Going into week three of the preseason, Washington’s offense needs to prove their worth after struggling for back to back weeks. While yes, it’s only preseason, it is imperative they display the versatile passing game we saw last year.
Top Three Match ups to watch
Kendall Fuller vs John Ross
John Ross looks to make his debut in just a few hours against the Redskins. The rookie made history during the NFL combine when he broke Chris Johnson’s record 40-yard dash with a blazing 4.22 time. Cincinnati has high expectations for the Washington alum as he was taken in the first ten picks in April’s draft.
Kendall Fuller could solidify a starting job if he can lock down Ross. While he struggled last year, there no doubt that he has the potential for much more success. At one point in his senior season, NFL scouts gave him an early second round grade before injuries slowed him down.
During training camp, Fuller excelled. He reeled in numerous interceptions and it felt like his name was constantly being mentioned as one of the best performers after each practice. Fuller is in a competition with Fabian Moreau for the slot corner job, and this game will be one of the biggest deciding factors for Jay Gruden.
Rob Kelley vs ILB Kevin Minter
Kelley, a former UDFA, struggled mightily against both the Packers and the Ravens. Samaje Perine, on the other hand, excelled while on the field against the Packers. Jay Gruden remains confident in Kelley, but that could change soon. If Kelley puts up numbers similar to last weeks game (7 carries for 7 yards) he may lose carries to Perine.
The Tulane grad’s first NFL start came against the Bengals last year in which he ran for 87 yards on 21 carries. He was extremely consistent with 12 carries for over 4 yards and no carries for a loss.
The Bengals brought in Kevin Minter to start immediately. He started the past 32 games for the Cardinals and Pro Football Focus gave him a 77.3 grade for last season. Will Minter be able to lead the Bengals to more success against Kelley? Will the Tulane RB bounce back after two putrid outings? We will find out today.
Terrelle Pryor vs William Jackson III
William Jackson was my second favorite corner coming out of the 2016 draft, but a pectoral injury caused him to miss the entirety of his rookie season. Jackson uses his 6’1 frame to be physical and amazing close speed to break up passes. In his first work of the preseason, Jackson did well in the run game but did not stand out in pass coverage.
He’ll face his toughest opponent yet in Terrelle Pryor, who stands at 6’5. Pryor is an athletic freak, but we have not seen him at his full potential due to the overall struggles of the first team offense.
If Pryor and Cousins can connect of a few long gains, Washington will be in a much better position going into week one against the Eagles.