Five Starters to Watch in the Redskins Preseason Opener
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Darrel Young: The 24 year-old has spent training camp as Washington’s first-team fullback. A linebacker at Villanova, and in his first training camp with the Redskins back in 2009, Young is very physical. He played in all 16 of Washington’s games last season, mostly on special teams, tallying just five touches in limited work at fullback. But he’s replaced his mentor Mike Sellers in the Redskins’ backfield. Young has the chance to nail a starting spot down with a productive preseason as a lead-blocker.
Chris Chester: Never a full-time starter in Baltimore, the sixth-year lineman has spent the past five seasons blocking in a power-scheme with the Ravens. The Redskins are going to ask him to do something very different, beginning tonight when Chester makes his debut as a zone-blocker along Washington’s starting offensive line. The 28-year-old guard is considered an upgrade over Artis Hicks. But how much better than Hicks will he be? Chester will take the first steps toward answering that question at FedEx Field tonight.
Barry Cofield: Detractors will tell you that the 306-pound defensive lineman isn’t big enough to play nose tackle. Cofield disagrees. He says he’ll use leverage and quickness to provide plus-play at a position that might be the most critical in any 3-4 scheme. The former New York Giant has also been the Redskins’ most outspoken player about wanting to play extensively in the preseason-opener. He says he wants to show Redskins fans what their team invested in. If you keep your eyes glued to him enough you might even get to see his taser-celebration for the first time in burgundy-and-gold.
Ryan Kerrigan: Kerrigan can rush the quarterback, his college stats prove that. But how comfortable is he standing up and how competent will he be when asked to drop into the flat to cover a receiver? Tonight will provide some enlightenment on those two fronts. It will also be interesting to see how Kerrigan’s knee, which he bruised in his first training camp practice as a Redskin, holds up to the most grueling workout Kerrigan puts it through since he initially injured it.
Will Montgomery: Assuming Casey Hampton plays for Pittsburgh, Montgomery is going to get his first test against an elite nose tackle as Washington’s starting center. Watch to see how he holds up against Pittsburgh’s interior pass-rush and how well he helps mover linemen around on running downs. Is he getting driven into the backfield or is he proving to be stout at the point of attack? He’ll be pivotal to Washington’s efforts to try to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Also, watch him as he barks signals pre-snap. He’s got to be the quarterback of the Redskins’ offensive line, and identifying which defenders are coming and which aren’t is something he’s going to have to learn to do very quickly.