5 Washington Redskins Who Made an Impression in 2013 Preseason Opener
5 Washington Redskins To Make an Impression vs Tennessee Titans
The 2013 NFL preseason has officially started!
The Washington Redskins played their preseason opener on Thursday, August 8 versus the Tennessee Titans. The final score was Washington 22, Tennessee 21. Each team had three touchdowns and Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan decided to risk it all and avoid overtime by attempting a two point conversion in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. Needless to say, the conversion was good, and the Redskins notched a victory while breaking the 11 game winning streak Tennessee held for preseason home games.
But does any of this really matter? Well, no. These games are just the preseason, not the regular season, thus not counting toward a division championship or eventual playoff berth. And Yes, they do matter. These games provide valuable insight into how each team is built, how deep their rosters go and how a team will likely be in the future. The preseason is a time for backups and rookies to shine. If any spots are up for grabs, then the competition is fierce as some players' jobs depend on these preseason games.
So after watching the Redskins' preseason opener, Washington fans should be rather impressed with how their backups and rookies performed. Shanahan decided to sit nine starters, quarterback Robert Griffin III being the most obvious, giving backups plenty of opportunity to shine. Even starters, who have had injury concerns, were able to prove that they are healthy and ready to play. The preseason may just be a tease of the true 2013 NFL season, but it has its value and should be closely watched.
Fred Davis Proves He Is Ready to Play
Redskins tight end Fred Davis has been an injury concern for the past few years. He has not played a full season since 2010. However, this year Davis joins the Redskins as the starting TE with lots of hype surrounding his ability to help Griffin down field. On Thursday, Davis proved his health and value by scoring the Redskins' first touchdown on a three-yard reception from Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins. Further, Davis was wide open for the touchdown, a testament to both his quickness and the Redskins' play calling abilities. Davis finished the game with two receptions for 14 yards and one touchdown. This year is his contract year, so expect Davis to continue to impress in the 2013 NFL regular season.
Roy Helu Jr. Gets First Crack at Backup RB
Roy Helu Jr. started as the Redskins running back in their preseason opener, classifying him as the RB most likely to get the second spot on the depth chart behind star RB Alfred Morris. Helu was a solid choice his rookie year, as he earned the starting spot and became the Redskins' leading rusher in 2011. He even set the record for most receptions a player in a single game at 14. In 2012, Helu lost his starting position to rookie Morris and was eventually hurt in late September, ending his season. Helu ran for 57 yards on 13 carries for an average of 4.4 yards a rush. He impressed fans and coached by lowering his head and charging into contact. Expect Helu to be the second RB.
Evan Royster Fights for RB Position
Evan Royster, Penn State UniversityPenn State University's three-year starter and all-time leading rusher, was drafted two rounds after Helu in the 2011 draft. Therefore, it was already known he would probably not pass Helu on the Redskins depth chart. Royster accepted his backup role in 2012 when Helu went down with injury and eventually scored his first professional touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in Week 9. Against the Titans in the preseason game, Royster rushed 14 times for 62 yards, an average of 4.4 yards per carry. While Helu should maintain seniority, Royster could have an expanded role if any injuries limit Morris or Helu.
Joshua Morgan Proves he is Worthy of Being Redskins Second Receiver
Joshua Morgan was selected to be the second wide receiver opposite Pierre Garcon in 2012. He played well with fair consistency, but earned the hatred of fans when in Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams he lost the game for the Redskins on a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that lost his team a first down late in the fourth quarter. This year he will be given the opportunity of starting again but this time with high hopes. In his first preseason game, Morgan caught three receptions on three targets for 39 yards. He seems to be able to hold onto the ball this year, and if he continues to do so it will highly impress fans and coaches in 2013.
Leonard Hankerson Plays Hard in Hopes of Moving Up Depth Chart
Drafted in 2011 with Helu and Royster, Leonard Hankerson is poised to be the second string wide receiver behind Morgan. Hankerson proved his abilities in Week 15 of 2012 when he scored two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns. In the preseason opener, Hankerson caught the most passes of any Redskin on four receptions of five targets, one a touchdown off a wide receiver screen in which he dove over a Titans' defensive player for the score. That athletic ability is sure to impress his coaches and fans alike.