Redskins vs. Bills Preseason Game: What I’m Watching
By DC Staff Writer John Manuel:
Not a real tough one here. Obviously it is going to be the debut of Robert Griffin III and the 12-20 snaps he takes under center. I do want to see his arm at work, his speed, and his ability to avoid the rush and make plays. But I also just want to make sure it’s not awkward for him just to take the snap under center.
I am not worried about his ability to take over the team as a leader though. I do want to see what happens once a bad play occurs, since this didn’t happen much the past two seasons at Baylor. How will he respond to adversity? Will he be an Eli Manning or will he be a Kevin Kolb?
Hopefully the Shanahan’s will let him drop back a few times to see if he can make plays rather than quick slants or wide receiver screens. It’s going to be exciting so hopefully we get a good glimpse of what the future of RG3 holds.
#2- The intensity of the starting defense:
I would really love for them in the first series against the Bills to come out active. They need to get the season off right with a defensive three and out. Since the only real position battle is at the safety positions, I really want to see the front seven get after it. Let games two and three let us know if Brandon Meriweather and Madeiu Williams can handle the strong and free positions.
I would love to see them come out get two 3 and outs and be done with it. Let the backups come in and show what they got early, especially at the corner position with guys like Brandyn Thompson and Richard Crawford. And even old Terp Kevin Barnes, who has a lot to prove this August.
#3- I want to see what Alfred Morris can bring:
Shanahan has had a history of grabbing running backs later in the draft and turning them into productive players. Look at last year with Helu and Royster. Morris could be that second half star we see every year. Check Marcus Mason. Also, his ability to help at fullback could be needed with the uncertainty of Darrel Young’s status from injury.
I am not expecting him to be the starter by week 8 but it still looks like Shanahan is not set at the running back position if they were talking about Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant. Maybe Willie Parker or Larry Johnson has something left?
#4- The kicker battle:
I have to pull this one out since they are the only substantial players who could be active in the 4th quarter of the first preseason game. And I do think this is a huge battle for Graham Gano to keep his job. Neil Rackers is a legit kicker who other teams are probably kicking themselves they don’t have in their camp right now, especially a contender like the Ravens.
Most analysts around them team feel that Gano will eventually win the job, but I’m far from sure of that. He held off Shayne Graham quickly in the preseason but Rackers is a different kicker. I can’t see Shanahan and Danny Smith continuing to give Gano chances with such a low success rate. I call this 50/50 for sure.
#5- The broadcast team:
I still miss having Lindsay Czarniak as the sideline reporter, huge loss for the Skins and their fans. Although I am very interested to see how Antwan Randle-EL does as a sidelines reporter. I will not miss Doc Walker and his love for every Redskins player as he asks them about “walking the dog” or “being a man out there.”
Also, guys like Kenny Albert, Sam Rosen and Kevin Harlan make up a big difference over the likeable Mike Patrick struggling over calling out the right player. Joey T is back also, which I think is good since he know can put a lot of time being around training camp and seeing what is going on rather than some ESPN analyst flown in to do the games.