For most of the past decade or so, the Redskins have been
team turmoil. Minicamps have been more about introductions and unlearning what
was learned the previous year than about advanced study. Head coaches and,
especially, defensive coordinators have come and gone as have many players.
Systems have been installed, playbooks have been issued, and everyone has gone
back to square one.
This year, however, the theme is different. The defensive
players are going into their third season under Gregg Williams’ leadership of
the unit. What required thought in 2004 and was beginning to become instinctive
last year is now as natural as rolling out of bed in the morning. Concepts once
foreign to Ashburn, VA such as chemistry and instinct are now in play.
On the offensive side, even though there is a new man in
charge there in Al Saunders, it’s not as though his four-inch-thick playbook
dropped down from Mars or something. Saunders will install more plays but the
basics of the system are the same as Joe Gibbs’ system that the team has been
running for two years. There will be some late nights as the players absorb the
contents, but it’s all written in a language that they are familiar with.
Certainly, there are changes. LaVar Arrington will be
learning his sixth new defensive system in seven years in the league, but it
will be for the New York Giants. His weakside linebacker spot is up for grabs
and veterans Chris Clemons and Warrick Holdman hope to convince the coaches to
go slowly on the development of Rocky McIntosh, the team’s top draft pick who
will sit out this minicamp while recovering from some minor knee surgery.
Receivers Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El will be
sorting out how they will compliment Santana Moss while safety Adam Archuleta
and defensive end Andre Carter will continue to absorb the intricacies of
Williams’ defense. Those four represent upgrades, not the change for the sake
of change we’ve seen in the past.