Here's five takeaways from Redskins head coach Jay Gruden's media session with reporters on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, in Richmond, Va.
1. Losing Junior Galette hurts, but the Redskins have young in-house options to choose from.
With Junior Galette, Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith leading the charge for the pass rush at outside linebacker, Redskins fans were craving to see what the trio could complete together.
But before they even stepped foot onto the practice fields at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., they were already down a man with Galette recently suffering his second Achilles injury in as many seasons.
"We're upset obviously, more so of him as an individual," Gruden said. "Just watching him work and getting ready from the previous injury, how hard he was training, the attitude that he came into the building with and the excitement that he was going to bring to this football team only to see it cut short with another Achilles. 'Devastated' is a good word for him."
Washington now moves forward with other inexperienced linebackers, but players who are hungry to catch the coaching staff's attention with more reps available.
"We have to rebound," Gruden said. "You know, Ryan Kerrigan, we saw Preston Smith, we've got Lynden Trail, we've got some young guys – Houston Bates – that are going to have to fill the void, that he so called would have filled for us. We are going to look at our young guys here in the building that we're excited about. We still have some good pass rushers sitting here, and they are going to have to produce."
For now, the Redskins want to keep Trent Murphy – who spent his first two seasons at outside linebacker – at defensive end.
"He could play defensive end in nickel in our sub-packages so that's no problem there," Gruden said. "We have some guys like I said – Houston Bates, Lynden Trail, Willie Jefferson and some other guys – that are going to compete for some of those reps and I think they'll do good."
2. Kirk Cousins is ready to go. His contract situation is taking a backseat right now.
Officially under the franchise tag for the 2016 season, Kirk Cousins will once again lead the Redskins' offense during the 2016 season.
But unlike last training camp when Cousins didn't receive a single first-team snap, the Michigan State product is solidified as the team's starting quarterback.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins on Wednesday was named to the NFL's 'Top 100 Players of 2016' list, checking in at No. 85.
Now, though, he must adjust to defenses having a complete offseason to learn his tendencies.
"He's got a year out of film, people are going to study on him and he's got to study other people and prepare himself no differently and we're going to coach him no differently," Gruden said. "He's a great football player, made great strides last year and we're all excited about it but he's got to continue that progress."
Cousins, of course, finished last season with numerous franchise records while leading the Redskins to the 2015 NFC East title. He set single-season team records for attempts (543), completions (379), passing yards (4,166) and 300-yard passing games (seven).
As far as his contract situation, though, it "will take care of itself."
"We won't have any conversations about the contract, about his future contracts, any of that stuff," Gruden said. "All we're going to focus on is this year and him getting better and being the best quarterback he can possibly be and I know that's his intent also."
3. Shawn Lauvao is "very close" to returning for the Redskins.
It's been almost a year since Shawn Lauvao has been on a football field, last playing in a game last September before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. After that came numerous surgeries.
While Lauvao remained on the sideline during offseason workouts, the seven-year veteran isn't too far off in making his long awaited return.
"I was just talking to him; I think he feels pretty good," Gruden said. "I imagine he'll be a couple days still, but I think he'll be ready to roll shortly."
A full-time starter for the Redskins prior to his injury, Gruden believes Lauvao and third-year offensive lineman Spencer Long will engage in a heated battle to earn the starting left guard position.
"You know, Shawn was playing at a very high level before he got injured, so I'm not going to pencil in anybody as a starter right now," Gruden said during the offseason. "I want to make sure Shawn gets healthy first. I really like his ability, but I love the way Spencer came on at the end of the year. It's good to have two good guys at that position."
4. Weather could alter the team's training camp schedule.
The Richmond area on Tuesday evening was hit hard by a severe thunderstorm. Throughout the city, tree limbs were down and power flickered on and off in the overnight hours as the skies lit up with lightening.
The Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center was hit as well, as some of the field goal posts were damaged.
With forecasted highs expected to remain in the 90s and storms possible, the Redskins could make changes to the training camp schedule.
Walkthroughs are currently scheduled to take place at 10:35 a.m. with most practices starting up at 3 p.m.
"I might have to cut some periods if it gets too hot," Gruden said. "Maybe change the practice to the morning, flop our walkthrough and our afternoon practice where our pads are in the morning and afternoon is the walkthrough. We'll see how it goes but we're going to keep them hydrated. I'm going to keep a close eye on each and every individual player. Our trainers will. I told our coaches, 'Keep an eye on each individual player, keep them hydrated,' and we'll just go and take it day by day."
5. The Redskins want to make sure Kyshoen Jarrett makes a full recovery.
The Redskins this week waived 2015 sixth-round pick Kyshoen Jarrett with a failed physical designation.
It was a difficult conclusion to come to after Jarrett was so effective during his rookie season, collecting 63 tackles – sixth most on the defense – along with a fumble forced.
But in the regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, Jarrett went down with a shoulder injury that's resulted in additional nerve problems.
Jarrett is still trying to find a remedy to the issue and the Redskins want to make sure he gets healthy again soon.
"We still tried to stay as hopeful and as positive as we could throughout his rehab and seeing doctors and all that stuff," Gruden said. "The news just never came out to be good enough. We're mostly concerned about him getting better as a person and being able to function do things he needs to do in life, not so much about football at this time. We want to make sure that we do the best we can to take care of him. He's still going to rehab. We just wish the best for him because he's such a great kid. Great football player, obviously, but he's a better kid than a football player. We want what's best for him."