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Need to Know: Five things to look for in Redskins vs. Patriots

Aug 7, 2014, 5:34 AM EDT

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RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, August 7, 11 days before the Redskins host the Browns on preseason Monday night football.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things to look for in tonight’s Redskins-Patriots preseason game:

How does RG3 play? Don’t get there or tune in late or you might miss Griffin’s night. Jay Gruden said that the starters will take about 10 snaps. That means that they could get off a nice drive on their first possession and then call it a night. Griffin might throw about a half a dozen passes before sitting down. Of course, those passes will be put under the microscope for any signs of how he might fare this year.

The pass rush—That’s the key to the defense and earlier this week they couldn’t really unleash it on Brady, who was wearing the red no-contact jersey. Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, and company will not be under any restrictions tonight. Brady gets rid of the ball quickly so they will have to get off the ball and get to work in a hurry.

Can Bacarri Rambo bounce back? Not only did Rambo go from the penthouse (starting the season opener on Monday night) to the outhouse (mainly inactive and an afterthought from after the first few games on) last year, he had a rough day against Tom Brady earlier this week. Rambo went in with the first team after Ryan Clark headed to the sideline and Brady immediately started throwing to whoever Rambo was covering. He just couldn’t stay with anybody. Rambo will get another shot tonight; with Clark ruled out, he is likely to start. We’ll see what he can do.

Second-half running back—Silas Redd told me yesterday that he expects to play a lot in the second half. That will be his time to shine, even though he will be playing against players who are not likely to make the team. There may not be room for Redd on the Redskins’ 53 but perhaps if he performs well another team may become interested.

Jay Gruden’s debut—This won’t be as memorable as September 7 in Houston will be but it will be another milestone for the first-time head coach. We’d like to see some clock management situations at the end of the first half or at the end of the game. Gruden’s goal? “My biggest thing is I want to make sure we keep order on the sideline, we look like we know what we’re doing, and it’s not a big chaotic situation on the sideline,” he said.

If you have any questions about what’s going on at training camp, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Preseason open, Patriots at Redskins, 7:30, FedEx Field

—It’s been 221 days since the Redskins played a game; in 31 days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Monday night preseason vs. Browns 11; Final cuts 23; Home opener vs. Jaguars 38

In case you missed it

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    So Rambo can’t tackle or cover? He’s got a cool name, tho’…
    ~

    • deepball1 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      well there is always the draft next year…with a number 1 pick FINALLY.

  2. cowboyhater - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Rich, I will not put too much into tonight’s game with the exception of following depth players, and ST’s(!!). It’s obvious that this level of football is too much for Rambo, and I don’t expect him to make this roster. Besides Thomas, who would be Clark’s backup if he goes down? Have you seen anything out of the backup safeties in camp? Also, if Jackson has a sub par camp, and Everett Brown impresses will we see Brown getting the nod, and let Jackson go? Thanks!!

  3. shermanp79 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    I had hoped Rambo would have learned something from last year. I guess a couple of games did little. He should have started once the season was lost, even if in dog house, he clearly needs reps. I thought he came from a decent Defense at Georgia. He looked good there, if recall it was a 3/4 defense. It will be interesting to see the guys behind him. If he is this bad, still not understanding who to cover and being able to cover guys, how can he even be a back up? I don’t believe he qualifies for the PS, if not he may be in trouble. Did I read Thomas is injured? That hopefully clears up quickly. I think Clark needs some breaks and they need these guys to step up. If the CB play steps up, it won’t matter much with poor S play. They should of grabbed a younger S in FA, if Rambo looked that bad, with Thomas’s injury concerns. Hopefully it figures itself out or the QB pressure better be off the charts. It shows they have areas of needs still which we know but if S struggles 8-8 may be a reach.

    Right now there are some concerns with the OL, secondary, MLB and if RG3 can learn the offense quickly, plus mature to throw ck down passes and throw the ball away. Those are my concerns and what we need to start figuring out tonight. I think CB will be fine along with WRs providing healthy. I think the DL will be fine and even the MLB position will be ok even if Sharper must play bigger role. The overall Defensive scheme is a big unknown and if have S issues that clearly will cause some sleepless nights. It’s possible we could find a player or two when cuts are made. They may take a couple weeks to adjust but maybe can help second half of the season. If they have concerns.

  4. deepball1 - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Rich…is there any reason that they seem to be giving Rambo more opportunity than Akeem Davis, who has far more talent thatn Rambo? Why not just cut there losses with Rambo if he can’t tackle and can’t cover????

  5. lorcanbonda - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I agree — Safety to be the weakest part of the Redskins. Merriweather is talented, but a loose cannon; Clark is (at best) a short term prospect or (at worst) this year’s London Fletcher (an ex-Allpro who has lost a step slow). Worse, neither Clark or Thomas are playing tonight and Tanard Jackson was a bitter pill for our defense. That leaves Baccari Rambo & Akeem Davis. I hope one steps up.

    My hope is that Thomas comes on strong, but he won’t be there tonight.

  6. kenlinkins - Aug 7, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Redskins Fans: Tonight we will not see the new high powered offense that our GM and new Head Coach have build this off-season, we will not see the new pass rushing lineman or the Vet FS, or even the draft pick from 2013 at FS, but there will be many very interesting things to watch if you enjoy one on one battles along the O-Line, understand how you build a NFL QB and the stages of development, want to see how the 9 guys from the 2011 draft class have developed (or not) VS. the Gruden 2014 class, want to get a good look at the many Stop Gap Vets that were signed, and also get the first read on how coach Gruden runs a side line on game day. The first preseason game is always more about build depth than showing the world what kind of team you will be, but I for one understand that if the Redskins are to be a winning football team again, this is were it starts, finding those few guys to round out the 53 man roster who will help you win. IMO guys to watch: Breeland, Crawford, Geathers, W. Compton, Davis, T. Robinson, Grant, Hoffman, as any one of these guys could start a run at making this roster tonight.

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