With preseason just around the corner, this popular preseason game preview is back! This post will be on game between the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills.
The Redskins entered the 2011 season without high expectations and a QB battle. Their season reflected that, and the team of D.C. finished with a 5-11 record that included a seven game losing game. Knowing that the key to succeed in football’s modern age was to be able to throw the ball around, the redskins gambled and traded away the No.6 pick, two future first round picks and a second round pick in exchange for the No.2 overall pick in the most recent draft. It was with the pick that the team was able to acquire Robert Griffin III, who many scouts felt should have been the first player taken in the draft. While this pick was certainly the prize of the Redskins entire draft class, other draftees such as OLB Keenan Robinson from Texas and G Josh LeRibeous were decent catches as well.
After a surprisingly good draft by the Washington Redskins, the team made a few splashes in FA as well. Among their signees include WRs Eddie Royal, Pierre Garcon, and the lesser known Josh Morgan. After the big offseason, the Redskins offense went from below average at best to potentially one of the most dynamic offense in the game today. With a defense that includes Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, Ryan Kerrigan, Javarius Jenkins, Brandon Merriweather, and Cedric Griffin, this team has the potential to be a dangerous opponent for years to come.
Buffalo Bills Preview:
Entering the 2011 season, the Bills were expected to once again be one of the worst team in the division. The Bills surprised everyone with a 4-1 start, including a win over divisional rival New England Patriots for the first time in nearly seven years. The team led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson lit it up and late game heroics earned them national press. Unfortunately, the winning came to an abrupt halt as the team dropped seven straight games following a 23-0 win over the lowly Redskins.
The team made attempts to improve both sides of the draft by drafting CB Stephon Gilmore and G Cordy Glenn. Since the lack of any QB pressure and sacks were the team’s Achilles heel, the Bills also made splashes in Free Agency when they acquired pass rushing specialists Mario Williams and Marc Anderson. With a lethal defense and the dynamic offense returning, expect great things from the Bills these next few years.
With all that said, lets take a look at what to look for on both teams.
This should be an obvious one. The Redskins took arguably the most athletic QB to ever play the game. He had all the characteristics a good QB should have such as accuracy, intelligence, good arm strength, awareness and toughness. In the case he turns out to not live up to his hype, the Redskins selected another QB, Kirk Cousins. Cousins was arguably the most clutch QB out of last years class. He’s has a great sense of pocket awareness and has a good arm. After those two, play from Grossman will be a necessity in ensuring the Redskins have a viable backup QB option if the other two fail.
With a new QB, play from the Redskin’s pass catchers will be extremely important this upcoming season. Prior to this offseason, Washington really only had WR Santana Moss and TE Chris Cooly to rely on. As stated earlier, the Redskins were serious in addressing the need. While the additions will improve the play in the passing department, how cohesive they are and the chemistry they have with the RG III is necessary if there is to be success. That is why it is important to watch these guys. With the offense looking to become a high-flying pass first type, this area will be key if the Redskins are to experience any sort of success.
Last year, safety play was atrocious for these guys. To top it off, the Redskins lost their best guy LaRon Landry this offseason and tried to replace him with the likes of Merriweather, Jackson and Madieu Williams. While the play won’t be amazing, watch how the safeties help run support and make matchup coverage calls. Depending on how well they do, it could potentially give us a better look at how the defensive unit (especially the secondary) will perform this upcoming season. In a division that includes players such as QBs Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and Michael Vick along with receivers such as Victor Cruz, Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson among many others, and its easy to see why secondary play is crucial.
What To Look For on the Bills:
I believe I’ve stated this before, but the teams inability to get the QB and stop the run in the backfield were the biggest issue on the team. If the Bills want to contend, they have to be able to get to QB, especially in a division that includes Tom Brady. With an elusive QB at center, the Bills will have their first test on getting the QB down. Should they succeed, it will show that the biggest flaw on the team is fixed.
With the departure of LT Demetrius Bell, the team had a big void to fill. Fighting for the spot will be draftee Cordy Glenn and second year player Chris Hairston. While neither are as good as Bell was, the performance each gives on Thursday will ultimately decide who will start and how much protection Fitpatrick gets. If Left Tackle is constantly exploited, then it will be a long season for the Bills.
As we all know, coaches never game plan for the first preseason games. They really only start during the 3rd or 4th preseason game. Nonetheless, I feel that the Redskins will prevail simply because the Redskins passing offense will have more pressure to do well right from the beginning. All that matters though is that football is back and we can all have a smile on our faces again. This is Shrederdude 63 signing off.