Things to Watch Tonight Vs the Ravens:
August 23, 2014 in Redskins Personnel
1. Can the starting offense move the ball consistently and finish drives?
-The starting offense has moved the ball pretty well (though benefited somewhat by penalties), but they really struggled to finish drives versus the Browns who look to be a pretty good defense this year. The Ravens represent another good test so how the Redskins fare versus them will be a nice indicator for the season. The Redskins though really need to get their first team offense into the end zone in this game and hopefully a couple of times.
2. Can the offense cut back on the turnovers and penalties?
-A big part of the issue for the Redskins offense (1st team or otherwise) has been giving the ball up too often (4 turnovers vs the Browns) and committing too many penalties. If the Redskins are to have an offense that not only can match-up versus the best defenses in league, but also has to carry the Redskins, they can't afford these types of mistakes. Too often last year turnovers and penalties would shoot the Redskins offense in the foot and it would put them in a deep hole that they couldn't come out of. This is the trial run for the season so it will be promising if the Redskins can play mistake free football tonight.
3. How do rookies Morgan Moses and Spencer Long look, particularly if they get any work with the first unit?
-One issue that has already been made clear with the first unit is that there are still issues along the offensive line. The two guys who the Redskins hope will fix their line are 3rd round rookies Morgan Moses and Spencer Long. Though neither is expected to start the season, the Redskins hope that both of them are starters of the future and possibly sooner. To see how ready they are the Redskins have indicated that both might see some work with the first unit in this game. If both Moses and Long show they are up to the task they could find their way into the starting line-up at some point early in the season.
1. How does Jason Hatcher look?
-Hatcher was the Redskins big free agent addition on defense and is one of the keys for this defense to get back to a respectable level. Hatcher though has been recovering from an offseason knee injury so this will be his one chance to get some game action before the start of the season. While it's likely the Redskins will limit his snaps, it will be interesting to see how he does while he's in and how much of an impact he can have. If he's still not 100% the Redskins Defense could struggle some more early in the season.
2. How does the Redskins first and 2nd team defense look versus the Ravens units?
-The vast majority of the defense that will make the opening day 53 man roster will be from these first two units, so seeing how they fare could be a pretty good indicator of how they will be come the start of the season. So far the Redskins Defense has looked good, but they also haven't been tested too much. The Patriots started Ryan Mallet at QB and saw a number of other offensive starters either miss the game or leave after the first 3 and out. Against the Browns the Redskins Defense benefited from the misery of the Browns passing offense which stalled those drives out despite some of the good field position the Browns found themselves in. Tonight the Redskins should be tested quite a bit more and it will be an indicator of what the Redskins can expect to see this season. Now at the end of the day it is still preseason, but it will show some nice promise if the Redskins can succeed versus the Ravens top 2 units.
3. How does the run defense look?
-While the Redskins haven't been tested too much, one thing that was a concern last week versus the Browns was the success they had on the ground. Ben Tate ran pretty well versus the Redskins Defense and he did so despite the Browns passing offense not showing it's self as a threat. While Tate could be a solid running back this year, he's no where near the quality of back the Redskins will face most weeks. Tonight is another solid test for the Redskins, but since they aren't facing a stud back it would be nice to see the Redskins be able to control the line of scrimmage better and stop the Ravens rushing attack for minimal gain.
1. How the kicking battle is shaping up?
-Week 1 went to Zach Hocker, week 2 was more of a toss-up, but probably leaning Hocker. That leaves Kai Forbath some ground to make up, making this an important game for him as he hopes to retake the lead in the competition.
2. Who is making plays on the coverage units?
-For the final couple roster spots on this team a big factor will be the ability of these guys to play special teams. Last week we saw Akeem Jordan make a big play on the punt coverage unit and that could go a long way to earning him a roster spot. Who will step up this game before the initial cuts?
3. Does the new punter get a shot?
-The Redskins cut Blake Clingan earlier this week, but they didn't just had the job to Robert Malone. They brought in punter Tress Way and it will be interesting to see if they give him a fair shot in this game to compete with Malone.