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Five Coaches to Watch At Training Camp

Redskins.com counts down to the start of Redskins Training Camp Built by The Home Depot. Here are five coaches to keep an eye on as training camp unfolds:

-- JOE GIBBS

After two seasons of calling the plays of the Redskins' offense, head coach Joe Gibbs has yielded control to offensive mastermind Al Saunders. This offeason, he has been more involved in player personnel and the administrative side of the game.

On the field, Gibbs will always keep a close eye on the offense, but look for him to work more closely with assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams and special teams coordinator Danny Smith.

It's not that Williams and Smith need assistance. It's that Gibbs wants the offense, defense and special teams to work cohesively on and off the field.

"My role is different," Gibbs said. "I look at it as, every year you're trying to find new ways to help the team."

-- JERRY GRAY

Jerry Gray, the Redskins' new secondary-cornerbacks coach, fits right in on the defensive coaching staff. He is a hands-on coach and works closely with his players.

Throughout his nine-year coaching career, he has proven adept at developing young cornerbacks--a positive sign for youngsters like Carlos Rogers, Ade Jimoh, Christian Morton and Dimitri Patterson.

Gray expects to oversee a competitive group. Shawn Springs and Rogers are expected to draw starting assignments, but there could be training camp competition for nickel and dime packages.

"What we're trying to emphasize with Carlos and all of our young corners is that you never know which play will wind up being the key play in a ballgame," Gray said. "The most important play in the game may actually come on the second or third snap of the game."

-- BILL LAZOR

Bill Lazor was promoted to quarterbacks coach this offseason, and he recognized his primary responsibility right away: continue the development of second-year quarterback Jason Campbell.

It will be Lazor's responsibility to help guide the 6-4, 230-pound Campbell through the inevitable ups and downs of playing quarterback in the NFL. That could start this season, as Campbell is expected to get a close look by coaches during training camp and preseason.

During practice, Lazor is usually alongside Campbell and veterans Mark Brunell and Todd Collins. He is constantly talking with them, offering instruction and telling them what he sees in the defense from his vantage point.

Lazor's dedication has many of his colleagues predicting a bright future for the 33-year-old coach.

-- AL SAUNDERS

He has been called the Redskins' most important off-season acquisition. Associate head coach-offense Al Saunders arrives in Washington with an impressive coaching resume and an offensive system that has had great success over the years. Formerly with the Kansas City Chiefs, Saunders oversaw the league's top-ranked offense the last two seasons.

During training camp, fans will get their first look at the Redskins' re-tooled offense.

"To the naked eye, it will probably look like a little more of a spread-out football team," Saunders said during the June mini-camp. "We won't be quite as compact--although there will be times when we will be. We'll probably be a little more vertical in the passing game, with more receivers involved in the routes."

Fans will also get their first look at Saunders himself. On the practice fields, he is a bundle of energy. Oftentimes, during 11-on-11 drills, he sprints down the field shouting out words of encouragement to a running back or receiver has made a nice play.

His upbeat attitude helps energize the players--and will almost certainly energize fans, too.

-- GREGG WILLIAMS

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams has his players and his defensive system in place. Now it's a matter of putting it all together. That's his focus heading into training camp.

"Our leadership is really good," Williams said during the June mini-camp. "Our D-line has done a tremendous job of setting the expectations on the defensive side of the ball. [Linebacker] Marcus Washington and [cornerback] Shawn Springs are veteran leaders."

Throughout the offseason, Williams has tempered comments about his players because they have not practiced in pads. To fully evaluate a player, coaches have to see them in pads.

Now is Williams's chance. Expect him to push his players, especially in 11-on-11 drills, and to get on those players he perceives to be performing below standards.

"I don't care what training camp you are in, physically it is always a battle," Williams said. "Guys just can't show up at training camp and expect to make a football team. [Players] are going to have to make sure that they come out here with a tremendous physical and mental approach to what we are doing."

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