Preview: Redskins @ Falcons

The long wait for football to return is almost over, and we’re one step closer to the real thing with the pre-season now upon us. The Washington Redskins open up their pre-season on the road squaring off with the Atlanta Falcons.

Some will claim that the pre-season is meaningless, why should you even watch other than the fact that you miss Redskins football so much? Well, first of all, the pre-season is anything but worthless. Especially with Scot McCloughan at the helm, who will pick the very best 53 players to represent the Burgundy and Gold when its finally time for the real thing. Absolutely no player is “just a camp body”. The next Quinton Dunbar or Will Compton could see meaningful snaps tonight against the Falcons.

With that being said, here’s what you need to know, and what you need to watch for tonight as the Redskins take on the Falcons:

  • The Running backs: How does Matt Jones come out in his debut as “the guy”? Can Chris Thompson be more than a third down back? Who steals the third and likely final roster spot?
  • Who takes advantage of extra Wide Out reps?: Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson will not play against Atlanta, and proven vets Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson likely won’t see a whole lot of action either, which young, relatively unknown guy takes advantage of their opportunity to impress coaches against different competition? Maurice Harris and Rashad Ross are two names to watch tonight.
  • The left guard competition: Shawn Lauvao seems to be in the driver seat to start, but who will grab hold of the backup job Spencer Long or Arie Kouandjio? Will Spencer Long take reps at center as well?
  • Su’a Cravens: How will Joe Barry use the versatile rookie? It appears they are content to ease him into his transition from the college to the pros, so expect to see the USC product mostly at inside linebacker, but watch out for Cravens to be used in a variety of ways.
  • The slot corner job: This has been a fun one to watch. Will rookie Kendall Fuller take the reins? Or will former practice squad member Dashaun Phillips who takes hold of the increasingly important role?
  • Who steps up along the D-line?: The Redskins lack star power along their defensive line, but they have some solid players nevertheless. The Redskins need more than Swaggy to create pressure and havoc behind the line of scrimmage. Watch out for Stephen Paea, Kendall Reyes, Ziggy Hood, and Matt Ioannidis
  • How do the Safeties look?: Who will win the starting strong safety job? It appears that David Bruton has the inside track, but Duke Ihenacho won’t give up the job lightly. How does DeAngelo Hall look as he transitions to free safety?
  • The Special Teams unit: Although the unit improved last year, it is a unit that needs to continue to improve if the Redskins have any hopes of advancing further in the playoffs. Scot McCloughan continues to add solid special teams players like Burton, Terence Garvin, Cravens, among others. This is a small factor that is often overlooked and can easily lead to an additional win or two per year. We’ll get a look at where they’re at tonight.



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