Here are the key players or position groups I’m watching tonight in week 2 of the preseason:
-Amerson had a really nice first game this preseason and will look to build upon that tonight against the Steelers. He wasn’t really challenged in the intermediate or deep areas, and should get more tested tonight versus some of the Steelers quality receivers. The Redskins also hope to see him raise his head when tackling so as to not increase his injury risk.
-Rambo had a rough first game, but this will be interesting to see what he took from that first game. Will his angles of pursuit and tackling improve? Will he not make such risky late hits? Those are the things the Redskins absolutely want to see. It will also be could to see him get tested in the passing game some, since we didn’t really see that with the Titans. The Steelers are definitely the team to do so with a big arm quarterback and some very good and quick receivers.
-Minnifield is having a really strong camp/preseason so far, so another good game will all but lock his roster spot for the season. It will be interesting to see if he gets any reps against the first team, as the Steelers have a good QB and a number of talented receivers.
-Jenkins had a really good first game and should look to build upon that this week. Hopefully he gets some reps with the first unit, and plenty of work with the 2nd team. He could be a strong pass rush specialist for the Redskins, and could end up one of their more important rookies.
-The Redskins need to see Chris Baker give them consistent play if they hope that he can replace Jarvis Jenkins for the first four weeks. One thing that will be interesting to watch is his conditioning, and how many straight reps he can give the Redskins. He has already had to be pulled multiple times in practice due to exhaustion, and week one the Redskins face a high tempo team that isn’t going to let Baker off the field every couple snaps. Hopefully he can get consistent work tonight and build his endurance.
-Compton will be working with the first unit in place of Trent Williams and should stay in with the 2nd team as well. While the Steelers probably won’t be in full blitzburgh mode this should be a good test for Compton. The Redskins desperately need him to improve to give them the depth they need at left tackle. That is even more important given that Trent Williams is dealing with this wrist injury and could be more likely to miss time this season.
-Robinson came into last week’s preseason game with a nice amount of buzz and the expectation that he would be in line for a bigger role this season. In the first game though, Robinson dropped an easy catch that would have been for a big gain. On another ball on the sideline he made what should have been an easy catch much more difficult. If Robinson wants to be more than just a deep threat he’s going to have to show better consistency catching the football. If he can do so versus a tough Steelers defense it will go a long way to helping his stock rise again.
-Last week the 2nd unit offensive line struggled mightily and Rex Grossman was under constant pressure. This week they need to pick-up their level of play. Not only will it be beneficial to evaluate 2nd teamers with a proper offensive line, but also to set the back-up spots for this 53 man roster. The Redskins are going to be deciding between 3 or 4 back-up offensive linemen and while there are current favorites for the spots, I think you’d be hard pressed to say anyone has truly “earned” a spot.
-This should be our first look at rookie runners Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison. Both appear to be on the outside looking in on the roster bubble right now, and will need strong performances these last couple games to earn a 53 man spot. How much time they will get should be interesting since in the 3rd preseason game, starters will probably play the majority of the game. This is there best chance to showcase themselves until the 4th preseason game, which already has rosters pretty well set. Thompson could get some return duties as well tonight, which would help him make the team if he performs well in that area.