Washington Redskins Wrap Up Preseason Tonight: What to Watch vs. Tampa Bay

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 29, 2012

Oct 16, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Tim Hightower (25) before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Redskins will benefit from 10 full days to prepare for their opening game next weekend in New Orleans after they wrap up the preseason tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before that 10-day stretch begins, they'll look to get some answers in the preseason finale.

Here's what we'll be watching for:


The Running Backs Jockey for Positioning

Alfred Morris won't play, which likely means the rookie will start Week 1. Beyond that, though, we should see a lot of Evan Royster, as he looks to secure the temporary No. 2 role. Royster has been banged up and Tim Hightower and Roy Helu are both hurt, so we might see a lot of Tristan Davis tonight, too. 

Regardless, we might have a chance to get some more clarity on the backfield situation. Unless, of course, Royster, Hightower and Helu all don't play. 


Aldrick Robinson vs. Dezmon Briscoe vs. Brandon Banks vs. Anthony Armstrong vs. Terrence Austin

All five of those receivers are fighting for one or two spots. Robinson and Briscoe have been the top receivers thus far in the preseason, but Banks has the strongest special teams presence. All five players should get opportunities to make plays tonight, which could change the pecking order.

I'd really like to see Robinson get a few cracks as a returner. That could give him a chance to gain an edge on Banks. Briscoe probably only has to avoid mistakes to make the team at this point, while Armstrong and Austin have to do something big.


Billy Cundiff Makes His Debut

Did Cundiff have his Mike Vanderjagt moment when he shanked a last-second field goal in last year's playoffs, costing Baltimore a chance to go to the Super Bowl? He was a Pro Bowler in 2010, but the Ravens released Cundiff earlier this week in favor of a rookie.

Graham Gano struggled last season, so Washington decided to part ways with Gano and roll the dice on Cundiff, who will be in the lineup tonight. We'll be keeping an eye on what kind of first impression he makes.


Richard Crawford Can Put a Cherry on Top

Crawford has been one of the brightest and most surprising stars of Washington's preseason, and the rookie cornerback can bolster his case for a significant role with a big performance against the Bucs.

In fact, with the starters limited, look for Crawford, Brandyn Thompson and Jordan Bernstine to play big roles tonight. With the secondary in flux, all three youngsters are wild cards with nice upside.


Check back later for a full recap of Washington's final exhibition performance.