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What worries me and what doesn’t

By Mark Solway | September 5th, 2007

Week 1 of the NFL is the often the answer to eight months of questions for every team. For the Redskins, it’s finally time to see whether the payoff of Campbell’s offseason work ethic will be immediately apparent. LaRon Landry has looked good in practice: will he step seamlessly into a full-length NFL game, without too many mistakes? And what about that defensive line? In recent weeks, some questions, like those surrounding first round pick Landry, have become less a point of concern and more a bit of optimism. Other questions, like those surrounding the offensive line, have become the focus of fans and media. I want to highlight three areas that are important and about which I have some concerns: The Offensive Line What worries me: Our five starters for the season will play together for the first time. Chris Samuels admits that the knee injury was a major setback in his conditioning for the season, and he has to face the NFL defensive player of the year Jason Taylor. What doesn’t: Pete Kendall stepping into our line. He looked very good against the Jaguars and is an accomplished pro with at least one or two years left in the gas tank. A newly acquired Kendall is better than the Todd Wade experiment or Mike Pucillo. Speaking of the backups, the depth on our offensive line – for several seasons a concern – is no longer an issue. We are very strong coming off the bench. Receivers What worries me: Health. Our receiving core returned strong to OTA’s and camp, but since then each starter has missed some time with various injuries. Moss has a hamstring that seems tender, and the team has often held him back in practice. Lloyd developed shin splints. Antwaan Randle El suffered a bruised quadriceps, although to be fair he seems to have recovered fully from it. What doesn’t: Attitude. Last season had an air of stardom, with Moss and Cooley coming off career seasons and the high profile entrances of Brandon Lloyd and Randle El. This was, of course, followed by a disappointing season with little production. In response, Lloyd worked hard in the offseason, returning to camp with an extra 15 pounds of muscle. He admitted that, in previous years, training camp was his way of getting in shape, but that this year he came in focused and ready to play. He has since scored his first TD as a Redskin, hopefully with more to come. Randle El looks sharp and had great concentration on his TD grab against Jacksonville. Moss appears more in his 2005 form than his 2006 form. The arrogance of last year has been replaced by a sense of urgency. Defensive Line What worries me: Losing veteran leaders Joe Salave’a and Renaldo Wynn in an offseason where the Skins were criticized for not bringing in fresh talent. Griffin’s health remains a concern. What doesn’t: The fact that we released Salave’a and Wynn suggests that young players such as Chris Wilson and Lorenzo Alexander may be the real deal. Put those two names together with last year’s draft picks Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston, and you’ve got a veritable youth movement on the defensive line. The success of such a movement, thankfully, is not something to worry about for another year or…

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