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Camp preview: Who will RG3's targets be?

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Camp preview: Who will RG3's targets be?

The Redskins start training camp on Thursday. Were going around the team to let you know what were looking for when practice gets underway. Earlier today we looked at the offensive line, now the offensive backs and receivers are up.Anticipated starters:QB Robert Griffin III
RB Tim Hightower
FB Darrel Young
WR Pierre Garon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson
TE Fred DavisIn the span of a few hours, one of the Redskins soft spots wide receiver became one of their strengths. The team acted swiftly on the opening day of free agency, nabbing Garon and Morgan, who received a combined 28 million in guaranteed money. Although critics will point out that the team still lacks a true No. 1, the Redskins seem to be hoping that a pair of No. 2s will suffice. Griffins third option figures to be Hankerson, a promising second-year receiver who says hes fully recovered from offseason hip surgery, while Santana Moss should add depth and veteran leadership.Key reserves:RB Roy Helu Jr.
WR Santana Moss
TE Chris CooleyWhile Garon, Morgan and Hankerson may appear set to start, it would be premature to count out Moss, who is coming off his worst season (46 receptions and 584 yards in 12 games) since 2002. During the offseason, the 33 year old showed the coaching staff he still is hungry for more by shedding 15 pounds and standing out in OTAs and minicamp as Morgan and Hankerson nursed injuries.On the bubble:WR Brandon Banks
WR Anthony ArmstrongNo position figures to be as competitive in camp as wide receiver, where 12 players are battling for six spots. Banks has been told by Coach Mike Shanahan that he must contribute at wide receiver and kick and punt returner, while Armstrong must rebound from a lost year. A deep threat with speed to spare, Armstrongs inability to beat bump-and-run coverage led to a dramatic reduction in his role last season (7 catches for 103 yards), down from 44 receptions for 871 yards in 2010.Three things to watch:All RG3, all the timeGriffin has navigated the first few months of his newfound fame and fortune flawlessly. But how will RG3 cope when each pass is dissected on sports talk radio, each comment parsed in the newspapers? With all apologies to the President, playing quarterback for the Redskins might be the toughest job in Washington.Captain Chaos set for a comeback?Chris Cooley says the problematic left knee that cut short his season a year ago is completely healthy. But the 30-year-old fan favorite costs 6.23 million against the salary cap and will face stiff competition from converted wide receiver Niles Paul for playing time behind starter Fred Davis. To beat out Paul, Cooley must prove that hes regained his (modest) speed and is the better blocker.Who will emerge from the trio of running backs?Tim Hightower, a Shanahan favorite, enters training camp atop the depth chart. But the versatile 26-year-old is coming off major knee surgery, raising questions about his ability to elude defenders. If Hightower falters, look Shanahan to give Helu (three consecutive 100-plus yard performances last season) andor Royster (two 100-yard efforts) the opportunity to step forward.

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Demaryius Thomas to Josh Norman: Where's your Super Bowl ring?

Demaryius Thomas to Josh Norman: Where's your Super Bowl ring?

Josh Norman is bound to receive a lot of attention for the new story in ESPN The Magazine that centers around him. The Redskins star likely expects it, too, after calling himself "the best cornerback on earth" and Odell Beckham Jr. a "villain."

But Beckham isn't the only wideout whom the defensive back goes after in the feature. At one point, Norman says of Broncos pass catcher Demaryius Thomas, the target Norman held to just one catch in Carolina's Super Bowl loss to Denver: "I don't know what he was out there for. He was supposed to be an all-world guy, and I shut him down."

Well, that quote has clearly already reached Thomas, judging by this tweet he sent out on Tuesday:

Unfortunately, while Norman will have a chance this year to directly silence other players who've called him out this offseason — including the aforementioned Beckham, Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson and his former club who shockingly released him — the Broncos and Redskins aren't scheduled to face one another in 2016.

Unless, of course, both sides are able to make their way to Houston for Super Bowl 51. And if that matchup does somehow come to fruition, Norman will finally be in position to answer Thomas' Twitter taunt and secure a ring of his own. For now, however, Thomas has the upper hand... or finger, that is.

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Josh Norman on increased attention: I'm no longer the underdog

Josh Norman on increased attention: I'm no longer the underdog

ASHBURN - Things turned upside down for Josh Norman this summer, and as the coverage surrounding his every word increases, the new Redskins cornerback knows what to expect. The latest batch of bulletin board material came from an ESPN the Magazine article in which Norman proclaimed, among other things, that he's the best corner in the league. Asked about those comments on Tuesday, Norman did not want to discuss it.

"I’m not about to answer any questions about it right now," Norman said in a media scrum. "I think at a later date those questions will be asked, but right now something that was done five months ago, I really don’t feel like talking about after our practice today."

Though Norman didn't comment on the specifics in the article, the conversation turned around to the new spotlight the Redskins $75 million player lives under.

"When you get a deal like that, everything comes with it," he said. "Everything’s magnified times 10."

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Norman explained that for his whole career - from a late-round draft pick to a backup to an All-Pro - he always felt like he had to earn his spot, though that role has changed.

"Once I was the underdog and I had to fight my way up to the top. I had to like drive, drive, drive, drive and continue to work hard and do everything that I’ve gotten to this point. But now, I’m no longer the underdog. Now I’m no longer that person. Now I am the guy that has to take on a new face, has to take on a new mask and be somebody that is always going to be the standard."

Changing roles will not be too much for Norman to handle.

"That’s something that I haven’t experienced yet and now taking that challenge and looking at it, I want to do it in a way I want to do it and not no way nobody else wants to make me do it. I think that, in an aspect, I just have to grow in that field, which I will. Those things come and I just got to understand that, but still have that dog when you’re on the football field."

Norman said that his faith helps him handle challenges, and pushes him to get through tough times.

"I can take it. I can go and use it and use it as another tool to try to find myself as a person and as an individual player to come in and bring something different. I think if I can have that unique set of tools and skills to be able to fend off everything that people say, I can take it. I can take it and continue to be successful."

For Redskins fans, as long as Norman is successful on the field, the headlines and increased exposure will be fun distractions. 

"I can take it. I’m a big boy. I got some big shoes. We’ll be having fun with it and enjoying our teammates that’s on the team now."

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Redskins RB Matt Jones on shoulder rehab: I'm making big strides

Redskins RB Matt Jones on shoulder rehab: I'm making big strides

ASHBURN - When Matt Jones left last Friday's preseason game against the Jets with a shoulder injury, Redskins fans were near panic mode. Washington's running back unit looks quite thin behind Jones, so the consternation made sense, though nerves calmed some when the prognosis for the running back did not seem too worrisome.

On Tuesday, Jones worked off to the side at Redskins practice with other injured players, rehabbing from the sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. Interestingly, the work Jones put in with trainers seemed more focused on his legs than his shoulder, which Jones explained as a way to keep his legs strong when he's not taking reps with the first team offense. More importantly, Jones feels like his injury is moving along quickly.

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"It's feeling pretty good. I'm moving fast in my healing process right now," Jones said. "I'm taking big strides."

Asked if his goal was to be back for the Redskins regular season opener against the Steelers on September 12, Jones replied "definitely."

Sitting at his locker, Jones did not have a sling holding his left arm or look to be in any noticeable discomfort. A rookie last year, Jones rushed for 490 yards on 144 attempts, good for just a 3.4 yards-per-carry average. Washington coach Jay Gruden will need more than that this fall if the team is to improve a rather dull run game last season. Jones knows the expectations are increased, and he's working hard to deliver.

"I just keep taking my practice reps like the game reps. I'm just going to keep that preparation going," he said. 

Before the injury against New York, Jones carried the ball well, running seven times for 31 yards, an average of a full yard more than last season. That's the Jones the coach wants to see, and it looks like the shoulder injury shouldn't be too much of an impediment.

"I don’t feel like it’s a setback at all," he said. "I'm actually moving, running around a little bit. It's starting to feel better and better each and every day. I'm just going day by day."