Redskins Host Steelers During Preseason Opener


Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Washington Redskins running back Evan Royster (22) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. The Redskins beat the Titans 22-21. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Washington Redskins for the second preseason game of the year tonight at FedExField. This will be the sixth time since 2000 that the Redskins have played the Steelers in Preseason. Washington is 5-1 during those six meetings, their only loss coming 2007 (12-10).

There are currently a lot of familiar faces on and with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Former Safety Ryan Clark (04-05),Guard John Malecki (2011), Kicker Shaun Suisham (06-09), and Tackle D’Anthony Batiste (08-12) will be playing tonight.

Special Teams coach Danny Smith who was with the Redskins since 2004 joined the Steelers this season, joining former wide receivers coach Richard Mann (2001) and running back coach Kirby Wilson (2000).

The Redskins lost their 2012 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, a 27-12 beating that left the Redskins with a loss of hope for their season nearing the bye week. While an abundance of drops cost the Redskins a chance at their game, a win tonight could help erase some of that memory.

Washington is coming off a 22-21 comeback victory against the Tennessee Titans, thanks to a Pat White led drive; which included a two-point conversion to take the lead late.

While Washington’s offense didn’t seem to miss a beat from last season, it was the defense that led some major question marks.

Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) celebrates sacking Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) during the first half against the Washington Redskins at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Free Safety Bacarri Rambo appeared to be lost all night on the field, as receivers and running backs had their way with him. Most notably, Chris Johnson who broke his ankles during a 58-yard touchdown run. Another issue for Rambo was his inability to keep his emotions under control when he took a stupid penalty after Shonn Greene’s touchdown run.

One important thing to watch tonight is how Rambo is able to bounce back from his performance against the Titans, which needless to say was disappointing.

David Amerson and Chase Minnifield were both impressive last weekend, and made it clear that they could start Week 1 if Mike Shanahan called upon them to do so. They both will have challenging task again this week with wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, both that have made their names well-known within the NFL.

If they can keep their task of covering as they did last week, DeAngelo Hall or Josh Wilson could find themselves behind one of the younger players.

Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) is sacked by Washington Redskins linebacker Brandon Jenkins (57) during the first half against the Washington Redskins at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins as a whole on defense need to work on their run defense, as last week they were unable to tackle running backs, allowing 92 yards on just seven total carries. Additionally, they gave other players multiple chances to pick up extra yards and first downs as they either slipped away or over ran a play (such as Brian Orakpo on Chris Johnson’s 58-yard touchdown run).

Offensively the Redskins will face a legitimate defense which led the league in 2012. Not only was their pass defense number one overall, but their run defense finished second best in the league.

This will give current starters a bigger test, as well as younger players more time to show Shanahan why they belong either where they currently stand on the depth chart, or above it.

As mentioned yesterday, Chris Thompson and JawainJamison appear in their first preseason games tonight, and will be given the ultimate test against Pittsburgh’s run defense. If they can shine, they might just earn their stay on the 53 man roster.

Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) throws for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins will need to play smart to keep the heat off of Robert Griffin III and the need for him to play Week 1, as rumors have been circulating that Dr. Andrews has recommended he not step on the field till Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys (granted these rumors have been refuted by Redskins officials).

Leonard Hankerson needs to start to make a campaign as to why he’s the next best thing in Washington, as that’s what he was supposed to be coming out of the University of Miami where he broke multiple records, including those that belonged to Michael Irvin.

The Redskins offensive line will be given a true test to see whether or not Robert Griffin III made them look better or whether they in fact were given the correct hype as one of the best in the NFL to certain analyst.

If Pat White is given more time on the field to impress Mike Shanahan, he’ll need to do that against Pittsburgh who will have the toughest defense. White performed well during the Tennessee game outside the pocket, but inside he was very uncomfortable and shaky at times.

Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison’s progress might be most important for the Redskins tonight, as the team will need a group of talented running backs that can take the weight off of a limited Robert Griffin III this season.