Three storylines to watch as Washington begins 2021 OTAs on Tuesday

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3 storylines to watch as Washington begins 2021 OTAs originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

At first, the exercise of previewing OTAs feels insanely silly.

But then, once you remember that the NFL has turned its schedule release (which is really just the finalization of dates and kickoff times, since the matchups have already been set for months) into an all-day affair, the exercise of previewing OTAs feels demonstrably less silly.

So, who's ready to look ahead to Washington's May and June voluntary workouts?

On Tuesday, the majority of the Burgundy and Gold's roster will hit the field in Ashburn for what'll be an open-to-the-media session. The level of intensity at the practice won't come close to touching that of a game or even a padded training camp get-together, but it'll still be a chance to see new players, familiar players and a whole lot more.

With that in mind, here are three especially interesting storylines that'll attract a lot of eyes on Tuesday, as well as in the other two sessions that'll occur next month...

1) Ryan Fitzpatrick's quasi-debut

The anticipation for Fitzpatrick's true initial appearance for Washington, which will presumably go down in the opener against the Chargers, will be far greater than his OTAs debut. However, there'll still be some excitement to track him on Tuesday.

Dissecting everything a quarterback does — from how he interacts with his teammates to how the ball comes off his hands to what words HE YELLS REALLY LOUDLY before calling for the snap at the line of scrimmage — is a time-honored tradition for reporters and fans alike. This week, the 38-year-old goes under that microscope with his new team for the first time.

While his grasp of coordinator Scott Turner's system and ability (or lack thereof) to protect the ball will be more clear at training camp when full-speed, full-team situations are more common, Fitzpatrick's tenure as starter for the defending division champions does begin in OTAs.

Now, there's no way he'll be going full Fitzmagic at this point in the schedule, but maybe those in attendance will get at least a fleck of his vaunted aura as a hint of what's to come.

2) How do the rookies fit in with the vets?

Coach Ron Rivera's second draft class got their first taste of pro football during the club's recent rookie minicamp, where they received extra attention from their positional coaches and could largely go at their own pace. In a lot of ways, it mirrored a freshman high school orientation — the newbies were given the chance to get somewhat comfortable before the older kids showed up.

At OTAs, though, the older kids will be there, so the freshmen better be ready to keep up.

No. 19 overall selection Jamin Davis, for example, will go from being the lone first-rounder wearing a practice jersey to one of many on defense. Sam Cosmi, meanwhile, is about to find himself in the middle of a fight for the right tackle job, since Morgan Moses is no longer in the picture. And Dyami Brown, a renowned deep threat, will be surrounded by plenty of other speedsters on offense. 

At minicamp, the draftees saw how they stacked up against one another. OTAs, on the other hand, will offer them a glimpse of where they are in the pecking order as a whole. 

3) Chase Young. That's it.

Thanks to the arrival of Fitzpatrick, the rookies and other new additions like Curtis Samuel, William Jackson III, Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby McCain, some holdovers may be overshadowed a bit in these offseason meetings. Yet Young, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, won't be.

Young already has the vibe of a legitimately special athlete, the kind of player who can generate a highlight at any moment and who immediately draws camera and iPhone lenses as soon as he enters his place of work. And on Tuesday, No. 99's second pro campaign (essentially) begins.

Young is a stud who checks every possible box (and then re-checks them for good measure), and any opportunity to watch him is a treat — even if that opportunity comes three-and-a-half months ahead of Week 1 on a random spring morning.