Redskins.com counts down to the start of Redskins Training Camp Built by The Home Depot. Here are five positional battles to keep an eye on as training camp unfolds:
-- WEAK-SIDE LINEBACKER
It is perhaps the only position in which a starting job could be up for grabs. At weak-side linebacker, the Redskins could have as many as five players competing for playing time.
Warrick Holdman re-signed with the team this offseason and has the early advantage for the starting job. He has slimmed down, losing about eight pounds from his 240-pound frame last season. He seems intent on re-establishing himself in the Redskins' defense.
"Hopefully, I'll do everything I need to do [to earn the job]," he said. "The coaches will see for themselves. I'll play the best I can."
Top draft pick Rocky McIntosh was in the midst of a strong offseason until he had to undergo minor arthroscopic knee surgery, forcing him to miss the June mini-camp. If McIntosh can come on strong in training camp and preseason--and show he's fully healthy--then he could earn the job.
Chris Clemons is also in the mix. He has already established himself as a speed-rushing linebacker, coming in on third downs to blitz the quarterback. He could serve in a similar role this season, while also backing up Marcus Washington at strong-side linebacker.
Robert McCune and Khary Campbell both could see time at weak-side, but the bulk of their experience comes at middle linebacker. Undrafted rookie Spencer Havner also could be in the mix.
Derrick Frost enters his third NFL season--and second with the Redskins--eying a fresh start. He knows that fans will remember his 14-yard shank in the Tampa Bay playoff game before they remember his solid outing in rain-soaked Seattle one week later.
Frost knows he needs to be more consistent to keep the Redskins' punting job long-term. He logged 76 punts for a 40.4-yard average last season.
"Last year, I feel like I finished out strong in the postseason and I think I'm in good standing with the coaches," the 6-4, 208-pounder said.
Enter David Lonie, a fair-haired Aussie native. The Redskins signed Lonie, 6-6 and 220 pounds, as an undrafted rookie out of Cal. He had 61 punts for a 41.9-yard average last year for the Golden Bears.
Frost has the advantage of experience, so he has the early edge over Lonie. But coaches are eager to get a close look at Lonie in preseason. If he performs well, the punting job will be wide open.
Of course, it's possible that neither Frost nor Lonie will be the Redskins' opening-game punter. Coaches and personnel officials could keep their eye on the waiver wire for a veteran punter.
-- BACKUP DEFENSIVE TACKLE
When Gregg Williams tells reporters to keep an eye on a positional battle, it's wise to listen.
"The battle at backup defensive tackle is one that needs to be watched," Williams said earlier this offense. "There'll be guys in that group not make it this year that were good enough to make it last year."
With those words, Williams upped the ante on returning defensive tackles Ryan Boschetti and Cedric Killings.
Boschetti and Killings have served in backup roles the last two years, and to some extent are both overachievers. Boschetti is a high-energy player, while Killings quietly and effectively goes about his job.
This offseason, Williams and defensive line coach Greg Blache sought to bring in young talent at defensive tackle. Fifth-round draft pick Anthony Montgomery, sixth-rounder Kedric Golston and undrafted rookies Manaia Brown and Vaka Manupuna will get a close look.
Montgomery and Golston have already impressed Williams.
"They're both athletic and stout," Williams said. "They will make a push to make this team."
-- BACKUP QUARTERBACK
Coaches will tell you that there is no competition brewing for the backup job behind starter Mark Brunell.
Don't tell that to Jason Campbell. The second-year quarterback and heir apparent knows this is a key training camp for him. He is expected to get plenty of work in preseason games, possibly even a start with the first team.
If Campbell shows improvement, he could convince Joe Gibbs and Al Saunders he is ready to back up Brunell on game day.
Eleven-year veteran Todd Collins has played in Saunders's offense for the last five seasons, so he has the advantage of NFL experience and familiarity with the scheme. Teammates have said this offseason that Collins has been like a coach on the field, directing the offense. He knows where to go with the ball, and when to throw it.
With Brunell set as the starter, coaches have a number of options at backup QB. For one, Collins could serve as the game day backup, while Campbell could be counted on if Brunell misses a start. The situation certainly bears watching in training camp and preseason--now and for the future.
-- BACKUP OFFENSIVE TACKLE
It's lacking in glamour, but the competition to serve as backups to Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen will be closely watched by coaches.
Jim Molinaro, the Redskins' sixth-round draft pick in 2004, enters his third NFL season eager to show coaches he can be reliable if called upon. The 6-6, 310-pounder played both left and right tackle during college, but he has not played a down as an offensive lineman in the pros.
"For my career, it's time for me to step forward and show these coaches what I can do," Molinaro said. "I told Coach Buges, Wherever you need me, I'll go in.'"
Molinaro's primary competition could be first-year player Jonta Woodard, a relatively unknown Redskin who played in the CFL the last two years. Woodard, at 6-4 and 317 pounds, started 35 games at left tackle for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the last two years.
Two young linemen, seventh-round draft pick Kili Lefotu and undrafted rookie Chris Pino, could also be in the mix. Lefotu's experience is mostly as an interior lineman, but coaches have said he could play tackle.