Continuity the Theme as Minicamp Opens

The Washington Redskins' offseason team activities conclude today with the start of a three-day minicamp. While there are many new free agent acquisitions, draft picks and other hopefuls, the theme, for a change, is continuity.

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.

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