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Saturday, August 24, 2013

What to Watch For in the Redskins Third Preseason Game

In the NFL, the third game of the preseason is typically the dress rehearsal for the regular season. For the Redskins it will be a little different. Today against Buffalo Rex Grossman will lead the first team offense for likely a half and former West Virginia stand out Pat White will take over when Grossman exits. Grossman came into training camp as the number three quarterback, but will be thrust into action today after number two Kirk Cousins went down with a foot injury last Monday and RGIII still working his way back from knee surgery. The Bills and CJ Spiller will be a good test for the Redskins in what will be a good battle before the games start to count. Here are three things to watch for in today’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

1. How will Brian Orakpo look?
Fourth year linebacker Brian Orakpo will be playing at FedEx Field for the first time in 608 days. Orakpo only played in two games last season before going down with an injury.  Prior to his injury, Orakpo was arguably the best player on the Redskins defense, if he can return to his previous form, the Redskins defense has a chance to be among the top ten in the league. If Orakpo can show that he is healthy and able to perform at a high level, teams will no longer be able to double team outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Offensive coordinators will have a very tough time shutting down both Kerrigan and Orakpo.

2. Wide Receivers Battles
The first five Redskins wide receivers are all already set in stone. Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan round out the first team while Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson are on the second team with veteran Santana Moss on the third team. The sixth and likely last wide receiver spot is still up for grabs. It was initially thought that Donte Stallworth would take that spot in his second tour of duty with the team, but Stallworth has been hampered by injuries in training camp thus far and has yet to appear in a game.Stallworth however is expected to try to play today against Buffalo and with a good showing could all but lock-up the last spot. Other receivers Skye Dawson, Chip Reeves, Dezmon Briscoe, Nick Williams, and Lance Lewis have all competed hard in camp, but none have stood out enough to earn a roster spot yet. However, there is still one more game left against Tampa Bay for some of the fringe receivers to show they belong.

3. Defensive Backs
The Redskins defensive backs have had an up and down preseason so far. It has been highlighted by the loss of rookie safety Philip Thomas for the season. Thomas was expected to play big role at safety with many questions already at the position. Defensive coordinator Jim Hasletthas also slated rookie Bacarri Rambo into a starting safety spot alongside veteran Brandon Merrieweather. Rambo showed he is indeed a rookie against Tennessee but showed flashes of brilliance on Monday night against Pittsburgh when he forced a fumble.  Merrieweather will not play against Buffalo in what is hopefully a rebound year for the veteran safety. Merriweather played in only one game last year after suffering several injuries. If Merriweather can return to form, then the secondary will be a lot more intimidating after teams were able to pass at will against the Redskins last year. Two other players to watch are cornerbacks David Amerson and E.J. Biggers. Both will likely serve as back ups this year, but will play pivotal roles due to the inconsistent play of starting corners Josh Wilson and Deangelo Hall.

Mac Cassells 
Sr Staff Writer 

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