(It just won't be as good as this game)
If you're not going to the game tonight, then you luck out in so many ways. Tonight's game is being covered by at least three networks (NBC 4 [WRC], Comcast and NFL Network) and all of them I believe will be showing them in HD.
Pre-Season as many of you know is almost a bigger let down than The Combine. You get all excited because you haven't seen actual football in months (no, team scrimmages and AFL/CFL don't officially count) and you just can't wait. After the first quarter however, it becomes rather slow and boring as you see the penalties rise and the performance level drops exponentially as the the talent level drops. Plus, pre-season entertainment really depends on the head coach. Some coaches want to win these games. Some are just looking to evaluate players based on certain situations. Some just want to get through these games showing as little as possible and having as few injuries as possible. I'm not sure what type of coach Mike Shanahan is in the pre-season but here are a few things I'm looking for:
1. No Injuries. No matter what happens in this game, if this happens we win.
2. I want to see Donovan McNabb play like Donovan McNabb but in a Redskins jersey. Pretty simple. If he throws five passes and looks good in his first series. Pull him and let's start gearing up for week two.
3. Will a receiver (not named Moss or Galloway) please stand up? Devin Thomas, Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks and Shay Hodge here's your chance. Jobs are won and lost during training camp/pre-season. Now is the time to step up and start to separate yourself from the pack. Thomas in particular needs to impress tonight.
4. Ryan Torain vs. Keiland Williams. Who's backing up Portis and Johnson this year and playing teams? We start to find out tonight.
5. Turnovers. The Skins moved to the 3-4 in order to increase QB pressure, kill the inside run and generate turnovers. It would be nice to start seeing this team cause some turnovers as early as tonight.
6. Trent Williams and the O-line. It will be hard to fully judge what our starting O-line will look like after tonight, but it will be a good opportunity to watch Trent Williams and how he and everybody (except Jammal Brown- out/hip) gel as a unit. This game will be a big opportunity for Stephon Heyer at starting RT. Also, I'm curious to get a look at Selvish Capers and see if Chad Rinehart can do anything to save his roster spot.
7. Corner Depth. I'll be watching the competition between Kevin Barnes, Justin Tryon, Byron Westbrook and Ramzee Robinson. Not all of these guys will be on the final 53 man roster and I'll be curious to see if somebody gets an INT or makes a big play tonight.
8. John Beck. With Richard Bartel likely a scratch with an injury, I would expect that we'll see a lot of Rex Grossman and John Beck. I haven't seen that much of Beck (outside of training camp) so it will be interesting to see what he can do with little experience (and little time to review the playbook) in this system.
Bonus- for those going to the game:
1. The HD video boards. Will the boards be as good as we heard they will be? Can we get quick and more frequent replays? Will there be any glitches/bugs/growing pains that the team will have to work out?
2. The Loud Crowd. The "standing room only" area where fans can stomp the aluminum seats/stairs and make tons of noise. I know pre-season doesn't have the normal football crowd but I'm curious if anybody takes advantage of this new location and if it ramps up the noise.
3. The Band. Any new songs this season? Where will they sit now? Just a curiosity.
4. The Parking. Anybody in the Copper and Gray lots? Let me know if the parking is any better.
More coverage later tonight and early tomorrow morning.......