A capsule look at the Washington Redskins as they begin training camp:
What’s new: A two-time Super Bowl-winning coach in Mike Shanahan, plus an established starting quarterback in Donovan McNabb. The Eagles’ decision to trade McNabb to an NFC East rival was one of the offseason’s biggest developments.
Asked what he would have said last year if someone had told him he would be traded to the Redskins, McNabb said, "I never would’ve believed it."
Meanwhile, Shanahan’s decision to switch to a 3-4 defensive system left star tackle Albert Haynesworth disenchanted, making the transition even more complicated.
Training camp battle: Reed Doughty, Chris Horton and Kareem Moore are battling to start next to safety LaRon Landry. This one may not be decided until the end of preseason. Doughty’s experience may give him the edge.
Rehab report: Starting tight end Chris Cooley looks recovered from a broken ankle that ended his 2009 season. A healthy Cooley, along with a blossoming Fred Davis, could give the Redskins a top tight end combo.
Rookie on the spot: Trent Williams, LT. The Redskins are counting on their first-round draft choice to protect McNabb’s blind side. This team had serious O-line issues last season, and Williams can help change that.
"That’s what you try to do in the offseason, take a look at where your weaknesses are," Shanahan said.
2010 outlook: With the additions of Shanahan and McNabb, the Redskins should improve over last season’s 4-12 meltdown. But to reach the playoffs–or to even escape the NFC East basement–many things would have to go right. The Redskins must hope their running back committee of Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and perhaps Willie Parker is not too old to produce. The retooled offensive line also remains a question mark.
Shanahan gave this answer when asked about his goals: "We were 4-12 last year. We were 0-6 in the NFC East. Talk is cheap. You’ve got to do it on the football field."
This story appears in July 30’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only digital sports daily, sign up today.
Senior writer Clifton Brown covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.