The Washington Redskins will square off against the New England Patriots in Foxborough tonight and it will be a very exciting game for a number of reasons. Rookies are set to make their (unofficial) NFL debuts, while new free agents feel out their first game with the burgundy and gold. The first preseason game of the year is always highly anticipated and there will be plenty of things to look out for. Here’s what to watch for in New England.

 

Rookies

The Redskins were able to simultaneously draft the best players available, while also addressing needs. Headlining this year’s rookie class is defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne,  running back Derrius Guice, and wide reciever Trey Quinn. With the exceptions of Payne and Guice, most of the rookies should get a decent amount of playing time. 

An undrafted rookie to look out for is cornerback Danny Johnson. Johnson has had a standout offseason, and he could provide some much-needed depth in the defensive backfield this season. 

Tim Settle is another rookie to keep an eye on. Settle, at a staggering 328 pounds, is hard to miss. He is the favorite to start at nose tackle this season, and he will get a good number of snaps against the Patriots. Look for Settle to help in the run game while pressuring the quarterback on pass plays.

 

Play Calling

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Typically, NFL coaches tend to run a vanilla offense during the preseason in order to keep their scheme under wraps before the regular season begins. However, with a new starting quarterback, head coach Jay Gruden should show fans a brand-new look on offense this year. Look for Gruden to call a couple of read option plays, as well as one or two reverses against New England.

 

Run Defense

Washington has had a major issue with stopping the run over the last couple of seasons. After drafting a few linemen in the first few rounds of recent drafts, the Skins look to improve against the run. Coming off of injuries, defensive linemen Johnathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis look to stop the patriot’s backfield. As more of the backups enter the game in the middle of the first quarter, look for linemen Tim Settle and Anthony Lanier to pick up where they left off. The line looks to have more talent and depth this year than it has in years past and it should be on full display tonight.

 

Aggressive play

You won’t see any of the starters putting their bodies on the line during this game but players fighting for roster spots will be physical. These players make the game exciting and they play hard. Look for some big hits from defensive players, along with athletic spins and jukes from offensive players. This is the first time some of these players will suit up in the NFL, and they will look to make a great first impression. 

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