Redskins can't afford another year with no playoffs

The Washington Redskins open training camp on July 26 in Richmond, Virginia. Here’s a closer look at the Redskins’ camp:

Top storyline: The Redskins missed the playoffs the past two seasons and this coaching staff can’t afford a third straight miss. Jay Gruden, whose contract runs through 2020, already has survived longer than any other coach under owner Dan Snyder. To help take the so-called next step, the Redskins traded for quarterback Alex Smith and focused on improving their run game. Smith’s progress will be monitored closely, considering they opted for him over keeping Kirk Cousins.

QB depth chart: Smith is the clear starter. The Redskins traded with Kansas City to land him this offseason. Smith replaces Cousins, whom the Redskins decided not to use the franchise tag on for a third straight year. Colt McCoy, entering his fifth season in Washington, is entrenched as the No. 2 quarterback. Kevin Hogan is the third quarterback; there’s no guarantee he will make the final roster.

Bubble watch: It’ll be interesting to see what they do at running back and defensive line. The Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round last year, but he’d be considered the fourth back -- at best -- entering camp behind Derrius Guice, Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson. They also like Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs. Their depth along the defensive line improved by drafting Daron Payne and Tim Settle. The coaches love Ziggy Hood, who can now focus on playing his more natural end position thanks to Payne’s arrival. But he’s at the end of the rotation along with players such as Anthony Lanier and Phil Taylor.

This rookie could start: The Redskins should have two rookie starters -- first-round pick Payne along the defensive line and second-round pick Guice at running back. Payne worked with the starting group at nose tackle all spring and that’s not expected to change. Guice worked behind Kelley at running back, but is too talented to end up doing so when the season begins. The coaches respect Kelley quite a bit, but Guice has a chance for an excellent first season.

Health matters: The Redskins have several key players who spent the offseason rehabbing after surgeries, including offensive tackles Trent Williams (knee) and Morgan Moses (ankles), running back Thompson (leg) and tight end Jordan Reed (toes). Gruden said some players will be limited at the start of camp, though Williams and Thompson have expressed confidence in being ready. Defensive lineman Stacy McGee underwent groin surgery late in the spring and might not be ready at the start, either.

On the spot: A handful of players. Receiver Josh Doctson has a lot of talent and improved throughout his second season. This will be his second full season and he must take a big step; he showed signs of doing so this spring. Corner Orlando Scandrick, who asked for his release in Dallas, is 31 and must show he can still be a solid starter. He’ll help in the slot if nothing else. Left guard Shawn Lauvao re-signed after another injury-filled season. He must stay healthy and be productive.