The Washington Redskins will soon be taking the field against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Both teams are currently holding joint practices with each other, so this is a good time for them to size up the opponent before game day. Of course, most of the plays that we see during Preseason are just vanilla, but it will be exciting to see the burgundy and gold step onto the field for the first time for the 2014 season.
It is only the first week of Preseason, so don't be surprised if we only see the starters out on the turf for one or two drives. It's still early, and coaches don't want to take the risk of possibly getting their stars injured. Since we won't be seeing a lot (if at all) of RG3, Pierre Garcon, Trent Williams, and other players of that caliber, it is important to know the names of the other lesser known players that could potentially have us jumping out of our seats with excitement. It's not really about who wins or loses during this time of the year (although, it's always good to win), but more about seeing the development of younger players. We are going to break this down by offense and defense, so you can get a firm grasp on when to watch for each player. It's only one day 'til game time, so there is no time to lose! Let's get started!
For most fans, seeing the Offense operate is the most exhilarating part of the game. There is just something special about seeing Running Backs and Wide Receivers pulling off some sick jukes and spin moves, or watching your Quarterback extending a play for an insanely awesome touchdown pass. These are some of the reasons why we truly love watching Football. It is more than likely that there will be at least one or two plays that will have you jumping for joy tomorrow. The only question is, who will be making the plays?
- Kirk Cousins, 3rd year Quarterback: Cousins has been living in the shadow of RG3 ever since both were taken in the 2012 Draft, but that hasn't kept him from shining and making plays for his own highlight reel. This being the Preseason, it is now Cousins' turn to show the fans what he's got. He is seldom disappointing, too. When he trots onto the field, you can expect good, solid Quarterback play. This isn't just about his future with the Redskins, though. When Cousins plays in the Preseason, he is auditioning for other teams as well. Even though Cousins is in the third year of his four year rookie contract, there are still trade rumors circling around him, and why not? Cousins plays the most important position in the National Football League and does it well. He should get a good amount of reps in the Preseason opener, so watch for him to make some elegant throws to his receivers.
- Ryan Grant, 1st year Wide Receiver: The Redskins haven't drafted a Wide Receiver since 2011, and they broke that streak this year by taking Ryan Grant in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft. This is only his first year in the NFL, but Head Coach Jay Gruden says that Grant plays like a 10 year veteran when he is out on the field. He is a polished route runner and can make catches in traffic. It's not always about being flashy. Right now, he is doing everything that he needs to do; running routes, making catches, and learning the playbook. He most likely won't be running with the number ones, so he will probably be working with the rest of the backups, catching passes from Captain Kirk.
- Chris Thompson, 2nd year Running Back: Washington has Thompson listed as the third RB on the depth chart, so we could be seeing a lot of him during this game. Thompson's college career was impressive, but it was also hampered by injuries. He failed to make an impact in 2013, but is looking to change that this season. Thompson is healthy and has electrifying speed. He also possesses the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He could even be compared to Ravens Running Back Ray Rice due to size and ability. You may also see him get a shot to return kicks on Special Teams.
- Trent Murphy, 1st year Outside Linebacker: He was somewhat of a surprise pick for Redskins nation this year, but he led college Football in sacks (13) last season, and he is ready to make an impact on Defense. He won't be a starter right off the bat, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan already man those spots, so he will get his share in the middle of the game after the starters have gotten their reps. Murphy is a superb pass rusher and he will finally get the chance to do what he does best; get after the Quarterback. If anyone on defense has the ability to exceed expectations for the Preseason opener, it would be Trent Murphy.
- Bashaud Breeland, 1st year Cornerback: The Redskins needed secondary help, so the Redskins drafted Corner Bashaud Breeland in the fourth round of this year's Draft. He has menacing speed and was said to be keeping up with speedster WR Aldrick Robinson in training camp. When a Corner has speed like that, you've got to give him a shot to contribute. He is currently listed as the third left Corner on the depth chart, so you will most likely get a chance to see him play his first NFL game tomorrow. Breeland is a gifted Corner with ideal size, and could be in for a big day against the Patriots.
- Richard Crawford, 3rd year Cornerback: Crawford looked promising during the 2012 season and fans couldn't wait to see what he had in store for 2013. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL in the first Preseason game, and was held out for the entire season. He has had a full year to recover and is ready to get back on the field. He might even be paired up with Bashaud Breeland in the secondary. Crawford is a hard worker and can make plays on the ball. He is only going to get better from here on out.
The list could go on and on, but we will save all the talk for when the action takes place tomorrow. Do the Redskins have a chance to win this game? Of course. The Washington roster has tremendous depth, and the players that play tomorrow will make the most of their opportunities. No matter what happens, it will be a fun game to watch.
If you haven't checked it out already, click here to see the first Redskins depth chart released to the public. This will give you a good idea of who you will be seeing the most of tomorrow. This concludes our breakdown of players to watch in the Redskins Preseason opener. Enjoy the game. It's officially Football season!
Okay... One last hype video...