Redskins.com's Andrew Walker breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Thursday's Redskins-Patriots preseason showdown at FedExField.
“Redskins-Patriots: 4 Keys To The Game” is presented by Papa John’s.
Every Monday, fans can order a large cheese pizza for only $9.99, plus for each touchdown that the Redskins score, fans get one free topping. And with a Redskins victory, fans get double the toppings.
GRIFFIN III BACK IN THE SADDLE
Thursday will mark 242 days since quarterback
Griffin III will, no doubt, be ready to go against the Patriots in front of his home crowd after the way the season unfolded for him and the team last year. First, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year underwent major knee surgery and, due to his recovery, missed the entire offseason and the preseason slate of games. Then he had to play catch up from there, and it took a while for him to get his bearings. Then, after the team’s home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 8, former head coach Mike Shanahan elected to sit Griffin III the remainder of the year in favor of backup
Cousins, meanwhile, is also returning for his third season with the Redskins, and will likely get a lions’ share of the snaps under center, along with third-stringer
PUTTING ‘SPECIAL’ BACK IN SPECIAL TEAMS
It’s not hard to look at the Redskins’ failures of the 2013 season without first mentioning the team’s performance in special teams. The Redskins ranked last – or near the bottom – in just about every special teams statistical category last year, including kick coverage and kick return.
The Redskins’ two kickers and punters, meanwhile, will also try to begin the process of winning their respective positional battles tonight. At kicker, incumbent starter
The Redskins already have a few key players battling nagging injuries. Compounding the problem with injuries sustained in games that don’t even count would be much worse.
But, so far, the team hasn’t had any major contributors go down with season-ending injuries at this point of the preseason like it did at this time last year, when both Adam Carriker and
With Clark and Thomas out, look for second-year safety
NO MORE FLETCH
How do you replace the heart and soul of your team – a Hall Of Fame-bound linebacker who wore his captain patch with so much pride the past seven seasons?
But you can begin to put the pieces back in place to establish the next leader(s) of your defense.
London Fletcher’s retirement following the 2013 season ended a brilliant 15-year career, one in which the undrafted free agent out of tiny John Carroll University won a Super Bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams, pushed his game to new heights in five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, and then became a beloved leader and, finally, a Pro Bowler in Washington.
He ended his career as one of only four players in NFL history to play in more than 250 consecutive games, and is the NFL’s Iron Man at his position.
Taking Fletcher’s spot in the middle of the defense Thursday will be the aforementioned Keenan Robinson, a youngster gaining praise from his coaches for his athleticism whose in-game leadership skills are the great unknown. But Robinson spent the first two years of his career learning from Fletcher, himself, and knew one day he’d get this opportunity.
Let’s see what Robinson does with it.
REDSKINS ON TV: Don’t forget to catch all the action between the Washington Redskins and the New England Patriots at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on NBC-4 and Comcast SportsNet!