Half of the remaining Redskins rookie draft picks are on offense and will debut against a tough Steelers defense.
The pre-season game against the Steelers will hopefully answer many questions, samples of which include:
1) Who will be the running back lightning to Alfred Morris' thunder? It looks like Chris Thompson will get snaps against the Steelers and perhaps return some kicks. Jawan Jamison should also see a lot of carries.
After seeing the Seahawks utterly dominant the Broncos, it's hard to say that Roy Helu Jr. or Evan Royster will keep defensive coordinators up at night. If the Redskins have Super Bowl aspirations, those two are not enough of a threat.
The keys to watch - Chris Thompson's burst, how his knee holds up, Jawan Jamison's juke ability at the 2nd level, ball security. Chris Thompson was very limited in camp and if he can deliver during this game, his upside is very very high. Will the Redskins try some screen passing?
2) Jordan "Cruising for a bruisin’'" Reed - Can he play without getting hurt? Is he really that athletic? Can he block? Will the Redskins show off new tight end formations? I'm thinking of the Seahawks big secondary as the new trend in the NFL and the need for Redskins to have tough, strong and big tight ends and receivers.
3) Offensive Line - can they protect RG3? Look to see a lot of progress from Tom Compton and Tony Pashos. Watch lineman sail past Polumbus once again this game. Does Josh LiRibeus belong more on a buffet line or an NFL offensive line? (Imagine the Redskins had taken Russell Wilson instead LiRibeus in that 3rd round. Yes, I'm thinking the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL right now). Keep an eye on Gettis and Nixon.
4) Can Cousins deliver in the pocket and not have to rely on rolling out right? It's difficult to believe that RG3 will play more than 2 quarters MAXIMUM against the Eagles. I doubt he plays a full game before the bye week. The Redskins need Cousins to dominate.
5) Can the defense stop the run? It helps that the Steelers starting running backs will probably not play. If the Redskins have trouble with the run, it's going to be a long year.
6) Can the Redskins generate turnovers? I have a hunch Rambo or Amerson will get their first NFL pick this game.
7) Can the secondary shut down the Steelers receivers?
8) Can Sir Lancelot Lewis make it the King Kyle's wide receiver round table? A bad formation lineup and a bad fumble cost Lewis two touchdowns in his debut last game. The fumble problem can from catching too low and not having the strength when being grabbed by those arms to hold the ball. I noticed he had the same problem in college in another fumble as well. Contrast this to Josh Morgan who made the same catch and was able to hold on to the ball after being tackled the same way in the same Titans game. However, if Lewis continues to dominate the high throws and can score again, he has a chance to make the team.
9) Can Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson show more catching consistency and YAC on intermediate routes?
10) Will the Redskins depth at middle linebacker continue it's free fall? The Redskins don't seem to like UDFA's Compton and Burdette. Muckelroy was a huge disappointment against the Titans. Haz loves Kehl but he still looks like a 3rd string player to me.
11) Can Merling and Baker generate pass rush? The Redskins looked like 5th graders trying to tackle an adult Big Ben last year. Getting sacks this game would be a great sign for the Redskins D-line.
12) Can the Redskins "Special" teams stop being an oxymoron? The return game and coverage was not special by any means against the Titans. Look for Thompson, Nick Williams and Aldrick Robinson to get some potential return time.
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All I'm saying is I think its way too early to be putting teams into the Superbowl based on preseason games. How many times has a team gone 4 and 0 in the preseason or vise verse and didn't or did make it to the Superbowl. I know you can argue based on last year, the talent they pick up in the off season and how they look in games so far, and I would argue all you need to do is look at Philly and others. That's why they play the game.
@Mphillips Redskins fans who remember 2006 and who watched the Eagles 2011 Dream Team know that "This is our year" is a jinx. However, Seattle has all the ingredients -- a stable coaching staff, hot young quarterback, talent they have assembled over several years (as opposed to one big free-agent signing) and a hungry team.
Better than Redskins? Not sure, but it is foolish to dismiss them.