Washington has a few new players on their roster that make up the future of the Redskins this year. However, hype alone will not allow the players most talked about to make the team, the practice squad, or even keep a quality role with Washington.
It is about performance to back up the hype that will earn these players a role for the 2018 Washington Redskins, so in the first preseason game whom should you be paying attention to?
Alex Smith – Well, this is the obvious one. However, it is dependent upon how many throws Smith has in his debut game. It has been mentioned on many occasions that Jay Gruden has high expectations of Alex Smith due his veteran experience along with the team's need to win now. It is worth monitoring how Smith’s chemistry with his receivers, and offense as a whole, has developed at this point of the year.
Also worth noting is how fluent the offense moves in and out of the huddle as Smith receives calls from the sidelines. The third pre-season game for sure is where you can expect to see extensive time with the starters and Smith to get a better sense of where they are.
Offensive Line – Now, many would want to see rookie running back Derrius Guice on this list, but he is nothing to monitor in game one of the preseason for a couple of reasons. The run scheme in the preseason is pretty basic; you will not see that many schemed up runs, just the typical stretch/dive/power runs. This is why the offensive line should be monitored, who steps up on the interior line. Chase Roullier is a second-year offensive lineman, now the Redskins starting center, who will get valuable experience in his first game of 2018.
Other back ups on the team will have an extensive amount of time as well; Geron Christian Sr. is another offensive lineman that is worth monitoring after his mixed review of training camp thus far. If you are a football nerd, like myself, pay attention to the individual battles in the trenches and evaluate the repetitions.
Ryan Anderson – This second-year player has to begin his second NFL season with a bang following an injury-riddled rookie campaign. His performances, or lack thereof, prevented him from seeing decent playing time on the defensive side of the football. Anderson has to improve drastically as a pass-rusher if he would like to get on the field more. For the Redskins' sake, they need him to improve as well.
Josh Harvey-Clemons – The Redskins are very impressed with Harvey-Clemons for the role he plays with Washington. His rookie season was impressive enough where his performance would not allow the Redskins to take him off the field; he earned himself a role as a prominent nickel and dime linebacker. The first game of 2018, due to his spot on the depth chart, expect his snap count to be pretty significant and watching him can help you get a glimpse on his continued development as a converted safety to a rangy inside-linebacker.
These are just a few of my standouts to keep an eye on tonight, what will you be looking for in the Redskins’ first preseason matchup?