1 - S Tanard Jackson vs. Madieu Williams. The Redskins like to say their safeties are interchangeable, but some fit better at FS than SS. Brandon Meriweather likely will open at SS where there really isn’t much competition. But there is at FS with Jackson and Williams. Jackson is more talented, but is coming off a shoulder injury in Tampa Bay – and already has missed 19 games because of drug suspensions. Williams was a backup last season in San Francisco and did not play well in 2010 with Minnesota. He looked good in the spring, showing excellent instincts. But he does not run as well as Jackson.
2 - TE Chris Cooley vs. himself and Niles Paul. Cooley has been a fan favorite since arriving in Washington in 2005, but two of his past three seasons have ended on injured reserve. Now he’s trying to recover from a knee injury that bothered him all of the 2011 offseason and into the season. He wasn’t 100 percent this past spring and if he struggles to stay healthy in camp it’s hard to imagine him sticking on the roster. The Redskins moved Paul from WR to TE this past offseason and his speed will be an asset. He’s smart, allowing him to run routes from various spots as this position demands, and a more-than-willing blocker. The coaches are excited about his potential and he could supplant Cooley this fall.
3 - PK Graham Gano vs. Neil Rackers. Gano made 14 of his last 15 field goals and did an excellent job on kickoffs, both with distance and direction. However, with expanded rosters to 90 the Redskins have the luxury of bringing in competition. And while Gano finished strong, Rackers has made at least 89 percent of his kicks in three of the last four years (only 84 percent last season). Gano is a career 73.8 percent kicker (on 80 attempts). Even had he made all five of the kicks he had blocked last season he still would have been at 88 percent. But he’s 11 years younger than Rackers and the Redskins have been patient with his development. He’ll enter with an edge, but not a big one.