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Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Redskins camp notes: Grossman's back

By Dan Graziano

All right. I didn't forget you guys. Been a busy day what with the chat and some video stuff we've been working on for the site. But I have been here at Redskins Park, where some things are happening. Let's take a little spin through some of them.

Item No. 1: Rex Grossman returns.

John Beck
John Beck has had a slow start to training camp.
Mike Shanahan said in his morning news conference that Grossman would "be here tonight," which is something about which many people have been asking me and for which I now have an answer. Grossman was a free agent and is re-signed to enter the quarterback competition along with John Beck, who's taken so many first-team reps that, Shanahan says, his "arm was a little sore today" and "He didn't have the zip on it that he normally has."

The other thing everybody's asking is how Beck looks, since it sounds like Shanahan favors him as the starter. I wish I had better news for you guys. Beck has not looked good the two days I've been here. His throws are consistently behind receivers, his deep passes wobble and he looks jittery when he sees extra rushers (who aren't even allowed to hit him, by the way). It's only Aug. 2, so it's unfair to judge a guy based on the way he looks right now. But you guys are asking how he looks, so there it is, with those caveats.

What do I think they'll do at quarterback? I think they'll decide between Beck and Grossman, depending on how each looks in camp and maybe even switch it back and forth during the season depending on how they play. I do not think they'll bring anyone else in, and I think the quarterback spot will be a glaring weak spot that costs them a chance to contend in 2011. I believe their offseason moves have been good ones, but I think that because this is a team building for the future, not a 2011 playoff team.

Item No. 2: Phillip Buchanon is back ... sort of.

The Redskins re-signed the cornerback Monday, and Tuesday Shanahan revealed that Buchanon would be suspended for the first four games of the season. Didn't say why, but four games does tend to mean a second violation of the substance abuse policy. (A first violation gets a warning that's not made public.) Buchanon will be here and eligible to practice Thursday and throughout camp but will miss the first four games. And no, I don't expect them to bring in another corner for those four games. Could be a chance for a guy like Kevin Barnes to show something.

Item No. 3: Ryan Kerrigan still hurt.

Shanahan said the team's first-round pick would miss "another two or three days" of work because of the bone bruise on his knee. Said they don't want to rush the kid, who hasn't had injury problems in the past. What long-term effect this has is a good question. Kerrigan will be a rookie who didn't have minicamps, and every day of training-camp practice he misses is a day lost in learning the new techniques he must learn to play 3-4 outside linebacker as opposed to the 4-3 defensive end spot he played in college. That could explain why they are, as has been reported, looking for inside linebacker help. They tried on Nick Barnett before he signed with Buffalo, and Lofa Tatupu was supposed to be in for a visit today. Bringing in help there could allow them to keep Lorenzo Alexander at the outside linebacker spot opposite Brian Orakpo in the event that Kerrigan isn't ready to take all the starter snaps beginning in Week 1. Alexander's versatility is critical here. He lined up in several different linebacker spots this morning, and they could use him in a variety of ways regardless of Kerrigan's status.

Item No. 4: Jarvis Jenkins

The defensive line was one of the most impressive-looking things about the Redskins in morning drills, and Jenkins stood out, particularly in his ability to create pressure up the middle against the run and the pass. "You can tell he likes to work," Shanahan said of his second-round pick. "All the things you look for in a guy, I believe he has." Jenkins will have an opportunity for playing time on the line even once Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen are able to practice.

The Redskins have a walk-through in a little while and we'll get some more interviews, so I'll keep you posted if anything else happens or anybody says anything especially interesting. But hopefully these here give you something to chew on in the meantime. If you need me, you know you can find me on Twitter.