Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman looks at four key players to keep an eye on during Saturday evening's Redskins-Colts game at FedExField.
"Redskins-Colts: 4 Players to Watch" is presented by Papa John's, Official Pizza of the Washington Redskins.
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ROBERT GRIFFIN III
With the quarterback matchup between Robert Griffin III and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, this game has been coined by some as "the Super Bowl of the preseason." Top pick vs. the No. 2 overall pick, and two of the top young prospects in football should provide the most intriguing preseason game in the NFL.
All pageantry aside, this is another opportunity for Griffin III to develop in the Redskins offense and adjust to the speed of the NFL. He put up decent numbers vs. the Bears, but took three sacks with a fumble. Not all of these were his fault, but he understands that there are things he can do better to avoid mistakes vs. a stellar Colts pass rush.
Griffin III is expected to play into the second half, with head coach Mike Shanahan proposing at least one drive in the third quarter. Look for the starters to get their last extended action before the regular season, with the fourth and final game only four days away.
Look for coaches to put him in a position to build his confidence in the playbook, and possibly out-duel Colts player No. 12.
Last week, Griffin III had a flawless performance against a top-10 quality defense, completing four-of-six passes for 70 yards, and leading his team to the only touchdown of the game. He showed poise, reading through three and four progressions and taking what the defense gave him.
Griffin III is expected to take between 30-35 snaps on Saturday night, or approximately the first half of football. Look for his coaches to continue to put him in situations where he can succeed, without revealing much of the playbook. The Redskins went conservative against the Bills, running on three-of-four plays to open the game, before letting him loose on the third drive. Look for his coaches to continue to build his confidence with high-percentage pass plays.
Garcon went from unheralded Division III receiver to one of Peyton Manning's top targets in Indianapolis. Manning left the Colts this offseason and so did Garcon, coming to Washington as the team's new No. 1 receiver.
Garcon has been impressive so far this preseason, ably filling the role of top Redskins receiver. Watch for Garcon to get opportunities in the first-team offense today, and continue to build his trust with Griffin III.
Garcon has said all the right things about this being just another game, but know that he cares deeply about the team outcome and his production vs. his old team.
Kerrigan has continued his rein of terror in the opponents' backfield, collecting a sack in each of the first two games, despite taking limited snaps.
He's an intriguing matchup this week, because he'll be the top outside linebacker with Brian Orakpo out of the game. With offensive protection schemes keying on him, he will need to prove that he can produce even without Orakpo on the field.
Kerrigan may also have an opportunity to show his development in coverage vs. Colts rookie tight end Coby Fleener. Fleener is named after Redskins legend Joe Jacoby, and adds a dynamic playmaker to the Colts' aerial attack. Kerrigan likely won't be caught in one-on-one matchups with Fleener, but could aid in shutting down Andrew Luck with his ability to defend against the screen.
After being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers midway through the offseason, he missed OTA's and the start of training camp with shoulder and calf injuries.
Now fully-healthy, Jackson may get the opportunity to start at strong safety in place of Brandon Meriweather, who injured his knee last week against the Bears. Jackson will need to prove not only his knowledge of the 3-4 playbook, but also that he can be healthy and productive in the Redskins defense.
With Meriweather and Madieu Williams currently atop the depth chart, Jackson will be competing against incumbents DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty, as well as rookie Jordan Bernstine, for a roster spot.