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Top Storylines to Follow At Redskins Mini-Camp


The Redskins wrap up a dramatic but stabilizing 2010 offseason this week with mini-camp starting on Wednesday.

Head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen have provided professionalism and structure to a team coming off a 4-12 campaign.

Donovan McNabb has taken over at quarterback for Jason Campbell, who has taken over as quarterback in Oakland.

Clinton Portis has been joined by Larry Johnson and Willie Parker in the Redskins' backfield.

And from all appearances defensive coaches have decided to switch to a 3-4 base defense.

With so much change, there is bound to be more to the story. Here are some storylines to follow during mini-camp.


Donovan McNabb has been a Redskin for just two months, so there is work to do on the field.

McNabb has familiarity with the Redskins' offense, having played in a similar system in Philadelphia the last 11 years. So his top priority is to develop an on-field rapport with his receivers.

The cast includes veterans (Santana Moss, Joey Galloway, Bobby Wade, Roydell Williams) and youth (Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Terrence Austin).

"I think it's important for every position to be on the same page," McNabb said during OTAs. "A lot of it is just feel and just chemistry. Timing plays such a major part in this game."

McNabb could find that tight ends Chris Cooley and Fred Davis are among his top receiving options. In 11 seasons in Philadelphia, McNabb had success throwing to tight ends Chad Lewis, L.J. Smith and Brent Celek.


The Redskins were ravaged with offensive line injuries in 2009 and the unit struggled the entire season.

The Redskins' ground game finished 27th in the NFL, although it didn't help that both Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts suffered season-ending injuries. Pass protection units yielded 46 sacks, tied for fourth-most in the league.

This year, new faces include top draft pick Trent Williams and free agent pickup Artis Hicks. Mike Williams rejoins starters Derrick Dockery and Casey Rabach.

Cohesion and chemistry are keys to the development of the offensive line. In particular, Williams must mature fast as he prepares for matchups against the likes of Dallas's DeMarcus Ware, Philly's Trent Cole and Indianapolis's Dwight Freeney in 2010.

"We're making some progress," Mike Shanahan said. "We are evaluating everybody, getting them used to our system. They get better as time goes on, but there's a learning curve there."


Mike Shanahan began the offseason saying by emphasizing competition at every position. With the exception of quarterback, he has exactly what he wanted.

On offense, the competition to watch is at running back. Coaches have said that Clinton Portis is the likely starter heading into training camp, but Larry Johnson and Willie Parker are not going to back off.

"There are some accomplished players that are proving themselves," Mike Shanahan said.

It's possible all three make the final roster. It's also possible that free agent Brian Westbrook could be added to the mix as well.

On defense, safety is an intriguing competition. With LaRon Landry playing closer to the line of scrimmage as a strong safety, Reed Doughty and Kareem Moore are expected to compete for the starting job at free safety.


As late as Tuesday afternoon, Albert Haynesworth was expected to attend Redskins mini-camp, the only mandatory team activity of the offseason.

By Tuesday evening, media reports quoted Haynesworth's agent as saying that the veteran defensive lineman would not show up at all.

If Haynesworth is a no-show, then it would stand to reason that his future in Washington would be in doubt. It has been reported that he does not want to be a part of a 3-4 defense and that he wants to be traded.

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