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Five Competitions to Watch At Training Camp

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Redskins.com counts down to the start of Redskins Training Camp Presented by RE/MAX. Here are five competitions to keep an eye on as training camp unfolds:

-- RUNNING BACK

The Redskins' running back depth chart could be among the best in the NFL -- if it were 2005.

That's the joke in NFL circles, but the bottom line is that veterans Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker form an intriguing group. And head coach Mike Shanahan has said that he could envision all three making the final roster.

Portis has been an active participant in off-season work. With his former coaches Mike Shanahan and Bobby Turner in Washington, he knows what is expected of him on and off the field.

Questions surround Johnson and Parker, though. Has Johnson, a big, bruising back, absorbed too many hits to be effective? Has Parker lost a step?

Johnson was among the more impressive players during off-season work. He showcased his imposing 6-1, 235-pound frame, followed blocks well an -- as is his custom --finished runs by racing to the end zone.

And then there's Brian Westbrook, currently a free agent. The Redskins have made the two-time Pro Bowl running back a contract offer and remain interested in signing him. Shanahan views him as a potential third-down back.

-- FREE SAFETY

With LaRon Landry expected to move closer to the line of scrimmage, in more of a strong safety role, there appears to be an opening for the starting job at deep safety.

The top two candidates: Reed Doughty and Kareem Moore.

Doughty, of course, has been a periodic starter each of the past three years. He has played mostly strong safety, but he has versatility to play free.

Last season, Doughty started seven games and posted a career-high 93 tackles, fourth-most on the defense. He also posted two sacks and his first career interception.

For Moore, this is a prime opportunity to showcase his skills as a potential starter. He has excelled on special teams in years past, but he could make a leap into a starting role with a solid camp.

What about Chris Horton? He could also be in the mix at free safety, but he has mostly played strong safety in his career. Also, he was slow to return from toe ligament surgery in the offseason.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett wants his safeties to be interchangeable, so whoever starts will need to be versatile.

-- WIDE RECEIVER

Entering his ninth NFL season, Santana Moss appears to have one starting job locked down. Who starts opposite him?

The top candidate appears to be Devin Thomas, the Redskins' top pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. This is a pivotal year for Thomas, as well as fellow 2008 draftee Malcolm Kelly, who have shown flashes but not consistency when given playing time.

Veterans Joey Galloway, Bobby Wade and Roydell Williams should challenge Thomas and Kelly.

Galloway is a 15-year veteran with 689 career receptions, 10,777 receiving yards and 77 touchdowns to his credit. There's not an offense or a pass route that he hasn't seen before.

Thomas and Wade could be returners on special teams, increasing their chances of making the roster.

An emerging contender? Anthony Armstrong, a first-year player who served on the Redskins' practice squad last season. More than any other player, Armstrong impressed coaches in off-season practices. He even saw playing time with the first team offense as other wide receivers nursed injuries.

-- BACKUP QUARTERBACK

Rex Grossman is the leading candidate to serve as Donovan McNabb's primary backup on game days.

Last year, Grossman played in Kyle Shanahan's offense in Houston and the two are reunited in Washington.

Grossman has had some ups and downs in his 7-year career, but Shanahan has said he feels a comfort level with Grossman because of his familiarity with the offense.

Colt Brennan's goal is to unseat Grossman for the No. 2 job.

Brennan undertook an aggressive workout regimen this offseason to ensure his hip and hamstring injuries don't re-occur. He said he "reshaped" his body and feels like a …

And then there's the relatively unknown Richard Bartel, who served as the Redskins' third quarterback for six games last year. Bartel showed progress in adapting to Shanahan's offense in the offseason and he could give Brennan a challenge.

-- OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

This competition comes as a bit of a surprise.

It was assumed that Andre Carter was a certainty to start at outside linebacker opposite Brian Orakpo, but coaches have been really impressed with Lorenzo Alexander in off-season work.

"It's going to be a great battle," Jim Haslett said.

Carter has played outside linebacker before. In 2005, he started 14 games at the position for the San Francisco 49ers and posted 58 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

He admitted that he didn't feel comfortable at the position, though. It's one reason he opted to sign with the Redskins the next offseason.

Alexander has played a myriad of positions in his career, and outside linebacker is just another adjustment. He has slimmed down to 275 pounds so that he can better use his speed as a pass rusher and in coverage.

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