Redskins vs Browns – Three Matchups to Watch


May 26, 2015; Ashbury, VA, USA; Washington Redskins offensive tackle Brandon Scherff (75) participates in warm ups during the Redskins OTA at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The starters are expected to play only about a quarter in the Washington Redskins preseason debut on the road against the Cleveland Browns.  But while the starters are in there are some interesting matchups to keep an eye on early in the game and one matchup involving backups too.

RG Brandon Scherff vs. NT Danny Shelton

Before the 2015 NFL Draft there was a buzz building that the Washington Redskins might take nose tackle Danny Shelton with the 5th pick in the draft.  However, the Redskins ultimately took right guard Brandon Scherff with the pick and now the two may face off against each other in week one of the preseason.

Primarily because Scherff has been moved from right tackle to the interior of the line at right guard and will more than likely have a few opportunities to block Shelton.  Scherff is known for his nasty demeanor as a blocker and Shelton not only has great size but also great agility for such a big man.

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This will be an intriguing matchup not just because of how the draft turned out but because these are two talented rookies who will go up against each other at times in this game and whoever gets the best of this battle of behemoths will be interesting to see.

WR Pierre Garcon vs. CB Joe Haden

With DeSean Jackson out for a few weeks with a shoulder injury, Pierre Garcon is now the undisputed top target on the Washington Redskins offense for the time being.  So that means that he will be covered most of the time by the Browns top cornerback Joe Haden.

Haden is a two-time pro bowler and had become known as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.  Garcon had a slump last year after a record-setting 2013 and the Redskins will be looking to get him much more involved in the offense this year.

I look for the Redskins to try to get the ball to Garcon early to set a tone and it should be a little physical initially between the two.  Garcon is one of the best receivers in the NFL at gaining yards after the catch and Haden is good in man to man press coverage so this should be a good matchup for about a quarter.

Johnny Manziel vs. Redskins 2nd String Defense

How can a second string quarterback going against a second string defense be a marquee matchup you might ask?  Well when the backup quarterback is Johnny Manziel and it’s preseason then that pretty much makes it something interesting to watch.

After just one season some believe that Cleveland Browns second year quarterback Johnny Manziel is a bust.  He struggled mightily late last season and then entered rehab during the offseason and now he’s in a position of just trying to keep his place on the roster let alone starting.

However, it will be interesting to see how Manziel performs against the Redskins defense.  We saw his immaturity in preseason last year after flipping the bird to the Redskins sideline and creating controversy but has Manziel matured any?

And he’s still a mobile quarterback so Manziel will probably be using his legs some on Thursday night as well.  The Redskins had problems against mobile QB’s last year, so we’ll see how new DC Joe Barry’s defense will do against Manziel’s running ability.

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