Previewing the Washington Redskins vs. Baltimore Ravens in NFL Preseason Week 1
Redskins offense vs. Ravens defense
I would assume that Kirk Cousins is not going to play in the game against the Ravens. If he does, it will likely be able for only a series or two. That means that most of the action in the game will go to Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfeld, with McCoy getting the reps as the top backup. While McCoy may see the early snaps, Sudfeld will be the man to watch.
Sudfeld is entering his second season with the Redskins, and he has to show that he has developed over the course of the offseason. With Cousins set to be a free agent once again in 2018, the Redskins have to internally evaluate their options to replace him. Realistically, Sudfeld is the only internal option that would inspire any sort of long term hope. But if he doesn’t perform well this year, the Redskins will have to find a replacement for him in the 2018 offseason, especially if Cousins is not retained.
Sudfeld will have a chance to prove himself against some of the young defensive backs for the Ravens. Rookie Marlon Humphrey should see some action while second year man Maurice Canady should test Sudfeld. It’s unclear who Sudfeld’s top receivers will be, but one would assume that he will get a little time with some second unit guys including Brian Quick and Maurice Harris. If he can build a rapport with them, that would bode well for his future.
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In the running game, a bulk of the carries figure to go to Mack Brown as the team tries to get rest for their top options. Rob Kelley is unlikely to play, he is dealing with a minor neck strain anyway, and Chris Thompson will play sparingly. Samaje Perine should see some action, but the team will try not to overwork him. Perine needs to show some burst in order to prove that he can split carries with Kelley in future. As for Brown, if he shows the same explosive ability he had last preseason, he should latch on as the fourth running back.
The final big thing to watch for the Redskins offense is the performance of their young interior linemen. Arie Kouandjio and Chase Roullier should get a chance to play in the first half and if either flashes, they could push Shawn Lauvao for his starting job. They still seem unlikely to unseat Lauvao, but it’s worth watching nonetheless. Seeing them take on the young Ravens defensive linemen like Michael Pierce and Bronson Kaufusi should be interesting and could test them.