Change we can believe in
Hiring new general manager Scot McCloughan was a huge step in the right direction for this wayward organization. But it's going to take him time to clean up a messy roster and quarterback situation. It remains to be seen if coach Jay Gruden is a long-term solution, and Robert Griffin III looks even less likely to be around in 2016.
While ownership has a lot invested in Griffin, he would need to make enormous strides to be worth his $16.1 million salary for next season. After Monday's announcement that Kirk Cousinswill start Week 1, it's worth wondering if Gruden and McCloughan want Griffin around this season despite all the warm and fuzzy talk this offseason.
Cousins gives the team a decent alternative, although he's consistently erratic. He's not the type of player to rise above a non-descript offensive line. McCloughan smartly focused on adding to the defense, with nose tackle Terrance Knighton, cornerback Chris Culliver, safety Dashon Goldson and defensive end Stephen Paea all in line to start. Hitting on half those players would be lucky, and the team has already lost lottery-ticket pass rusher Junior Galette for the season after signing him in camp.
Gruden has to disrupt the sense of deju vu and dysfunction already circling around this team. He needs to be decisive at quarterback, and avoid another merry-go-round with Griffin full of sourced stories with competing agendas. The offense is talented, but not talented enough to make up for a defense short on difference-makers. Moving on from former defensive coordinator Jim Haslett made sense, but is there any hope that new coordinator Joe Barry is going to cover up his back-seven weaknesses with his scheme?
Training camp surprise
Matt Jones, the team's third-round pick at running back, was my favorite rookie to watch in the preseason. His explosiveness, tackle-breaking ability and skills in the receiving game reminds me of a taller Marion Barber. Jones should cut into Alfred Morris' playing time, and adds to an extremely athletic group of skill-position talent. With Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and tight end Jordan Reed, no one can say that Gruden lacks weapons.
What we'll be saying in February
McCloughan will get to overhaul the organization yet again from the top down.