Mark Duncan/Associated Press
In preseason games the conversation is built more around internal competition rather than who to watch out for in an opponent.
Let's break down a few of the positional battles to keep an eye on Monday in Washington.
Inside Linebacker: Craig Robertson vs Christian Kirksey
The rookie Kirksey really started to turn heads once the pads went on in training camp.
Following practice on Aug. 6, as reported by clevelandbrowns.com staff writer Kevin Jones, head coach Mike Pettine commented:
'If you were an observer at practice and didn’t have a roster, you wouldn’t think he was a rookie,' said Pettine of Kirksey. 'He’s great on the practice field, he asks the right questions. He’s been very engaging in the meeting rooms. He really leans on Karlos [Dansby] as a good resource. He’s been a guy that’s been as advertised.'
Craig Robertson is listed ahead of Kirksey on the depth chart and has looked better in training camp than he did at the end of last year.
However, there is still plenty of time for Kirksey to wrestle the top spot away. To ease the former Iowa Hawkeye into the NFL, it might be beneficial to utilize Kirksey on obvious third-down passing situations at first.
Then his superior pass defense can shine, which would take some of the pressure off Robertson.
The exact timeline for a decision to come down on a league suspension to Josh Gordon is unknown, but in all likelihood the star wide receiver will miss games in 2014.
No one in the remaining group of available candidates has stood out on a consistent basis throughout training camp.
Drops and inability to get open plagued all the receivers in some way or another during the first preseason game last Saturday. There were flashes of potential from Miles Austin, Charles Johnson and Taylor Gabriel, but no one has distinguished themselves as a go to target.
Someone, anyone, needs to step up and impress on Monday.
Quarterback: Brian Hoyer vs Johnny Manziel
In getting a second straight preseason start, even though reps with the ones will be split, it appears that the top QB spot on the depth chart is Brian Hoyer's to lose.
The hometown boy answered questions following Saturday's practice.
However, coach Pettine shared with the media that nothing is for certain yet.
The X-Factor in this exhibition contest revolves around how long Washington's first team stays on the field.
If Pettine sticks to his word of rotating Hoyer and Manziel every two series with the Browns' starting offense then the question is how long will Johnny see the opposition's top defenders by the time he gets in?
Can a fair comparison between the two quarterbacks really be made if part of Manziel's playing time is against backups?