Insider's Guide to Redskins at Bengals

Here's what to look for as the Redskins open the preseason in Cincinnati.

Keep an eye on: The reserve linemen. Injuries happen and if the Redskins don't have a quality backup along the line, they'll be in trouble. They know the key to the season is keeping Mark Brunell healthy and that means finding at least one trustworthy backup for the interior and tackle. They signed Tyson Walter and Mike Pucillo to provide depth, but it's still debatable about whether or not those moves will help.

Also watch: quarterback Jason Campbell. Brunell looks like he did last year, which is a good sign. But Campbell is the reason for hope in the future. He doesn't have to start the season, barring injury, but he does need to progress. And he needs to look better than he did in the scrimmage. Safety Sean Taylor is another to watch. Though he might not play a lot, Taylor appears to be on the verge of a big season. Coaches say he's much more knowledgeable of the defense, partly because he can't rely on his crutch of the past two seasons, Ryan Clark. Taylor is playing a smarter game this summer. Combine that with his talent and anything is possible.

Don't pay attention to: what the defense does. This is as versatile a group as Gregg Williams has ever had. So there's no way they'll tip their hand in a preseason game. Instead, they'll put guys in positions to test their reaction. When a coach does that, he's willing to look bad for a night to take two steps forward.

Player on the spot: receiver David Patten. Celebrated a year ago, one has to wonder what role he'll have this season. It's hard to imagine them cutting him, unless he requests it for fear of no playing time. But it's not far-fetched to see him as the No. 5 receiver and inactive, based on his lack of special teams prowess.

Player on the spot II: punter David Lonie. Come on, mate; are you going to just hand the job to Derrick Frost? As good as Lonie has punted in the offseason, when, of course, it doesn't matter, he's probably still too raw for this staff.

First chance to see: rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh. He hasn't done much in camp to stand out -- one way or the other. McIntosh has the reputation of getting off blocks very fast; let's see if that's the case against the Bengals.

Unveiling: of the offense. But do you think Al Saunders will want to show too much? Of course not. Even if it looks like they are, trust us, they're not. It'll be interesting to see the timing between the QBs and the receivers. In this offense, timing is everything -- quarterbacks throw to a spot rather than a receiver. Any delay, or misread, can cause a nasty mistake.

Defensive rookie to watch: tackle Kedric Golston. The kid has a high motor. He's not going to make flashy plays, but see if he holds his ground inside. Really, that's all he has to do, allowing others to make plays. Also, safety Reed Doughty. He struggled last week and has a rep for being poor against the pass. Is it true?

Improved outing: is needed from: John Hall. Truthfully, all he must do is show he's healthy. But he also has to inspire confidence and making field goals is the only way to do that.

They're out: Curry Burns (hamstring), Nic Clemons (knee), Ade Jimoh (sternum), Kili Lefotu (illness), Jesse Lumsden (hip flexor), Jim Molinaro (knee), Kevin Simon (stomach), Aric Williams (hamstring), Calen Powell (hip flexor), Anthony Montgomery (hamstring), Taylor Jacobs (hip flexor).


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