They have many things to be excited about in terms of their roster, too. Offensive and defensive players alike, we saw many guys step up when their numbers were called.
The game’s hero, Pat White, was the brightest star on the field last week. He led the team’s game-winning drive and looked right at home in the pocket, which was something not many expected.
I mean, come on—he hasn’t played a down of football since 2009. Did anyone really bet on White to come in and play like that? Regardless, it’s a good thing he did, because it gave the Redskins a jumpstart to their season and creates a nice little competition behind Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.
White will be put to the test this week against a stern Steelers defense, but given the strength of Washington’s running game, the Redskins should be okay.
Speaking of their runners’ strength, both Roy Helu and Evan Royster are coming off of strong performances, and are certainly making some noise in the Redskins’ crowded backfield. They will be challenged for playing time this week by rookie runners Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison, but they will still get their chances to carry the ball and make an impression on the coaches.
Helu is someone who’s been hampered with injuries during his entire time in the NFL, but this could be the season we finally see him get going. Royster is another guy who hasn’t had a chance to really get his NFL career started yet, but if he maintains this level of play, it won’t be long before he does.
Another guy who exceeded expectations last week was Leonard Hankerson. The third-year receiver has been pegged by many to be a star in 2013, and he is certainly looking the part. He caught four passes for 38 yards and a touchdown last week, showing his toughness by scoring on a catch across the middle of the red zone in traffic. With Santana Moss nearing retirement, it is crucial that Hankerson keeps this fire going and continues to raise his game.
Of course, for every star shining bright, there is always another who is dim in comparison. Rookie safety Bacarri Rambo was pretty underwhelming in last week’s game and was especially embarrassed on a 58-yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson.
Especially now that Phillip Thomas is out for the season, Rambo’s competence in Jim Haslett’s defense has become even more vital.
Besides Brandon Meriweather, there isn’t a whole lot of talent at the safety position. For the sake of the Redskins secondary, it is very important that Rambo steps his game up and learns from his mistakes early on.
Aside from Rambo, Rex Grossman was another unimpressive player last week.
Washington got off to a fast start with Cousins at the helm, but the offense began to sputter once Grossman stepped in. It picked back up again once White relieved Grossman, but it was clear that the team just wasn’t as good with the former Gator leading them.
With opening day quickly approaching, Grossman’s future with the team is getting cloudier and cloudier. He’s buried beneath RG3 and Cousins on the depth chart and is definitely getting put on the spot by White. If he doesn’t show that he brings something special to the table, then he might be out of a job within the next month.
Who knows, Washington still needs a kick returner, so maybe they’ll invoke Joe Theismann’s days as a return man and throw ol’ Sexy Rexy on special teams. Eh, nah, that’ll never work.
For all the good and all the bad, the Redskins are still in a favorable position right now. As long as they can keep their guys healthy and maintain their high level of play, then things should be just fine.