:

Starters – WOLB Andre Carter, WILB Rocky McIntosh, SILB London Fletcher, SOLB Brian Orakpo.

Backups – OLB Lorenzo Alexander, OLB Chris Draft, OLB Chris Wilson, ILB H.B. Blades, OLB Jeremy Jarmon, ILB Robert Henson, LB Perry Riley, LB Curtis Gatewood.

The 3-4 scheme should suit the athletic Orakpo, a standout as a rookie in 2009. Fletcher, who switches from the middle, was chosen for his first Pro Bowl at 34 after leading the NFL in tackles over past 11 years. Fletcher is also the leader of the defense, on and off the field. Former weak side starter McIntosh, a sure tackler, doesn’t excel in pass coverage. That was also true of Carter when San Francisco went to a 3-4 in 2005. However, he believes that experience is helping as he makes the transition from end again at 31. Alexander, who has played on both lines for Washington, took to linebacker with aplomb this spring. Draft, who played for coordinator Jim Haslett in St. Louis, might not have much left at 34. Pass rusher Wilson made the move from end to linebacker last year that 2009 rookie Jarmon, who’s coming off a broken leg, will begin to attempt in camp. The undersized Blades is a survivor. Fourth-rounder Riley can play inside or outside.

Defensive Backs:

Starters – LCB Carlos Rogers, RCB DeAngelo Hall, SS LaRon Landry, FS Kareem Moore.

Backups – CB Phillip Buchanon, S Reed Doughty, S Chris Horton, CB Justin Tryon, CB Byron Westbrook, S Lendy Holmes, CB Ramzee Robinson, CB Kevin Barnes, S Anderson Russell, CB Doug Dutch.

Rogers, who’s in the final year of his contract again, is happier under Haslett after clashing with ex-coordinator Greg Blache in 2008 and 2009. Hall hasn’t been the standout expected from his Atlanta tenure, especially against the run, but he’s the secondary’s lone serious ballhawk. Free-agent pickup Buchanon will push Rogers while Tryon was much improved in 2009 after a dreadful rookie year. Landry, who missed the final month of the spring with an ailing toe, moves back to strong safety where his hard hitting is a plus and his lack of interceptions is less of a minus. Since Doughty and Horton, who shared the spot next to Landry the past two seasons, are also both better fits at strong than free, 2008 rookie Moore will get his first serious chance to show he can be a starter.

Special Teams:

K Graham Gano, P Josh Bidwell, LS Nick Sundberg, KR Thomas, KR Torain, PR Buchanon, PR Moss, PR Hall, KR Austin, KR/PR Banks.

Gano did enough in his four games as a rookie in 2009 and this spring to go to camp as the only kicker. Bidwell, another of the many additions who played for general manager Bruce Allen in Tampa Bay, succeeds another proven veteran, Hunter Smith. However, Sundberg hasn’t played a regular-season snap as he tries to replace 15-year veteran Ethan Albright. Thomas, who supplanted the solid but unspectacular Rock Cartwright late last year, and Buchanon, who succeeds the very disappointing Antwaan Randle El, should get the first crack at returns. Moss and Hall are more pinch-hitters than regulars here. Blades and Doughty lead the stellar coverage units.

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