Buccaneers vs Redskins Preview: 5 Things to Watch in Preseason Finale
While most teams will rest their starters, the Redskins are taking their quarterback battle right down to the wire. Meanwhile, many other Redskins players will be trying to seize their last opportunity to secure a roster spot.
Here are the five things to watch in the Redskins final preseason game tomorrow night.
Ryan Torain's Return
After returning to practice for the first time in three weeks after breaking his hand, Washington Redskins running back Ryan Torain is assumed to be playing in this week's preseason finale.
Torain was forced to watch helplessly from the sidelines as former Arizona Cardinal Tim Hightower secured the starting spot at tailback with his outstanding play throughout the first three preseason games.
Now Torain needs to get back in the swing of things quickly. With Hightower asserting himself and rookie Roy Helu, Jr. showing flashes, Ryan Torain needs to have a big game and show that he is 100 percent to ensure that he continues to get his share of the carries once the season starts.
Brandon Banks Showcasing His Value
Brandon Banks also returned to practice this week, and he too will need to show the Washington Redskins coaches something tomorrow night.
With the small allowances in a 53 man roster, Mike Shanahan is going to have to make some tough decisions.
Banks likely has enough value as a special teams player that he will make the team. However, he shouldn't take any chances against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One explosive play would be enough to confirm his utility, and overcome any doubts about his health.
Donte' Stallworth's Last Game as a Washington Redskin?
The wide receiver position is crowded for the Washington Redskins, and Donte' Stallworth might find himself being crowded out.
While we were discussing Stallworth as a possible starter just weeks ago, he has failed to distinguish himself in the preseason.
With Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, and Anthony Armstrong competing for starting spots, Brandon Banks' value on special teams, and Terrence Austin stepping up, there aren't many roster spots left at receiver.
The coaches are not going to cut Leonard Hankerson after just drafting him in the third round a few months ago. If Donte' Stallworth doesn't have a phenomenal game, he could very well be dropped.
Graham Gano Trying to Maintain Success
One of the Washington Redskins players who still worries me is kicker Graham Gano. Gano was the least accurate kicker in the NFL last season, and he made some very poor kicks in important situations.
He has a strong leg and as a young player could have value for the Redskins for many years to come. But he needs to improve his accuracy. A lot.
Gano has looked much better in the preseason, making all seven of his field goal attempts thus far. Still, I'd watch him closely this Thursday, and especially once the regular season starts.
With Shayne Graham and Clint Stitser gone the job is his, but if he continues to disappoint I have to imagine Mike Shanahan will be looking for another kicker.
The Final Chance for John Beck and Rex Grossman
Thursday's preseason finale will provide the last duel for the starting quarterback job between John Beck and Rex Grossman.
Through three preseason games (two for Beck), Grossman has completed 64 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and one interception, while John Beck has completed 74 percent of his passes, but with only one touchdown to his one interception.
Since they will likely be facing the scrubs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, neither quarterback will have any excuses for a poor outing.
All along most have assumed that Beck was the "guy," but Mike Shanahan is playing this one close to the vest. He says the quarterback battle is coming down to the wire, and I assume both Beck and Grossman will be playing like their job is on the line.