The Washington Redskins' 12 drafted players take the field tonight for their second professional football game.
They'll do their best to show coaches that they are progressing and deserve a shot on the 53-man roster or practice squad.
Here's how the rookies can help themselves against the Colts:
— LB Ryan Kerrigan: The Purdue product found himself doing a lot of thinking last week, and hopes that another week of work will allow him to fly around and play with the aggression that he knows he is capable of. That's just what the first-rounder needs to do while showing coaches he's getting more comfortable.
The team's other rookie linebacker, seventh-rounder Markus White, can help himself by doing the same when he gets on the field — likely in the second half.
— Look for DL Jarvis Jenkins to continue to rotate in and out often during the first half with the first-team defense. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said the Clemson product already is proving himself to be a better pass-rusher than the coach had believed. Jenkins needs to work on getting better leverage, which will further help him in those battles in the trenches. Seventh-rounder Chris Neild, the nose tackle out of West Virginia, is a prime practice squad candidate, but can help himself with disciplined play up front as well.
— RBs Roy Helu and Evan Royster: Royster had a strong outing last week when it came to running the ball, but could have done better at picking up blitzes on third downs. He said that's the main area he wants to improve in. Helu didn't get as many carries last week, so Coach Mike Shanahan likely will call his name more this week. A steady show of his speed and elusiveness will be key for Helu.
— WRs Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson: For Hankerson, it's simple: catch the stinkin' ball. That's been his main problem, but he is coming off of probably his best week of practice and appears to be playing with better concentration. Paul is solid. A few nice catches and kick returns — if he's given the chance — will help him. And Robinson needs to redeem himself after dropping two punts last week. Whether or not he makes this team likely will be determined by special-teams play.
— DBs DeJon Gomes and Brandyn Thompson: Gomes has been feeling his way along in practices, Haslett says, but last week the rookie safety kicked things up a notch with a sack and three tackles for a loss. More of the same — as well as some strong play on special teams — will please coaches. Thompson played very little last week, but could see more action this week with the cornerback position a little thinner because Josh Wilson is out. Thompson needs to capitalize on any opportunity he gets, because he hasn't seemed to stand out in practices.
— OG Maurice Hurt: The seventh-rounder is battling inexperienced vets Selvish Capers and Xavier Fulton for a roster spot as a backup guard. Hurt needs to get good push off the line and make the most of limited second-half action.