With week 1 of the preseason in the books, the Redskins make their first appearance of the year at FedEx field. Tonight the Redskins will square up against Calvin Johnson and the Lions. The weather is supposed to be a bit nasty so hopefully both teams walk away healthy and with no injuries. With that said, let’s get right into it and here are a few things to watch for tonight:
All eyes on RGIII!
After another long week of putting out media fire-storms from the comments that Robert Griffin III interview (which we won’t get into), all eyes will be on #10. Not that they weren’t already, however now certain media members are just waiting for their chance to strike. The best way that Griffin can counter that is to go out and have a strong outing. Coach Gruden said earlier this week that he expects the starters to play at least a quarter or longer. If Griffin is able to go out and show improvement, like he has all through camp he can quiet some of his critics.
Putting together a strong drive, showing improvement on his mechanics, not taking hits, and showing pocket awareness are a few examples of ways that RGIII can turn things around. Personally, I don’t want to see RGIII take hits and putting his body through unnecessary punishment. Last week when RGIII got driven to the ground and his helmet came off, many of us were holding our breaths. It’s football and obviously those things happen, but avoid them at all cost.
Get out healthy!
Redskins Nation’s heart was broken last week after TE Niles Paul broke his ankle. Paul had a great camp and showed everybody why the Redskins re-signed him and made him a team captain. Clearly this is a big loss and leaves the team hungry at the TE position. This puts added pressure on Jordan Reed to stay healthy and live up to the potential that most of us believe he has.
As I said earlier, the weather forecast is predicting that there will be scattered thunderstorms so the field will be a mess. This is scary because a bad field equals injuries. It’s important for the team to get in, do work, and walk away healthy. At this point the team doesn’t need anymore issues, especially at positions like TE and CB.
The offensive line.
Last week in Cleveland the offensive line looked improved from last season, which isn’t saying a whole lot, however we got a glimpse of hope. Rookie Brandon Scherff showed things to be excited about and Morgan Moses at RT looked much improved from last season. Not saying by any means this unit looked perfect but they looked like they are heading in the right direction. Coach Callahan will have these boys ready. This offensive line faces a tough task against a strong Detroit defensive line, even though they are without Suh. Watch for this unit to get better each week and be ready to roll once the regular season starts.
Improvement in the secondary.
The starting secondary didn’t look all that great last week against the Browns, but at the same time injuries also played a part in that. CB1 Chris Culliver played aggressive and showed a certain swag that was missing last season. Cully put the Browns in scoring position after a very questionable pass interference call. Shortly after that the secondary looked lost and allowed Josh McCown to throw a TD in the back of the end zone. Deangelo Hall has been battling through injuries and it’s going to take some time to shake off a bit of the rust. Tonight the secondary doesn’t have an easy task going against the best WR in the league with Calvin Johnson and a very underrated WR in Golden Tate. This is a good opportunity for this unit to make a statement and rebound from a shaking outing last week.
Containing Ameer Abdullah.
Last week rookie RB Ameer Abdullah went off and looked like he’s already hungry for that Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy. The guy looks like a human highlight reel, and will give defenders issues all year. This is a great opportunity for Stephen Paea, Terrence Knighton, and the rest of the DL to quiet that noise. The Redskins did a fantastic job of stopping the Browns run game last week, allowing only 45 total rushing yards. Now of course that’s against a very weak rushing attack from the Browns, but I expect a big focus tonight to be stopping Abdullah.
For those of you going out to Fed Ex and braving the weather, hats off to you guys! Hopefully tonight we will see improvement in more ways than one and that the team will give us all something to be excited for once the regular season begins!
The game will be televised on NBC (CSN) at 7:30 EST and will also be later televised on NFL Network.
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