The Chicago Bears opened their 2012 preseason Aug. 8 with a 31-3 thrashing at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
Final scores in the preseason after often not really indicative of how the game really went, but in this case, the Bears played sloppily and the Broncos took advantage; so Chicago is obviously looking to clean it up tonight against the Redskins when the two teams face off at Solider Field.
ESPN Chicago’s Tom Waddle talked about the main storylines he’s looking for in tonight’s game from a Bears’ perspective. I took those thoughts and translated them into what it means for the Redskins tonight:
Waddle: “Improvement at the left tackle position: J’Marcus Webb has to be better. If not, they have to try Chris Williams. If Chris Williams can’t get the job done, then the starting left tackle for this team going forward into the regular season has to come from somewhere else.”
Redskins Translation: Washington outside linebacker Brian Orakpo could have a field day in the first half against the Chicago offensive line. Look for Orakpo and fellow outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan to switch sides on occasion to mix it up and give several different looks as they try to apply pressure on Jay Cutler.
Waddle: “Intrigued to watch Jay Cutler, with Jeremy Bates as his new quarterbacks coach, throwing the ball to Brandon Marshall. We got a glimpse of Brandon Marshall last week against the Denver Broncos, but I want to see Jay and Brandon back together again putting big numbers on the board.”
Redskins Translation: The last time Jay Cutler played against the Washington Redskins, DeAngelo Hall picked him off four times and Washington escaped Solider Field with a win. With Marshall posing such a threat to the Redskins’ secondary, Cutler will look Marshall’s way — and often. But it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see Cutler’s nemesis, Hall, closely guarding Marshall and looking to add more picks.
Waddle: “Defensively, I want to see Julius Peppers get after the opposing quarterback. … (Shea) McClellan has done some good things late in training camp — will we see that athleticism as he chases Robert Griffin III around the pocket.”
Redskins Translation: It is the second preseason game, and both starting units got just a few actual gametime plays under their belts in their first weeks of action. Peppers and McClellan will be licking their chops against a Redskins offensive line that has been hit by the injury bug early in the preseason, which gives that unit even more incentive to keep the rookie quarterback as clean as possible.
Waddle: “[Bears head coach Lovie Smith’s] tenure has been marred by a ton of safety rotation. Can they finally find two guys that can settle in and play those spots, respectively, over the course of a 16-game regular season? Brandon Hardin will get an opportunity; Chris Conte will be given an opportunity. Overall, we also need to see whether or not Nick Roach can man that middle linebacker position while Brian Urlacher is out.”
Redskins Translation: Griffin III enjoyed looking Pierre Garçon’s way several times in last week’s 7-6 win against the Bills. But against the Bears — who have been less than stable in the secondary in recent seasons — you might see other Redskins receivers having big nights (a la, Leonard Hankerson). Also, with Urlacher out of tonight’s game, look for tight end Fred Davis to be the target of several Griffin III passes across the middle to test Roach in coverage.
Stay in the know
If you weren’t fortunate enough to take the trip to the Windy City and/or you can’t see the game on TV, I’d highly suggest following the Redskins on Twitter and liking the team on Facebook to get all the updates right as they happen.
And, of course, the Redskins Blog will be all over it, as well.
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