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Big changes in personnel, scheme top Redskins' concerns

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Washington Redskins
Ashburn, Va.
Camp Opens
Can the Redskins improve solid defense?
Bruce Allen is a master of securing talent at good prices. He is in the process of delivering defensive coordinator Jim Haslett as many parts as he can for the conversion from the 4-3 to the 3-4. With every defense it starts up front, and the way the Redskins have handled disgruntled DT Albert Haynesworth has been masterful. He will show up on time for camp and in shape, as promised. His version of "in shape" and Mike Shanahan's version may differ a bit, but that's what camp is for. While Haynesworth protested, the Redskins signed a NT, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, and a five-technique guy in Adam Carriker. With or without Haynesworth the Redskins march on. Again the Redskin brass is confident the front seven can make the transition, even after not drafting a true outside linebacker and only signing Chris Draft to back up Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter who had 22 sacks between them last year.

How will receivers shake out during camp?
Bringing in Donovan McNabb at QB and getting him to drive young receivers like Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly is a great idea. Santana Moss is now the elder statesman of the receiving corps, and camp will bear out that at this point in his career he belongs in the slot as a third down player. Keep a close eye out to see if White and Kelly can hold down a job. Right now I like the Redskins in 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends). TE Fred Davis came on late in the absence of Chris Cooley, who can still beat linebacker coverage. Cooley only started seven games last year, but Davis and Cooley still had 77 receptions and eight touchdowns between them.

Is the O-line ready to establish line of scrimmage?
Things are shaping up well for the Redskins' offensive line after drafting highly touted Trent Williams with their first-round selection in last year's draft. He will replace the retired Chris Samuels and veteran Artis Hicks at right tackle. The sudden loss of right guard Mike Williams is a late set back that could be resolved by rookie seventh-round selection Eric Cook or second-year player Chad Reinhart. If these two struggle during training camp, expect Allen to get on the horn to make a trade, search the waiver wire or bring somebody in from the street to compete.

-- Pat Kirwan
Complete regular-season schedule
player 1
If I were Mike Shanahan, I wouldn't feel comfortable with my receivers. Santana Moss is the only legitimate threat in a corps that is depending on third-year players Devin Thomas (pictured) and Malcolm Kelly to break out. Thomas has shown flashes of potential, while Kelly has yet to display the skills worthy of the second-round pick the Redskins used on this 6-foot-4 specimen. If neither can become a viable No. 2 receiver opposite Moss, the Redskins will have to rely on a patchwork collection of veterans and unheralded rookies. That's not what Donovan McNabb was hoping for, but I expect he won't be too upset with his tight end situation, which features Pro-Bowl-caliber targets in Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. Cooley is returning from a broken ankle, but I see him rebounding nicely. Davis came on strong after Cooley's injury and will complement him well. McNabb has won before without a strong group of receivers. But let's hope someone emerges from behind Moss and the tight ends as another consistent option. Too much of a good thing is never enough.

-- Jack Anderson, Blog Blitz

Blog Blitz has you covered, with a fan's view of your favorite team. For more on the Redskins and the every other team in the NFL, check out the latest from our team of bloggers.

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RB Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson were once two of the best running backs in fantasy football. Now part of the same backfield, these veterans are major risks. Injuries have been an issue for both runners in recent seasons, so coach Mike Shanahan could go with a backfield committee to keep them fresh. That's bad news for owners and a reason to avoid this situation.

-- Michael Fabiano



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