Pay attention to:
1. How Brian Orakpo and Albert Haynesworth fare together.
They'll get their first action side-by-side, which will be fun to see. Chances are, the guard and center will double Haynesworth and the tackle will get help from a back who will chip Orkapo. Otherwise, it'll be trouble. But it makes it a great place to blitz. The Redskins won't get too inventive, but maybe we'll see Orakpo on a stunt to the middle. Lots of possibilities.
2. The offensive line.
Not just in pass protection, though that is the major theme of the preseason. How will they handle the blitz? But it's also about getting something going on the ground. Do the Redskins get to the linebackers? They did not do that last week and it caused a few holes to close. With Randy Thomas back, that will help – on the combo blocks as well. Stephon Heyer needs to get to the backers; haven't seen him do that enough.
3. Linebackers in coverage.
Little bit concerned about this area going forward. The Redskins gave up too much by these guys last week; some of it was technique, some was just getting beat. Orakpo will be tested in this area, but he will not be in coverage as much during the season. Just a hunch.
4. Justin Tryon's reaction.
He was bad last week, but showed his20character by having a very good week of practice. Did not see him beat from the slot as much as he had been earlier in camp. Can he play this way or will he be a player who looks better in practice than in games? Don't have a lot of confidence in Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers' ability to stay healthy all season, so Tryon must improve. Kevin Barnes is another in this category, though he mostly struggled again in practice. He had one good day, but otherwise was getting beat too often. He has the speed, but how does he handle double moves? Are his eyes in the right place?
5. The backup offensive linemen.
We have not bought into any of them to this point. Jeremy Bridges has not impressed at either tackle spot in practice. Mike Williams' ankle and Devin Clark's knee likely will keep them out. But Bridges and Chad Rinehart, two possible primary backups, must show improvement. Rinehart might have improved, but not to the point where the Redskins would feel comfortable putting him in a game.
6. The backup linebacker battle.
Heard that Cody Glenn is starting to play a little better; have not heard the same about Robert Henson. Darrell Young is another guy on the coach's radar, mainly because of his special teams ability. Maybe one of these players makes the final roster. Maybe. Glenn's ability to run will help on teams.
7. The No. 5 receiver spot.
Much was made of Marko Mitchell this week and he did look good. He catches everything. But to think he's ready to play in a real game is a bit much. Mitchell still needs to learn more routes; right now he's limited to a couple that he really runs well. He is considered smart, which helps. But his special teams ability is weak. Meanwhile, Marques Hagans played poorly vs. Baltimore. Trent Shelton has not done a whole lot at receiver lately, but might help on teams. It would be surprising if D.J. Hackett makes the final roster if only because he offers nothing on teams and lacks the speed they'd probably want in a fifth guy (gotta have something to develop).
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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