The Washington Football Team might’ve dropped its first preseason game last Thursday against the Patriots, but the preseason is more about assessing progress of young players and avoiding major injuries than wins and losses.
After all, despite the loss, fans were largely left pleased with the performances of QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke, as well as edge rusher, rookie tackle Sam Cosmi, tight end Logan Thomas and running back Jaret Patterson.
Suffice it to say those players did everything in their power to earn playing time in Week 1 of the regular season. However, like any team playing its first preseason game, Washington had a number of players who put forth absolute stinkers.
Other players, meanwhile, will be making their preseason debuts, so that group will need to make a strong impression on the coaching staff.
With that in mind, let’s highlight a couple players who fall under the desperate category and need to perform against the Bengals on Friday.
These 3 players need to deliver a strong performance vs the Bengals.
3. Dustin Hopkins
Ron Rivera might not want to admit that the Football Team has a kicking problem, but Dustin Hopkins missing his only two field goal attempts on Thursday caused an uproar amongst the fan base, and understandably so.
While it’s only game game, the weather conditions weren’t ideal, and neither FG was a chip shot, Washington has new standards and expectations this year. In other words, they should have a zero-tolerance policy for mediocrity.
Dustin Hopkins better perform in Week 2 against Cincinnati.
It’s difficult to blame Rivera for staying committed to Hopkins. The 30-year-old has been with the franchise since 2015 and has largely been dependable.
However, the Football Team simply can’t withstand another season of Hopkins fluctuating between one of the best kickers in the NFL and one of the worst.
There has to be a middle ground, and it’s worth noting his efficiency on FGs and extra-points has dropped in each of the last three years.
With another lackluster showing in Week 2 of preseason, Rivera might walk back his previous comments and start searching for another kicker, even if it’s just to light a fire under Hopkins before the regular season.