1. The offensive line.
How's that for a shocker, huh? After their performance this summer, this is the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 storylines. What we want to see is how Mike Williams uses his hands in pass protection – does he get them inside the defender or is he still keeping his hands too wide? How does he move in the run game? Stephon Heyer's strength is supposed to be pass protection, so why did he keep getting beat this week in practice? Seems to be his first step gives him problems. Will any backup tackle show anything? Will Derrick Dockery still lunge a bit too much for Joe Bugel's liking? It's gotten him in trouble in the past.
2. The defensive line.
Way too many guys have looked good this summer. Why is that? Renaldo Wynn lost 25 pounds and looks great and quicker than ever. Is that a function of his rejuvenated body or because of the players he's facing. Same with Lorenzo Alexander. It'll be hard to tell too much about the D-line without Albert Haynesworth in the game. But if others flash, that's a good sign about the depth. One guy who is in danger of losing his spot is Rob Jackson. Hard to see how he makes the team at this point.
3. How do Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly play?
Thomas will start at flanker and Kelly could start opposite him. This is the Redskins' futu re, right? It could be. But even if both play well tonight, the big question involves the health and can they be available for 16 games? There's no way to answer that right now. I'd like to see some explosiveness from Thomas – we saw it early in camp and then the hamstring slowed him. We saw Kelly's hands and the wide throwing radius he provides Jason Campbell, who has a good completion percentage but is not always pinpoint accurate; having Kelly will help.
4. Is Brian Orakpo for real?
One game will not answer that by any means. Expect some struggles at linebacker; that's only natural. He needs to get used to taking proper angles to the ball, knowing where to fit and reading plays on the run more than he ever had to at end. Most of his summer flashes have come at defensive end. But that's only part of what he'll do. Again, his success at end will be easier to have next to Haynesworth.
5. The mini-battles.
Shaun Suisham and Dave Rayner are in a close competition, one that has gotten closer because Rayner has looked a little better than Suisham in camp. But it's a kicker battle, how exciting can it be? Will Colt Brennan overtake Todd Collins? Not based on one good preseason game he won't. The Redskins like what they've seen of Collins this summer. Brennan has improved – his footwork is better; staying in the pocket, etc. – but he has his good moments and bad. Jason Campbell would do well to come out with a strong showing, just to calm everyone. For a day that is. Chase Daniel is a No. 4 QB and will stay that way.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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