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Posted at 12:24 PM ET, 08/19/2011

Redskins at Colts: Keys to the game

The Redskins passed their first test with flying colors and after last night’s thrashing of the “Dream Team” Philadelphia Eagles by the Pittsburgh Steelers — the team Washington beat — tonight’s game becomes even more valuable.

The Redskins had great success last week, and tonight, whether they win or lose, they should continue to get progressively better.

Here's what I will be watching for:

OFFENSE
Of course, like everyone else, I will be watching to see how quarterback John Beck does in the game. He has more pressure on him than Rex Grossman in the opener. Why? Because Beck not only has to follow up a solid outing by Grossman, but he has to do it on the road creating a slight disadvantage for Beck. If he plays well tonight doing it away I believe trumps Grossman's home performance.

I want to see if the offensive line can hold up again. It did a solid job last week (though James Harrison was out). This week may be a tougher challenge, with Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney coming from true bookend positions.

Can running back Tim Hightower be consistent? I'm eager to see if he can continue to get downhill and crank out yardage.

Will this be the game Roy Helu moves into the second back position over Evan Royster and an injured Ryan Torain?

Will Leonard Hankerson have a better outing? I know he's going into this game with many things on his mind with the football scandal at Miami, his alma mater. I wonder whether he will be able to dial in and focus on having a great game.

DEFENSE
Without London Fletcher up tonight, we will see if this defense can function without its field general.

It will give guys opportunities to make cases for their jobs. I will be watching the whole LB corps tonight to see who can step it up.

Can Ryan Kerrigan improve from his first game?

The Colts are a pass-heavy team, so even without Peyton Manning, this secondary will be thrown against. I want to see how the largely reserve-filled secondary handles its business.

Can the defensive line continue to improve? Can it push the pocket on pass plays and move the line of scrimmage backward on run plays?

SPECIAL TEAMS
This is an important week for Brandon Banks. I believe that if Terrence Austin or anyone else steps up and does well in the return game with Banks injured and out of the rotation, it could make it even more difficult for Banks to make this roster.

Leave your comments here and chat with me on Twitter @LaVarArrington.

By  |  12:24 PM ET, 08/19/2011

 
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