The busy portion of the free agency period is over. The draft and rookie minicamp are in the rearview, as well. Now comes the hard part for first year head coach Jay Gruden: putting it all together. With OTAs set to begin Tuesday, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going examine the top items on Gruden’s to-do list as he prepares the Redskins for training camp in Richmond.
Up today …
The defensive to-do list
Tandler: This defense will fail or succeed based on how well the front seven can rush the passer. We saw outside linebackers coach Brian Baker, who really is the pass rush coach, giving Trent Murphy a lot of pointers on techniques during the rookie minicamp. Baker will be working with all of the outside linebackers once OTAs begin Tuesday. They’ll work on putting techniques and schemes into action on the field and start the process of translating those into pressure on opposing quarterbacks when they start playing games.
El-Bashir: Baker’s ability to transform the pass rush certainly will be vital. But I also think there will be a considerable amount of pressure on Raheem Morris, whom Gruden elected to retain, to get the secondary on the same page and establish a depth chart in the coming weeks. Morris’ biggest challenge figures to be getting second-year safety Phillip Thomas up to speed after he missed his rookie season due to injury and determining whether Tanard Jackson can help after two years out of the game. Morris also must groom David Amerson into a full-time starter while also integrating nickel corner Tracy Porter, who won’t be recovered from shoulder surgery until training camp. Right now there are 20 safeties and corners on the roster. The grueling—and critical—process of whittling that list to 10 (give or take) is about to begin.