The soap opera drama with the Washington Redskins has returned unfortunately, things are getting bleak early and tomorrow’s showing against the Baltimore Ravens could be the beginning of the end.
After more participating in the blame game by Robert Griffin III towards the coaching staff starting with Jay Gruden regarding whether the starting quarterback suffered a concussion when sustaining several blows last Thursday against the Lions.
With the third preseason game often being the dress rehearsal for week one of the regular season, there are infinite things to watch for. Here we highlight five big idea areas to watch out for:
- In limited playing time so far, Griffin has underwhelmed though it has not all been his fault. He had a long touchdown dropped by Pierre Garcon and had next to know blind side protection from Willie Smith. None the less it is time for Griffin to put his money where his mouth is because another underwhelming performance could cause the quarterback controversy to really heat up and lead to Gruden possibly questioning his QB1 status. Though it will take a completely dreaded performance for Griffin to be benched prior to the start of the regular season, his starting role is not set in stone as well as it was as recently as a couple of weeks ago.
- The offensive line HAS to improve. A quarterback cannot be successful when getting hit on 75% of dropbacks as Griffin was last week. The return of the Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams will be a huge plus over the journeyman tackle Willie Smith who could find himself unemployed by final cuts on September 5th. If the young core on the right side of the line of Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses can rebound after a poorer showing last week, Griffin should have enough time. The only way to start truly evaluating Griffin is when all the pieces around him are in place as they would be in the regular season and that starts with the men that protect him.
- When Junior Galette went down with a torn Achilles injury before even taking a game snap with the Redskins, it was a huge loss that DeAngelo Hall put it as losing the missing piece to the defense. It is hard to argue with the corner when he loose an elite pass rusher that has 22 sacks over the past two seasons. Now it will be up to the likes of developing edge rushers Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith to fill the void left by the ex-Saint. It is not the worst possible injury based on the idea that the team has solid depth at the position, but the young outside linebackers are going to be forced to grow up even quicker as they face three first round left tackles prior to All Pro blind side protector in the Eagles’ Jason Peters. Ryan Kerrigan with is locked into the WOLB position might not play for precautionary reasons after having his knee scoped during the offseason.
- Can the offense continue to improve with Griffin reacquiring dynamic weapons like Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder? Many of claimed that missing DeSean Jackson, who has a “slim” chance of suiting up tomorrow, has caused some of Griffin’s ineffectiveness so ideally Reed and Crowder will help soften the shoulder injury to the elite deep threat. If healthy, Reed and Crowder have shown that they can create mismatches in one on one coverage which can only help Griffin in his options in the pocket to get rid of the ball more quickly. Crowder reportedly suffered a slight twinge in his hamstring and could be held out further for precautionary reasons.
- Their are still many position battles going on the fill out the Redskins 53 man roster. Cuts to a 15 man roster will take place nest Tuesday, September 1st so their are individuals who will use the second half of the game to sustain their livelihoods. Backup offensive tackle, wide receivers, and linebackers are positions with spots up for grabs. Look for many decisions to be made based on an individual’s contribution or lack thereof on special teams after losing two aces in Niles Paul and Adam Hayward within the span of a week.
Tomorrow’s dress rehearsal will be the first time all year that predictions based on performance on a larger sample size will not be speculative. None the less do not throw any particular starter under the bus after just over a half of work building up to the start of the regular season.
Check back for a full analysis of the Redskins battling the the Baltimore Ravens after a Saturday night matchup with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM.