Washington Redskins: Five offseason battles to watch

With OTA's underway, what are the most important position battles you should be paying attention to this season?

#5: Running Back –  Adrian Peterson VS Derrius Guice

This battle is one that most teams should envy. Instead of having open competition because the Redskins don’t have someone to rely on to hold down the position, they have an embarrassment of riches.

Last season the Redskins went into the season under the impression Derrius Guice was the savior of the run game. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL in the first preseason game. Enter Adrian “AD” Peterson. AD was signed not long after. After some speculation as to if he was even capable enough to still play professional football. Boy did he exceed expectations.

Peterson came in and shocked the world, starting with a week one performance of over 150 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Peterson finished the season with over 1,200 scrimmage yards and 8 touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference. The lone bright spot for a disappointing offense.

Following his efforts this season, the Redskins signed AP to a one year deal that had an additional team option. Even though they have Guice waiting to return. With news of Derrius Guice being a full go for training camp, it will be interesting\ to see which running back ends the season with the most carries.

Winner: Derrius Guice

#4: Wide Receiver – Doctson/Richardson VS Harmon/McLaurin

Everyone knew that the Redskins needed to upgrade their receiving corps. They lacked a true number one, and have had to deal with injuries to the starters and the depth. They chose to draft two receivers. The first, Terry McLaurin, was selected in the third round. McLaurin projects pretty close to Paul Richardson. The second, Kelvin Harmon, projects close to Josh Doctson.

It will be fun to see if these rookies can push the underperforming vets to either play better or give up their starting spot. Josh Doctson playing in a contract year, and Paul Richardson trying to justify the big contract the Redskins gave him last offseason.

McLaurin and Harmon are the future of the position, but it will take time for them to adjust. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took over throughout to season if Doctson or Richardson underperforms. However, for now, the vets should win out.

Winners: Doctson and Richardson

#3: Left Guard: Ereck Flowers VS Wes Martin

Left guard has been the offenses weakest link for years. The Redskins went out and signed former top 10 pick Ereck Flowers, who has played tackle for the entirety of his career and plan to move him to guard. They also drafted Wes Martin in the 4th round, and they really like him. Both players have an adjustment to make. Flowers with his transition to guard, and Martin with his transition to the NFL.

Flowers was once a highly coveted prospect, and there was a time when the Redskins considered taking him over, Brandon Scherff. They’ve since been very happy with the outcome of their choice. Flowers always had great measurables but lacked quick feet and a good pass set. The Giants knew this and still selected him with the 9th overall pick and plugged him in as a day one left tackle. This may have stunted Flowers growth and he’ll likely never develop into the franchise left tackle they hoped he could. However, a change to guard could benefit him. He has great size and strength and will be working with one of the leagues premier offensive line coaches.

Wes Martin was very productive in college, giving up only two sacks in over 700 pass block attempts. He’s “country strong” and fits what the Redskins like to do with their guards. A guy that can get a hat on a hat and move a defender and also has a fluid pass set. The winner of camp won’t be given the starter for the entire season. I expect this position to be up for grabs every week.

Winner: Flowers

#2: Linebacker: Dion Hamilton VS Foster VS Harvey-Clemons VS Holcomb VS Bostic

The Redskins thought they were set at linebacker with Reuben Foster being cleared from suspension. They were wrong. Foster tore his ACL in the first day of camp and now the linebackers are back to square one.

Each player brings a separate skill set. Shaun Dion-Hamilton (SDH) is probably the most talented of the bunch and is my guess to be the locked in starter. However, he has a history of major injuries so he has to stay healthy if this unit wants a chance to be successful.

Mason Foster probably also has the best chance to start next to SDH. He’s a long term starter and strong against the run. Unfortunately, he’s a bad athlete and it shows in pass coverage. He simply doesn’t have the ability to keep up with tight ends and running backs.

Josh Harvey-Clemons (JHC) is someone I’ve been a fan of since being drafted. He’s a converted safety, which means he has great athletic ability for a linebacker. He’s natural in pass coverage and has put on weight this offseason in order to do better in between the tackles. I wouldn’t be surprised if Foster plays run downs and they bring in JHC in sub packages.

Cole Holcomb is likely to be a special teams player while he adjusts to the NFL. He may see some playing time if injuries occur, but I don’t expect him to beat out anyone. Jon Bostic was brought in for depth and I’m not sure he makes the team.

Winner: SDH and Foster

#1: Quarterback: Haskins vs Keenum

What else was gonna be number one? The journeyman vs the franchise. When its put like that it doesn’t sound like much of a battle does it? Case Keenum will be given every opportunity to start. However, I wonder if he can even compare. Dwayne Haskins was the 15th overall pick for a reason.

Keenum’s best chance at starting is to show why he’s been a starting QB. Learn the playbook and show a mastery of it. Prove you can keep the team afloat. He’s not gonna win by trying to out-throw Haskins. He can’t, physically. Show he’s a better decision maker, and therefore the better decision.

Haskins will play in 2019. The question is when. My educated guess has been week 6 @ Miami Dolphins. However reports are Haskins is really impressing so every day we get closer, I get closer to believing Haskins will start the season QB1.

Winner: Dwayne Haskins