*While the Redskins experienced a lot of turnover in their roster and coaching staff in the offseason, head coach Jay Gruden hopes the team can gel efficiently as OTAs begin. *
Anticipatory energy could be felt at Army Navy Country Club Monday, where Redskins players and alumni gathered for the annual Redskins Charity Golf Classic. The team will start Organized Team Activities on Tuesday, commencing offseason practices that extend for the next few weeks, giving coaches their best chance to glimpse what the offseason has brought to the field.
This will be the first time the rookies and veterans get a chance to line up against each other and get a taste of each other's games. Head coach Jay Gruden will be preaching continuity as newcomers – both players and coaches – learn to work together.
"Trying to get everybody to play together, especially on defense," Gruden said. "We have some new players on defense, some free agent acquisitions, some new draft picks, they're going to have to learn on the fly, they're going to have to learn to play together, which will be the biggest challenge for us."
The roster and staff had a bit of an overhaul over the offseason, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Up front, the Redskins added free agents Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee and got a steal in defensive lineman Jonathan Allen in the draft to help replace Chris Baker and enhance one of the weaker areas on last year's team.
The team also made a significant addition in Zach Brown at middle linebacker, drafted linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second round and signed D.J. Swearinger to play safety alongside Su'a Cravens, who will be moving back to his original position after playing linebacker during as rookie. Offensive additions in wide receivers Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Brian Quick, along with the return of last year's first-round pick Josh Doctson will hope to keep the pace of production that was lost in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon.
Gruden enjoys the competition that he'll get to witness over the next few weeks on the field, and believes there will be plenty of roster spots still up for the taking.
"I think there's position battles all across the board," Gruden said.
Check out images from the Washington Redskins' defense and special teams during their twelfth day of Phase 2 offseason workouts at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
"I think it starts with the quarterback obviously, and I think with two years of starting experience for him, two and a half so to speak, I think he's going to get better," he said. "He knows how to utilize his weapons around him. We have a very strong offensive line I'm fired up about, those guys are excellent. Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder, two mainstays on our offense, two weapons; I think Fat Rob's going to get better, you draft Samaje [Perine], I think he's going to help out a lot, Mack Brown looks good, Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson, third down back. We have the weapons on offense to be very, very good."
Gruden knows that the pressure is there to continue to build on the last two years and take the next step in the playoffs. He wants to see new additions contribute early and often and give the next few weeks a sense of urgency.
"I don't think patience is in the dictionary here in D.C. I think we have to be good now," Gruden said. "We're 9-7 two years ago, 8-7-1 last year. I think the expectations are high. They're always going to be high in this area and we have to perform."