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Five areas to monitor as the Redskins enter Week 1 of the NFL season

The Washington Redskins’ regular season opener is now just six days away.

After a day off on Sunday, the Redskins hit the field and meeting rooms to get in some work, then get the day off Tuesday, and Wednesday begins the full-on game preparation mode.

On Wednesday, we’ll hear from Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III, and on Thursday, we’ll get offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who haven’t been made available to members of the media since Aug. 8. Both will give their assessments of how the preseason went, and what they think of the roster.

But until then, here are five areas to monitor this week:

1.) Griffin’s preparation – Robert Griffin III has made it through training camp and the preseason without any significant hitches, now comes his official NFL debut. The quarterback said last week that he had started looking at film of the Saints’ defense, as well as the schemes new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo ran in St. Louis and with the Giants. Now he will go through his first significant week of game-planning as Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan put together their strategy for attacking the Saints.

2.) Backfield developments – Gone is Tim Hightower, and left standing are the three young backs, Evan Royster, Roy Helu Jr. and Alfred Morris. Mike Shanahan wouldn’t tip his hand on Saturday regarding who will start, but it’s safe to assume we’ll see more than one back over the course of Sunday’s game. This week also marks the debut of fullback Darrel Young, who was held out of all of the preseason action after pulling his hamstring early in training camp.

 3.) Orakpo, Meriweather health – After losing both starters in the second preseason game, the Redskins hope to see leading pass-rusher Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) return to full action this week. Orakpo had said two weeks ago that he had no doubt he would play, but Meriweather was more cautious. The key will be how their injured limbs respond after Wednesday’s practice.

 4.) Lichtensteiger’s return – Starting left guard Kory Lichtensteiger didn’t play in a single preseason game after requiring arthroscopic surgery on his right knee (the same in which he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament last October. Lichtensteiger has been running and going through positional drills the last two weeks in hopes of opening the season as the starter.

5.) Practice squad additions – An important story line for the diehard Redskins fans, we should find out today who rounds out the eight-man practice squad. Shanahan on Saturday confirmed the signings of defensive end Doug Worthington, tackle Tom Compton (sixth-rounder out of South Dakota) and wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux (formerly of the CFL’s BC Lions and Minnesota Vikings) to the practice squad. Five more names should be released today.