The Jay Gruden era has officially begun for the Washington Redskins as voluntary OTAs started Monday morning at Redskins Park. Jay Gruden is able to give himself, his staff and his team a head start into the offseason training activities thanks to the NFL allowing first-year coaches to start OTAs two weeks before other teams. Although the first two weeks are primarily focused on strength and conditioning, these “voluntary”, workouts are very valuable to a franchise coming off a 3-13 season with a new coaching staff and many new players, particularly starters.
Robert Griffin III will no doubt be the focus of OTAs as he continues to put the finishing touches on his rehabilitation, both physically and mentally. RGIII is coming off a season where his health was doubted by his coaching staff and players, his fundamentals had regressed, and his attitude was questioned both on and off the field. Griffin can put his stamp as the leader of this franchise from the get-go and motivate his team to get acclimated as soon as possible with their teammates and their playbooks, while gaining strength, agility and nursing any lingering injuries from the previous season.
The so-called ‘controversial non-news story’ coming out of the first day of OTAs was the absence of DeSean Jackson, whom is on an excused absence while he enjoys a much deserved vacation. Soon he will be putting in his work to prove that he is worth the three year $24 million, with $16 million guaranteed contract that the Redskins signed him to last week, a week after being unceremoniously cut by the Philadelphia Eagles who were non-tolerant of Jackson’s so-called gang ties. Jackson will return to the team at the conclusion of his vacation and he’s going to need all the relaxation he can get, before he puts his work in to help this struggling franchise to raise from the dead.