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Camp storylines: No. 5 Special teams

With Redskins training camp opening Thursday afternoon, this week on Redskins Insider we'll count down the most pressing issues the team faces as players prepare to report.

With last year's specialists all chased from the roster, who will anchor the Redskins' special teams?

While so much focus this offseason has been on Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth, some key names from last season's roster -- Shaun Suisham, Hunter Smith, Antwaan Randle El, Rock Cartwright -- have departed. While fantasy team owners might not be drooling over those players, each served a vital function on special teams, and as the Redskins' open training camp, there are questions about their replacements.

Kicker Graham Gano has all of four career field goals. Punter Josh Bidwell is facing no competition in training camp. And the team won't decide who will return punts and kickoffs until the preseason games get underway.

Prediction: Cartwright saw his kick return numbers slide for the fourth straight season, and Randle El struggled mightily on punt returns. Changes in these areas are welcome for most fans. In camp, there's open competition for both return jobs, and the Redskins likely will consider wide receiver Bobby Wade, running back
Ryan Torain, cornerback Justin Tryon, wide receiver Terrence Austin, wide receiver Brandon Banks, cornerback Phillip Buchanon, wide receiver Santana Moss and cornerback DeAngelo Hall -- any of whom should be an upgrade.

As for Gano, with so little experience, he could be on a short leash. Though he's the only kicker expected to start camp, Gano's job security will disappear quickly if coaches don't like what they see in preseason games, and the Redskins will waste little time before checking the market of available kickers.

By Rick Maese  |  July 27, 2010; 1:06 PM ET
Categories:  Special teams , training camp  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Camp storylines: No. 6 Right side of offensive line
Next: Redskins thrilled with Maake Kemoeatu's progress

Comments

via twitter: Trent Williams has signed..

Posted by: jp1970 | July 27, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse


Help, I've fallen and I can't reach my beer !

Posted by: hessone | July 27, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I am worried about special teams more than offense.

Posted by: _Stumped_ | July 27, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Cartwright saw his kick return numbers slide for the fourth straight season"

There is categorically no WAY this can be true....

notsrs....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | July 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse


via twitter: Trent Williams has signed..

Posted by: jp1970

Shouldn't that had been Camp storylines: No. 5 ?

Posted by: hessone | July 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Well isn't that special


God that is a dated reference.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 27, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

via twitter: Trent Williams has signed..
Posted by: jp1970 | July 27, 2010 1:12 PM

Excellent. If true, Bruce Allen just continues to impress.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | July 27, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Xmas in July? No, just the start of training camp coming soon. Got. to. love. it.

Posted by: pgugino | July 27, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sweating Gano. For one, he gets the ball waaaaay back there on kickoffs, and that is something the Redskins have been missing for awhile. Add to the mix that he's right at that point in experience (remember, he had an NFL training camp and played in the UFL before he came to Washington) where he should settle down and be consistent. If Shanahan is going with one kicker, you have to believe he has impressed with Gano.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | July 27, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Not saying he didn't, but I can't find news of a Trent Williams signing anywhere.

Posted by: RedDMV | July 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree kicker is the biggest worrie on this poll.

But the biggest Teams question is the replacement of the Red Snapper.

Posted by: TDSQUAD | July 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if we play the game right, all the kicker will have to do is put it through for 1 anyway....

If we COVER punts properly, we won't have to worry about the distance... keep it a steady, manageable flow.

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 27, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad we got to hear from Jason Shambles about his horrible experience in DC.

Jason, on behalf of all things Redskins I want to extend a heartfelt apology to you for your experience here. You made millions of dollars playing a schoolyard game and were handed 50 starts without really having to compete for the job - for all that, we're sorry.

But I'm glad you think it will make you "tougher" in the end.

When your football career is over in a year or 2, you should seriously consider going on the road as a motivational speaker to inspire all the hurting people out there with your personal testimony of all the challenges you've overcome.

Good luck.

Posted by: p1funk | July 27, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

106.7 reported 2+ hrs ago that TW signed.

Terrence Cody failed his physical and is being held out of training camp.....shocker

RIP Jack Tatum.

Posted by: Diesel44 | July 27, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

ETHAN ALBRIGHT! We'll lose a game due to a high/bad snap - mark my words. You not mentioning him may have given us the "Red Snapper Curse".

Posted by: drinaldi | July 27, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't get why they didn't keep Hunter the Punter around. He was a vast improvement over previous punters. Anyone know where he fell statistically last year? And c'mon - I miss the red snapper already.

Posted by: 4skinz | July 27, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse


Sorry to hear of Jack Tatum's passing.

"The Assassin"

Posted by: hessone | July 27, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"some key names from last season's roster -- Shaun Suisham, Hunter Smith, Antwaan Randle El, Rock Cartwright "

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!!??

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Terrence Cody failed his physical and is being held out of training camp.....shocker
RIP Jack Tatum.
Posted by: Diesel44 | July 27, 2010 1:38 PM

He’s on the ravens, right? And their other guy cracked his head open over the weekend….rough start for the ravens draft picks.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | July 27, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Just heard from Trent Williams' agent, Ben Dogra. Said he & #Redskins "continue to work as hard as we can in an effort to reach a deal."
about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck

http://twitter.com/Rich_Campbell

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 27, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Drastic improvement? You're all voting drastic improvement?"

Had there been a choice in between "drastic improvement" and "slight improvement," i.e., for "substantial improvement," I would have chosen that one. But there wasn't.

"We've got a rookie LT. That's a step back, no question, for this season."

From the dregs that played there last year after Samuels went down? I don't think so. Some rookie LTs can come in and play well from the start; some struggle. We'll see which category TWill falls into. But even if he struggles, he doesn't figure to do any worse than Levi Jones and the other speed bumps who played the position last year.

"We've got an oft-injured RT. That's a question mark."

Oft injured? He played in 13 games his first season and in 15 games the next three. Other than the injury that caused him to miss all of 2009, I'm not aware of a serious injury he's had as a pro. I know that making the Pro Bowl doesn't necessarily mean that you're a great player (see Frerotte, Gus). But you can't reasonably contend that a two-time Pro Bowler like Brown won't be a drastic improvement over Stephon freaking Heyer.

"We've got a journeyman at RG who hasn't played in years."

True, although it's more accurate to say that he hasn't started in years (since 2006). He has played as a reserve for the Vikings in each season since then. And the fact that he has played fairly frequently during that period on one of the best O-lines in the league suggests that he will be an improvement over the non-entities that played RG for us last season after Thomas went down.

"And we've got holdovers at LG and C."

Again, true, but most observers didn't think that they were the real problem last season. A 60% turnover in starters is still considerable.

"And no one behind them."

Well, we don't fully know what we have behind them. We don't know about Lichtensteiger or about draftees Capers and Cook. Although depth is a concern, if we stay reasonably healthy, the o-line will be substantially improved over last season.

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | July 27, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Which special teams' change from last season concerns you most?

NONE....

Why is this even a top 10? This is the least of our concerns....

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 27, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Careful 4th, Rock Cartwright (and to a lesser extent) Randle El are beloved as much as Campbell is reviled.

Skating on thin ice bashing those guys.

Of course with Campbell it continues to be open season.

After dude has been gone for over two months now...

Posted by: RedDMV | July 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"CALLING all Redskins fans...Mike Shanahan convo on NFL Live today...What McNabb and other Redskins-related questions do you have?"

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with 4th its not a concern, it will certainly be a storyline as it helps to shape the end of the roster. MK12 could be in trouble, just making an early prediction.

Posted by: chrislarry | July 27, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Just recently watched the week1 game from 2000 season; Skins vs Panthers. It was Arrington and Samuels’ first game as pros. We will be lucky if Trent Williams is half as good as Samuels was right out of the gate.

And Arrington didn’t get the start at LB, but did play teams. Two times he overran the coverage and Michael Bates blew by him for 2 kickoff returnTD’s (one of them was called back on a bogus clip call). It was an ugly win.

Just one more note; Stephen Davis was AWESOME. Easy to forget what a good back that guy was.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | July 27, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Just realized Dez's number is the same as notorious Mr.-stab-you-in-the-neck's. He's already living up to the #88 tradition. I hate this guy ten times more already. If LaRon Landry were to get one crushing brutal hit this season and only one would you pick?

A) Dez Bryant
B) DeSean Jackson

Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse | July 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

No love for ARE here...

Posted by: chrislarry | July 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Ray,
Are you doing the calling yourself? I personally would love to know how much of the play calling is being left up to Son of Shan, vs Shan Sr.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 27, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

If LaRon Landry were to get one crushing brutal hit this season and only one would you pick?

A) Dez Bryant
B) DeSean Jackson


Posted by: Bigfoot_has_a_posse

A) Dez Bryant - he's a cowgirl, duh.

Posted by: 4skinz | July 27, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Premature signulation. TW not in the fold just yet.

ESPN continues with the love of the Cowboys. Ranked #4 in their power rankings, Skins ranked #20. Even beep-beep's boyfriend thinks power rankings are gay.

Posted by: Diesel44 | July 27, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Antwaan Randle El. . . -- have departed. While fantasy team owners might not be drooling over those players, each served a vital function on special teams."

I'm sorry, what was Randle El's vital function? Oh that's right, returning punts for about 4 yds a clip and fumbling on occasion. He will definitely be missed.

Posted by: HokiesSkins | July 27, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with 4th its not a concern, it will certainly be a storyline as it helps to shape the end of the roster. MK12 could be in trouble, just making an early prediction.

Posted by: chrislarry | July 27, 2010 2:06 PM

We will now be like 85% of all other teams....Some no name youngster will return the ball and make a name of himself that way.

Book it!

I still remember when a no name named Thrash returned a Punt Return for a TD eons ago in the preseason that cemented his roster spot.

And we all know how I feel about MK12, so I'll leave that alone except for the fact to say he is the face on a Home ticket this year....

Posted by: 4thFloor | July 27, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Heaven forbid if bro' Malcolm isn't on the roster come opening day.


4th Floor may have to be put on suicide watch if that happened.


"If LaRon Landry were to get one crushing brutal hit this season and only one would you pick?

A) Dez Bryant
B) DeSean Jackson

Both.


Posted by: RedDMV | July 27, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BEEPS

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | July 27, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'll go with 59 getting the crushing hit on a WR considering he's already taken out DJax. Insert tired but true comment about LL.

Dez claims "ignorance" as the reason he didn't carry the guy he's replacing pads. He was unaware of the tradition. Pretty sure EVERYBODY believes him.

Posted by: Diesel44 | July 27, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have a clue what happened to the veterans we cut loose in Rock,Smoot,Griff,Betts and co?. Betts and Rock still have game and Griff could be a good rotational player.Smoot stressed me out everytime I saw him on the field,but so do Rogers and Deangelo.DeAngelo should be utilized on special teams because he's not a special defender.His Int's are usually gifts from the heavens not supersmart playmaking.

Posted by: mark65 | July 27, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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