What to watch for Washington Redskins vs NY Jets: Preseason Week 2

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1 . How the Starters Look?:

– The Redskins rested almost their entire starting line-up in the first preseason game, so tonight will be our first look at most of the key players. Offensively it sounds like injuries could keep a number of key starters on the sideline and it’s possible that Alex Smith won’t play as well. Even if Smith and a number of other starters don’t play, it will be good to get a look at how the rest of the starters play versus the Jets first team defense. One benefit of having a veteran back-up like Colt McCoy is that he can give a reasonable baseline performance at QB making it easy to judge the other starters.

Defensively it’s expected that most of the starters will play and possibly for the entire first quarter. First round rookie Daron Payne could also make his debut tonight which will be interesting to watch. If he does play he will probably be more limited than some of the other starters as he’s just recovering from an injury. With fellow defensive linemen Matt Ioannidis and Stacy McGee out, Tim Settle and Anthony Lanier should get longer looks in the first half.

2 . How big of a concern is the Running back Depth Chart?:

Related: Redskins 53 man roster and Practice Squad predictions

– After losing rookie RB Derrius Guice in the first preseason game for the season due to injury, the Redskins rushing offense is now a concern. Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine are vying for the feature back role and this game could determine whether or not the Redskins explore a trade option or signing a free agent. Kelley has had a strong camp, but Perine probably has more talent and all-around ability. Consistency has been an issue with Perine and in the first preseason game he was lucky to have a clear fumble negated by the officials. The backs won’t have a full offensive line in front of them in this game, but they still need to show some positive signs for the team to feel good about where they are at entering the season.

Of lesser importance, but still interesting to watch is the battle for the back-up 3rd down role, behind starter Chris Thompson. Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs, both showed a number of positives in the first preseason game, and will look to capitalize on that tonight. There is a chance the Redskins opt to keep both, but it probably ends up being a situation where only one of the two can make the team.

3. Do the young corners match-up well?:

– The Redskins opted to release veteran corner Orlando Scandrick this week to free up reps and make room for their young corners. The move made it clear that Quinton Dunbar is now a clear starter on the outside and 2nd year Fabian Moreau is the starter at slot corner. A trio of late round/undrafted rookies are expected to make up the Redskins depth behind the starters. Last week UDFA Danny Johnson and 7th rd Greg Stroman were both very impressive and will look to have another strong performance to solidify their roster spots.

Tonight will be a good test for the Redskins as the Jets have the best quarterback depth in the league right now with three very viable options in starter Josh McCown, back-up Teddy Bridgewater and 3rd overall pick Sam Darnold. Regardless of what part of the game, the Redskins young corners will get tested by quality competition tonight. If the Redskins young starters struggle or the back-ups falter it could force the Redskins to look at free agent cornerback options to add some experience to go along with veteran Josh Norman.

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4. How do the rookies look?:

– Though the rookies won’t get as much run as they did a week ago (in most cases), this is still a very important game in a rookie’s development. Here’s what to look for tonight on offense and defense:

 Offense: The Redskins lost their top offensive rookie in Guice a week ago. That leaves OT Geron Christian as the top drafted offensive rookie. With both Trent Williams and Morgan Moses expected out, Christian should play quite a bit tonight. He desperately needs a bounce back game after struggling last week in the opener. Seventh round rookie receiver Trey Quinn left last weeks game with an injury, but he’s expected to play tonight. Quinn should have some opportunities as starters Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder could both be out. Quinn figures to get a lot of work in the slot and could get some punt return opportunities as well. Undrafted rookie WR Cam Sims had a strong first preseason game and put himself on the radar to make the team. He will need another strong performance tonight and is worth keeping an eye on.

Defense: This will be Daron Payne’s first action tonight so that well worth watching. Last week’s preseason standout Tim Settle should get plenty of work tonight and if he keeps playing like he did in the first preseason game, he could be the 4th DL on the team, playing 30-40% of the snaps easily. LB Shaun Dion Hamilton had a really good first game, leading the team in tackles. He probably won’t get as much playing time tonight, but still should see a good run. S Troy Apke figures to get a lot of work with the 2nd team, but probably won’t see as much time as a week ago. Rookie corners Johnson, Stroman and Adonis Alexander all will be interesting to watch tonight versus the Jets QBs.

5. Any major improvements or regressions from the first preseason game?:

– It’s always easy to make snap judgments after the first preseason game on certain players and position groups. Tonight gives us another really good data point to see how right those initial opinions were from the first preseason game. Now that is not to say that tonight’s performance should then be considered the gospel for various players. It’s just good to start to see a fuller picture of where this team is as they look to contend for the playoffs this season. It obviously doesn’t matter whether they win or lose tonight, but you do want to see the Redskins competitive in their individual battles and have positives they can build upon.

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