Pre-Season Week 4 Preview: Redskins @ Cards

(2-1)                                                                                                       (2-1)

2009 Records

(4-12, 4th in NFC East)                                           (10-6, NFC West Champs)

Game time:

Thu., Sept. 2, 10:00 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium

Background:

The Redskins present the last opportunity for some fine tuning before they start putting them in the record book.  Donovan McNabb, who would have made his first appearance at University of Phoenix Stadium after the loss in the 2009 NFC Championship, will not play and may not even make the ‘Skins regular season opener.  Also, the Cardinals will be wearing the new black alternate jerseys for this game.

What to Watch For:

I don’t actually need to say it, but the performances of Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson mean more than ever this week.  This is Ken Whisenhunt‘s last chance to evaluate his quarterbacks before the Cardinals start playing games that count.  I’m not sure what else can be said about the quarterback situation, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.  Regardless of points scored, I think whichever quarterback moves the offense down the field will be favored.

Moving to the offensive line, Deuce Lutui has seen a sharp increase in playing time at right guard at Reggie Wells‘ expense.  Perhaps Whisenhunt is priming Lutui to be reinserted in the starting lineup.  We’ll have to see how much Lutui plays and how he performs compared to Wells.  The rest of the line seems pretty much set with Levi Brown, Alan Faneca, Lyle Sendlein, and Brandon Keith from left to right.

Rookie wide receiver Stephen Williams is making it really hard for the Cardinals to let him go.  He’s been outstanding all during training camp and the pre-season.  In addition, with the poor performance of Andre Roberts and Roberts’ recent shoulder injury, the case for keeping Williams is even stronger.  Other bubble wide receivers include Max Komar and Onrea Jones.  These guys are literally playing for their NFL lives this week.

Rookie quarterbacks Max Hall and John Skelton have both exceeded expectations to this point, which makes for an interesting “problem.”  The Cards must decide who will stay and who will go.  With the current controversy over the starter, however, it’s unclear how much playing time the two rookies will get on Thursday, which could make the decision even more difficult.

On the defensive side of the ball, Daryl Washington and Greg Toler played well after being awarded starting positions last week against Chicago.  The moves will most likely be permanent unless one of the two has a total breakdown this week.

Last Meeting:

Sept. 21, 2008, Week 3 @ Washington, Redskins won 24-17.

Redskins’ Key Returning Personnel

  • Albert Haynesworth, NT
  • Clinton Portis, RB
  • Chris Cooley, TE
  • London Fletcher, LB
  • Brian Orakpo, LB
  • DeAngelo Hall, CB
  • Carlos Rodgers, CB

Redskins’ Key Losses

  • Jason Campbell, QB (Oakland Raiders)

Redskins’ Key Additions

  • Donovan McNabb, QB (Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Willie Parker, RB (Pitssburgh Steelers)
  • Larry Johnson, RB (Kansas City Chiefs)
  • Trent Williams, OT (first round draft pick)
  • Jammal Brown, OT (New Orleans Saints)
  • Rex Grossman, QB (Denver Broncos)

Redskins’ 2009 Rankings

  • Passing Yards:                            16th    (218.1 yards per game)
  • Rushing Yards:                          27th    (94.3 yards per game)
  • Passing Yards Allowed:            8th    (207.3 yards per game)
  • Rushing Yards Allowed:         16th   (112.4 yards per game)

Redskins’ 2010 Season Outlook:

Despite a number of high profile additions, not much can be expected from the Redskins this season, even with Mike Shanahan leading the way.  Now with McNabb’s injury, the Redskins have many more questions than answers.  The ‘Skins defense seems to be there, but no one knows how McNabb and the rebuilt offense is going to work out.  In addition, Albert Haynesworth’s apparent lack of effort and fitness is once again proving to be a huge distraction when the Redskins can ill afford any.  Washington is probably going to spend at least one more year in the cellar.

Cardinals’ Week 4 Goals:

  • Keep everyone healthy
  • Pick a pony at QB
  • Try to evaluate both John Skelton and Max Hall and decide who stays
  • Establish, for good, the 4th wide receiver
  • Decide between Lutui and Wells at right guard

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