There hasn’t been a more anticipated Redskins quarterback debut than the one set to happen within the next seven hours. So I’m sorry, enthusiasts of Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Jeff George, Walt Fingerbum (the name of the fake Redskins quarterback with a 99 rating in Madden I create when I’m bored), but tonight is all about RG3.
People can’t help but be consumed by the anticipation of seeing what the new franchise quarterback can do, and why shouldn’t they be? But in the meantime, that means it’s my job to highlight other important Redskins storylines worth a mention before the football world can’t help but paint the town burgundy and gold. Let’s just start with the obvious one:
1) RG3’s Preseason Debut
Robert Griffin III is the marquee attraction in this game, so we may as well get this storyline out of the way. As starved as fans are to see what the kid can do, I think the epidemic will shift from hunger to blue balls once this game is over.
Mike Shanahan is wise enough to keep Griffin’s snap count to a minimum, especially with 3/5 of the projected starting offensive line out of the game. Though it’s exciting to finally get a glimpse of the future of the team, the most important thing to maintain in this case is perspective. If he sucks, then he isn’t a bust; if he dazzles, then he isn’t a savior. The sample size is too low to determine anything, even if he lights-up the field (see: Brennan, Colt).
2) Redskins Offensive Line versus Bills Defensive Line
Next to a franchise quarterback, acquiring a game-changing pass-rusher is arguably the most impactful acquisition a team can make. The Bills did this during the offseason, getting Mario Williams to join the formidable young core of Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams up front. It would be one thing if the Redskins could neutralize Williams somewhat with Trent Williams, but that won’t be possible now that Williams made the switch to left-end this season. That means—you guessed it— he gets a nice soft matchup versus Tyler Polumbus instead.
As far as running goes, the zone-blocking attack will have to be precise in order for the Redskins to move the ball. For Thursday’s game, I’m thankful for Shanahan’s scheme because a man-scheme would be futile against the interior presence of Dareus and Williams. Both would prove to be too much of a problem for Maurice Hurt and the slimmer Adam Gettis to directly push around one-on-one. I’m not convinced that they still won’t face a lot of issues during the game.
3) Bubble Players in Need of a Big Game
The players that get my early look are from the wide receiver position. The battle has been a doozy so far, and the battle will only intensify as the preseason goes on. Because I can’t envision the Redskins keeping more than six receivers this season, guys like Terrence Austin, Dezmon Briscoe and Aldrick Robinson have some serious work to do.
Briscoe is listed dead last on the Redskins depth chart prior to this game and needs to prove his worth as the new guy in camp.