The starters will play about 30 to 35 plays – approximately the first half – and the second half will feature players battling for roster spots and improved positions on the depth chart.
Here are five storylines to follow:
1.) Griffin’s progress – Robert Griffin III had about as good a first outing as one could ask. This week, he’ll be on the field longer and get a chance to spread his wings a bit more. He and the Redskins’ first team offense got off to a slow start last week, then started clicking on the third series. Will they start this game with more of a rhythm?
2.) Morris’s audition –Alfred Morris may get the start at running back because the Redskins know what they have in Evan Royster and want to get an idea of how the rookie does against starters. Morris rushed for a team-high 54 yards on 15 carries last week. He aims to improve his average and prove himself in pass protection this week.
3.) Kickers – Graham Gano and Neil Rackers didn’t get a chance to compete in last week’s game, but the two hope to get their first crack at in-game field goals against Chicago. Both have had ups and downs during practice but hope to prove themselves under more pressure.
4.) Tight ends – Fred Davis wasn’t targeted in the preseason opener, Chris Cooley spent much of his limited time at fullback, Niles Paul had only one catch in five targets, and Logan Paulsen didn’t have a catch in two targets. The Redskins like to use their tight ends in a number of ways, and with more plays to work with, perhaps we’ll see more action out of them this week.
5.) Crawford’s followup – The rookie out of SMU had a good showing last week with an interception and three punt returns for 42 yards. Richard Crawford is gunning for the jobs of several more experienced players – cornerbacks Kevin Barnes, Brandyn Thompson, David Jones and Travon Bellamy, and kick/punt returner Brandon Banks. Crawford possesses the versatility to play all three corner positions, and in addition to returning kicks, can play on special coverage teams. In the NFL, the more you can do, the more valuable you make yourself. Crawford will try to impress his coaches once again.
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