ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington Redskins practice at 11:05 a.m. ET Thursday, their last full day of preparation for Saturday’s game at Baltimore. Here are three areas of interest for your wake-up call:
The linebackers. Now that Junior Galette is lost for the season, the focus will turn to Trent Murphy and Preston Smith, as well as Jackson Jeffcoat and Houston Bates. One of the latter two could now end up on the 53-man roster. But the heavy work must be done by Murphy and/or Smith. Murphy has had a good camp, but he’s not a dynamic rusher and while Smith has improved, he still remains a work-in-progress as a rusher. He’s stopped thinking quite so much on his rushes, which helps. The knock on Murphy last season was that he, too, thought way too much as a rusher.
Robert Griffin III. Yep, the daily Griffin reminder. But you also have to know that this situation is not getting any better. According to multiple scouts and executives who have watched him this summer, Griffin’s play isn’t any different than a year ago and that’s why the Redskins should be concerned. If others see it, then the Redskins see it, too. Griffin has worked hard to try and improve, but the instincts just haven’t been improved. Meanwhile, Griffin might address the media Thursday.
The running backs. One thing was evident while watching one-on-one pass protection matchups between the linebackers and running backs Wednesday: The backs have some work to do. The best blocker was fullback Darrel Young, as you would probably expect. The tough part is that he won’t always be in the game on those downs. Rookie Matt Jones lunged too much when engaging linebacker A.J. Highsmith. It’s a tough learning curve for rookies when it comes to this role. Chris Thompson has done better as a blocker this summer. Alfred Morris was inconsistent in the drill Wednesday -- and has been during his career.