Chris "Potttery Barn" Cooley has a tremendous opportunity to step up as a valuable asset for Robert Griffin III tonight.
Buffalo has given us a lot of great things. Buffalo wings are by far the greatest but closely behind has to be the original "Super Freak" Rick James, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Millard Filmore. Tonight the city of Buffalo gives us our first preseason games as YOUR Washington Redskins take on the vaunted Buffalo Bills and their crazy owner Ralph Wilson in the NFL's second dumpiest stadium.
As noted before this season I'll be giving you five non-starters to keep an eye on each week. We've gone over the high level for the preseason, but lets drill a little deeper into tonight's match up.
1. Chris Cooley, FB/TE: Darrel Young will not play in tonight's game and Alfred Morris has not been asked to fill in at the fullback position. That puts the load of the second string fullback, who just happens to be Chris Cooley. I'm sure you'll see plenty of Dorson Boyce, but how will Cooley help the passing game and even more so the blocking game. Don't expect to see Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Darius long, but expect them to be in Cooley's grill early.
2. Leonard Hankerson, WR: I hate the term "starter" for running backs, wide receivers, and the defensive line. Hankerson will see plenty of time tonight with the starters, but technically he isn't a "starter". Pay particular attention to when Hank lines up tonight when Bills first round pick Stephon Gilmore is across from him. The former Gamecock should be a good test for the Redskins young wide receiver, who is looking to establish himself as a reliable target for Robert Griffin III.
3. Jarvis Jenkins, DE: Everyone is curious to see Jenkins since his preseason injury versus the Ravens last year. We should see a lot from the Clemson product tonight, who is Stephen Bowen's primary backup and only has Darrion Scott behind him on the depth chart. Jenkins will likely have some interesting match ups with heralded rookies like Cordy Glenn from Georgia and Zebrie Sanders from Florida State. Both of these guys should be good tests for the Redskins "rookie".
4. Lorenzo Alexander, ILB: Everyone should be excited to see the inside linebacking corps tonight, but I'm particularly interested to see how Alexander plays the position. LoAx will likely be leading the unit when he is out there and fans should pay attention to his command on the field and his feel for the position. Keep an eye on LoAx when Vince Young is on the field. The mobile QB could be a good test for the linebackers to see whether they stick to their assignment or pursue the veteran QB.
5. Aldrick Robinson, WR/KR/PR: Throw all the training camp reports out the window because they don't matter. All eyes will be on who can unseat Brandon Banks as a return guy and his primary challenger is Robinson. When the lights came on last year, Robinson failed miserably with fumbles and all sorts of miscues in the return game. The pressure will be on even more so this year and it's up to Aldrick whether or not he'll sink or swim.