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Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 08/20/2012

Redskins preseason: Five areas to monitor as Washington gets back to work

The Washington Redskins return to the practice field after a day to let the dust settle from their 33-31 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

The Redskins will begin preparation for Saturday’s preseason home opener against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. This game will most closely resemble a regular season matchup. The starters are expected to play around three quarters, and then make way for the backups.

Here are five areas to monitor as the Redskins get back to work:

1.) Recoveries of Orakpo, Meriweather — The Redskins dodged a couple of bullets when they learned on Sunday that neither outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder), nor strong safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) will need surgery. It’s unlikely that either will play Saturday, and so the focus is on getting each starter healthy and ready for the Sept. 9 regular season opener. It means more opportunities for Tanard Jackson to prove his worth as he steps in at strong safety, and the same for Rob Jackson at outside linebacker.

2.) Fletcher’s health — Inside linebacker London Fletcher missed last Thursday’s practice and last Saturday’s game with an undisclosed ailment. The owner of the NFL’s longest active consecutive games played streak, and last year’s league leader in tackles, Fletcher was said to not be feeling very good, but Coach Mike Shanahan declined to say if it was an illness or injury.

3.) Running back health — The Redskins plan to ratchet Tim Hightower’s activity up another notch after he went through a limited amount of 11-on-11 action late last week. The plan is to evaluate Hightower and his surgically repaired left knee early this week to determine if he can make his return to the playing field this Saturday. Meanwhile, second-year pro Roy Helu Jr. missed all of last week with tendonitis in his left Achilles’ tendon. The Redskins should find out if he can get back to work as well as he, Hightower, Evan Royster and Alfred Morris jockey for position on the depth chart.

4.) Ongoing position battles — The Redskins still have questions in their secondary where Cedric Griffin has appeared to struggle while competing with Kevin Barnes for the third cornerback spot. Meanwhile, rookie Richard Crawford continues to put up solid production as he contends for a spot on the depth chart. On offense, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, Terrence Austin and Dezmon Briscoe all had strong performances last Saturday as they compete for some of the final spots at the receiver position. And Anthony Armstrong, who got on the field for only one snap, tries to get back into the mix.

5.) Griffin’s rebound — Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and his offense look to put Saturday’s struggles behind them and put together a more effective outing against the Colts. Griffin will address members of the media following today’s practice to discuss what he learned from the Chicago game, and how he aims to continue his development.

By  |  09:00 AM ET, 08/20/2012

 
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