On Sunday, the Washington Redskins will travel to the Bay Area for the first time in four seasons when they play the Oakland Raiders.
Being the last game until the Bye Week, there are plenty of storylines to follow but none more important than getting the first win of the season. Entering 2013 with high expectations enhanced by an NFC East title, keeping all of the key playmakers from a season ago despite the salary cap penalty and a draft class that filled holes and added quality depth, the Redskins were expected to challenge for the top record in the NFC.
While they are off to their worst start since 2001 at 0-3, the burgundy and gold have plenty of time to put the first three weeks of the season behind them and win. It all starts in Oakland.
Winning would do wonders for confidence before facing arch nemesis Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
Anyway, here are some storylines that local Oakland reporters and national outlets are following. I didn’t include any fashion magazines pieces on what’s the recommended silver and black face paint combination to go along with those big ole shoulder spikes the fans wear. But if you request it, maybe I’ll change my tune.
I did a piece yesterday about the Redskins versus Raiders being one of only a few matchups in the NFL that will feature dual-threat quarterbacks and the read-option. The Redskins defense has practiced against the read-option countless times in the backyard practice fields at Redskins Park, but could Terrelle Pryor be the best emulation of Robert Griffin III for the Raiders defense? ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez has the story on the defense’s preparation for No. 10.
The biggest question around Pryor this week hasn’t been whether or not he’ll keep the pigskin. It’s whether or not he’ll play after being diagnosed with a concussion. The San Jose Mercury News has the latest update.
After being one of the hottest free agent names last offseason, quarterback Matt Flynn has twice been beaten for a starting gig in training camp. With Pryor a possible no-go, Sunday could be Flynn’s first regular season start as an Oakland Raider. Although admittedly frustrated, Flynn says his confidence hasn’t been impacted.
One of the most difficult parts of training camp is the roster cut days. Dreaded by everyone in the locker room for fear of either not making the roster or seeing teammates they grew close to leave, the Redskins were fortuned with an abundance of talent and had to let go off many starting-caliber players. Offensive lineman Tony Pashos was one of them.
Pashos was quickly scooped up by the Raiders, starting all three games this season. In start No. 4, he’ll see a familiar face, sans sun costume, in Ryan Kerrigan.
Despite the aforementioned salary cap penalty being levied against the Redskins this offseason, Redskins brass didn’t have to get creative with their roster scheming. The core remained under contract and other key contributors didn’t think twice when asked to stay.
Retaining 84 percent of the roster last season, the Redskins will face a team in transition (61 percent of the Raiders roster is new) trying to remold a culture of success.
Finally, Redskins.com lead writer Brian Tinsman has the four keys to victory. He’ll be reviewing them every Monday seeing how the team did.
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