1- Again it’s not surprising that the most important part of the game I will be looking at is the play of Robert Griffin. I was impressed with his first career action versus Buffalo last week and look for him to continue against a solid Bears starting defense even without Brian Urlacher.
We all know Griffin has the physical talent but we want to see if he can continue to gain confidence and show great poise as a drop back quarterback. And how Griffin reacts after getting hit by Julius Peppers or Lance Briggs. I think this is huge because I remember Patrick Ramsey (and for the record Ramsey is not Griffin) first action as a rookie. He was poised and confident until Steve Spurrier left him as a sitting duck and he got crushed many times. This seemed to change Ramsey. I also felt the same way about Jason Campbell’s Redskin career. It is going to be interesting to see how Griffin and Cousins reacts.
2- Since I mentioned him, I am also interested to see how Kirk Cousins does again this week. Last week’s numbers didn’t look good, but he played much better than those numbers looked. I figure that Shanahan will give him plenty of time with and against the end of the 90 man roster guys. Hopefully he gets some time with guys like Aldrick Robinson or Terrance Austin this week. Obviously it is going to be good to give Cousins a lot of work over Grossman and Crompton in the preseason to get him familiar with the Shanny offense.
3- Now that we may see a whole quarter of work I want to see how the Kyle Shanahan-ran offense has evolved in year three. Although I expect the Redskins to keep it simple and not show anything I still want to see improvements now that Shanahan has some of his players lining up.
This is a big year for Kyle Shanahan to show what worked in Houston can work in Washington. Supposedly in the past the offense did allow receivers to get open but we didn’t have the right people to execute getting the ball there. Now they have their guy at quarterback and it’s time to see open receivers getting a chance to make plays. It would be nice to see some good rhythm Saturday in both the run and pass games from the offensive line on down.
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4- We still need to see some kicking chances after last week’s missed opportunities. I think it was a major negative last week that both Graham Gano and Neil Rackers spent most of the game on the sidelines. The Redskins kicking situation is far from solid and Gano needs to show he has improved and Rackers needs to show he has not lost anything.
They can kick in practice all day but we really need to see real game field goal attempts unless just one of them has lost it. This is a huge decision for both Mike Shanahan and Danny Smith since the kicking battle loser could be snatched up by another team immediately.
5- Finally, I want to see them continue with the gold pants. Joking. I like the gold pants but that is not important right now. I want to follow players who will or may need to be ready week one in case of injuries like Chris Baker for Chris Neild and Maurice Hurt for Cory Lichtensteiger. Add to that with the uncertainty of Joshua Morgan and Leonard Hankerson, guys like Anthony Armstrong and Dez Briscoe have an opportunity to show something. Shanahan has shown in the first two years receivers and running backs can move up and down the depth chart quickly. These guys need to be ready to roll week one.
The offensive line play will be important as always so maybe it is good that guys like Polumbus, Hurt and Gettis are getting first team work. I know Jammal Brown needs the reps but I am at a point where he can’t be counted on. Pretty much everyone is at that point other than the Brown family!