With the preseason kicking off Thursday for some teams, I figured it's now or never to drop this list. I’m sharing which players are worth watching and why. The Washington Redskins play their first game against the Steelers on Friday and one of the first thing to look for is, does are defense model the Steelers? The Redskins developed their 3-4 defense heavily off the Steelers and it will be interesting to see how the two compare. It's going to be one of the most exciting pre-seasons in a while; especially with another huge turn around.
When I say huge turn around, you can expect up to 16 new players to make the roster and eight of them could start sometime this year. There are two types of players I will be watching; The players that are fighting to make the team and the ones who have already made it, who I'm looking for that next level impact from.
Jarvis Jenkins – Talk of the Camp. Ab-so-lute beast! Jarvis Jenkins could be one of my new favorite Redskins and he also fits into the next level category. I know he will make the team and now we need to see if he can win the starting job. Watch the power with which he bull rushes. He can also get off defenders in either direction, helping him contain the rush.
Malcolm Kelly – He is also receiving a lot of attention this offseason. Unfortunately, it has not been good for the last week. Kelly hurt his foot last week and has been put on "cut watch" by some. In order to avoid that, he will have to man up and ball out against the Steelers and EVERY OTHER TEAM in the preseason. I really enjoy watching him, and I wish him the best. Watch him as he attempts to create separation. That will tell us if he is healthy and ready to make an impact.
O.J. Atogwe – Understand me, when I say that I understand O.J. is a good cover safety and will sure up our secondary, that it doesn't mean I will trust him until I see him and you shouldn't either. There is no other player on the field, besides the quarterback, that will have as much responsibility to go along with the demands of being a deep safety. I think he will do well, but I will hold final judgment until I see him play a few games. He was known for being a ball hawk with the Rams, but all I need to see this preseason is, does he know where to be and is he there in time?
Roy Helu – Another exciting new Redskin that will be in the fight for the starting job. I really doubt he gets it THIS YEAR, but he will at least help spell Torain or Hightower during the regular season. During the preseason I think he will see more action and could be a nice glimpse into the future. He looks great in the one cut system and I'm curious to see if he had break away speed on this level. I also am watching his balance; does he fall down after first contact or bounce off and keep going? (Anything but the Portis slide)
Perry Riley – Most people we surprised that Rocky McIntosh signed back with the Redskins. They said he wasn't a good fit for the 3-4, despite his 110 tackles last year. Riley however, seems to fit into the position naturally and the coaches really like him. I think they will give him a chance to shine in preseason, boosting the competition until they can decide between the two. I need to see him shed a few blocks and not get sucked in by the play-actions. Otherwise, he has the raw abilities to play the position.
Leonard Hankerson – Go figure, another young receiver. I would like to make this clear; I don't see Hankerson starting in the first half of this season. That said, I think the preseason will allow us to figure out if he will be ready to start this year at all, or should we hold off our expectation on the young man until next year. Hankerson will also have to find ways to seperate himself as he works on cleaning up his routes. Watch his hands too; he was known for drops in college and he has dropped his share in training camp as well.
Trent Williams – Trent has made a serious effort to re-dedicate himself to football. He has lost weight and admitted to last year's mediocrity, while working to improve on every level of his game. Time to be that "Next Level" left tackle they drafted you to be. Look for him to abuse defenders with his hands, while trying to keep his feet underneath of him (staying balanced is key!).
Brandon Banks – As both a kick returner and wide receiver, Brandon Banks will have to significantly out play others to make this team I'm talking touchdowns. Somehow or another, he will need a couple of big plays to prove that the knee is healthy and that he is worth a roster spot. If he does take a few to the house, Mike Shanahan will have a hard time deciding on whether or not they can give a roster spot to a kick returner.
Okay, that's four guys on offense, three on defense, and one on special teams for you to watch this preseason. Enjoy!
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