Browsing all articles tagged with Chris Samuels
Aug
13

Top Five Things to Watch for in Skins v. Ravens

Thursday night is finally upon us and the Redskins will be matching up against their beltway non-conference, non-annually played, non-rival !  Even though this is just a preseason game.  It’s another step closer to the regular season.  There are many things that will need to happen for the Redskins to be successful this year, among them: Campbell’s growth in the Zorn offense, Haynesworth living up to his monstrous contract (though slightly lesser than T-Suggs contract with Baltimore) and how the offensive line protects Campbell.  Unfortunately, because it is the first preseason game you won’t see any of those things.  Campbell is likely to be in for one series, Haynesworth (along with other some other starters including Portis) aren’t playing, and the offensive line (Randy Thomas) will not be at full strength.  But, don’t you worry avid Redskins fan!  There is still plenty to watch and learn from tonight’s preseason matchup.

Here’s a run of our Top 5 things to watch for:

5. Offensive line play- Last year the Redskins selected Chad Rinehart (Left Tackle from Northern Iowa) with a third round draft pick and expectations were high for him to be a quality reserve for the offensive line.  It didn’t pan out that way, and he struggled to be effective last year when his number was called.  His explanation?  He was intimidated by the players he faced in the NFL and was stuck imitating others instead of playing “his game”. Injuries happen and have already started to swipe at the starting O-line, so Rinehart will most likely be called upon during the regular season.  Hopefully he will start reclaiming that swagger in the preseason to gear up for the rest of the year.

Of course Right Tackle is the biggest question mark on the O-line, so watch tonight how Heyer, Mike Williams and Bridges fare against a very challenging Ravens defense.  Although they won’t see the first team defense for long, the Ravens have consistently had one of the strongest defenses in the league the past decade and you don’t have that type of consistency without depth.  The race at who will start at RT starts tonight.

4. Just for Kicks- Shaun Suisham has a competition this year for his job at kicker (Thank goodness). Dave Rayner and Suisham will battle it out all preseason long, probably by switching up half’s of the game.  I am not sure this is really a competition, but I’d be shocked if Suisham wins it. Apparently he’s been spending time in the offseason working on things, so maybe he’ll come out and not be the league’s worst kicker. That’d be great.

Oh yeah, we also have a punter that (supposedly) is decent.  I’m actually looking forward to seeing our first punt tonight to see if Hunter Smith can help us forget about the whole Frost/Brooks fiasco from last year and the Plackemeir band-aid. Smith apparently has some pretty sweet sneaks too.

3. Cult of Colt vs. ToddBall Who will be the Number Two QB? One thing you can bet you’ll see this preseason is a heated position battle for the number 2 quarterback spot behind Campbell.  Colt Brennan had an incredible preseason last year going 36 for 53 for 411 yards 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions (also leading all rookies with a QB rating of 109.9 in preseason games).  Todd Collins will most likely put up a good fight, with him also having the advantage of being in Zorn’s system for a second year.  Last year Collins seemed to be out of place while trying to adapt after being in Al Saunders style of offense for nearly a century.

2. Who’s going to be Z-Man’s Z Receiver? This is it, Devin Thomas vs. Malcolm Kelly. Can these second year receiver’s stay on the field and actually contribute this year? Thomas is starting tonight with the first team offense at the flanker position, opposite of Santana Moss.  But both Thomas and Kelly will receive major time tonight and will be challenged by the Ravens secondary.  Their success this pivotal to the success of Campbell.  Look for Campbell and Thomas to get comfortable with each other.  Some early chemistry building could go a long way if Thomas can stay healthy.

1. Orakpo’s debut.  Brian Orakpo was selected 13th in the first round by the Redskins this year and is going to be playing a mix of the SAM LB position (where Marcus Washington played) and Defensive End (where he wreaked havoc in college while playing for Texas). Orakpo’s been exceeding expectations throughout camp, impressing Samuels and Blache with both his natural talent and his quick learning of the defensive system. I don’t want to jinx anything but I think Orakpo could be a dominant force when paired with Haynesworth and Andre Carter.  Tonight we’ll be able to see Orakpo w/o Haynesworth’s help (hopefully not the case very often during the regular season).

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Also watch for these tonight: The competition for punt returner, Kevin Barnes’ debut, Marcus Mason’s last shot and Chase Daniel’s first time against NFL players.