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Posted at 07:35 AM ET, 11/09/2011

Areas to monitor as Redskins gear up for Miami

The Washington Redskins get back to work today and begin preparing to take on the Miami Dolphins, who are coming off their first win of the season. Meanwhile, the Redskins are mired in a four-game losing streak.

It’s a busy time at Redskins Park. The team is shuffling its roster, bringing in players to evaluate and still trying to solve its offensive woes.

Here are five areas to monitor this week:

Beck’s progressQuarterback John Beck is fighting not only to keep his job this year, but to convince Mike Shanahan he should be the guy next year as well. The coach said he saw improvements in Beck between the Buffalo game and the San Francisco game. Beck needs to continue to show progress and start delivering with some big plays. Another week of missed opportunities will not only keep Washington’s offense stuck in neutral, it will also start wearing on Beck’s teammates. Beck should have some extra motivation this week. On Sunday he’ll face the team that drafted him out of BYU in 2007. He started four games as a rookie, but the team gave up on him the following year. Can he come out and have a good game and show them they were wrong to be so impatient?

New faces – The team brought in wide receiver David Anderson, defensive end Kentwan Balmer and cornerback Dominique Johnson. Which of them – if any – will make an impact? Anderson knows the system and had his two most productive years under Kyle Shanahan in Houston. But he’s an undersized wideout. Although he’s a good route-runner, he lacks the speed to be a field-stretching threat. Balmer was a first-round pick who flamed out with his first two teams. The knock on him is that he doesn’t have a great work ethic, and heart and desire haven’t been strengths either. Can he finally live up to his potential in D.C.? Who knows?. But this is a low-risk move for the Redskins. Evaluate him for a couple weeks. If he shows promise, good for them. If not, they can cut him easily. Johnson has good size at 6-2, 186 pounds, but he doesn’t have great coverage skills.

Choice’s chanceRoy Helu had a good first start with 14 catches for 105 yards and 10 carries for 41 yards, so he likely will hold onto the No. 1 spot. But Tashard Choice is hoping to make his Redskins debut this week. The former Cowboy must show coaches that he has developed a good feel for the offense only a week after he signed with the team, and that he is capable of giving them something they don’t already have in Helu or Ryan Torain.

Atogwe’s health – Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was supposed to be the difference-maker, but so far, the team’s biggest free agent signing of the year has looked slow and hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Knee and toe injuries forced him to miss last week’s game. Washington needs Atogwe to get healthy and start making plays for this defense, which is lacking in the turnover department.

Kareem Moore’s progress – The team doesn’t have to make a decision on whether to activate the safety from the PUP list until Nov. 16, but with Atogwe still ailing, and an extra spot on the roster (Washington made four cuts and signed three players Tuesday), could this be the week that Moore gets the nod?

By  |  07:35 AM ET, 11/09/2011

 
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