The preseason is officially in the books, and now the Washington Redskins kick off their preparations for their season opener in Houston on Sunday.
The team did a little tinkering with the roster on Sunday after hammering out an initial list of 53 players by the league deadline. Washington also filled eight of their 10 practice squad slots.
Things ramp up this week. The energy level increases, as does the sense of urgency. The studying of opponents, game-planning and strategizing all begins. Here are five questions facing the Redskins as they prep for Sunday. Hopefully we find the answers to most of them as the week progresses.
1.) Where is Robert Griffin III’s confidence level? – The preseason didn’t end well for the young quarterback. But he played down his struggles from the Ravens game and said he sees improvement both in his individual game, and in the offense as a whole. Jay Gruden says Griffin just needs to play with more decisiveness and get rid of the ball more quickly. Griffin has had a few days to digest the good, bad and ugly from the preseason, and now turns his attention to Houston. We should hear from him today.
2.) Who starts at strong safety? – The initial 53-man roster featured Ryan Clark, Bacarri Rambo, Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis. But the the team waived Davis to make room for former Broncos safety Duke Ihenacho. For now, it appears that Rambo and Clark will both start, but anything could change between now and then. Rambo will look to prove he can continue to play at an improved level as he takes advantage of Brandon Meriweather‘s suspension.
3.) What does Duke Ihenacho have to offer? – It’s a very good question. The third-year pro last season came out of nowhere to start for the Broncos, recording 73 tackles and three forced fumbles. But Denver deemed him expendable after signing T.J. Ward this offseason, and after getting a healthy Quinton Carter back in the mix. Washington’s coaches are intrigued, but it could take a little time for Ihenacho to learn Washington’s system to the point where he can truly showcase his capabilities. Can he do so before Meriweather returns on Sept. 16?
4.) Who else signs to the practice squad? – The Redskins on Sunday signed eight players to their practice squad, and two openings remain. They plan to sign Davis to the practice squad once he clears waivers. Meanwhile, the Redskins informed running back Lache Seastrunk’s camp Sunday evening that they don’t plan on signing him to their practice squad – news that came as a surprise to the sixth-round pick. So, What will the Redskins do with the final practice squad opening?
5.) Who starts at QB for Houston? – The Texans on Sunday acquired Ryan Mallett via a trade from the New England Patriots. Ryan Fitzpatrick has served as the starter through the preseason, but he has completed only 58.1 percent of his passes while leading a struggling offense. Mallett – a
first-third-round pick in 2011 – is believed to have good upside. But it’s hard to say if he’ll come in and unseat Fitzpatrick as the starter in one week’s time.