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Redskins-Buccaneers: 5 Questions

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1. How long will quarterbacks John Beck and Rex Grossman play in their final showcase? Coach Mike Shanahan said the competition will last into next week, so the preseason finale is important. But would Shanahan risk playing Beck and Grossman for an extended period behind the second-string line? Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris said his defensive starters won't play, so how much can we really learn about the Redskins' quarterbacks? A lot of moving parts will impact the evaluation.

2. Which receiver will grab the last roster spot? Terrence Austin's exceptional preseason should earn him a roster spot alongside Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Anthony Armstrong. Leonard Hankerson has considerable promise as a third-round pick, and he's probably safe, too. That presumably leaves one spot among Brandon Banks, Donté Stallworth and fifth-round rookie Niles Paul. Banks' explosiveness as a returner gives him the edge.

3. Which members of the secondary will distinguish themselves? A lot remains unsettled on the back end, where safety LaRon Landry's ailing hamstring complicates the numbers game. The Redskins might have to keep an extra safety because of Landry's uncertain health. If so, fifth-round rookie DeJon Gomes could serve as a swing safety/cornerback. Seventh-round cornerback Brandyn Thompson also is making a push for a spot.

4. Will any of the offensive line reserves show some consistency? Much of the Redskins' play this preseason has justified considerable optimism entering the season. The second-string offensive line, on the other hand, is an exception. Inconsistency is a major problem for all five linemen in one-on-one run blocks and in pass protection. The Redskins could look to the waiver wire this weekend to fill the bottom of the line's depth chart.

5. Which first-stringers will play and for how long? Jarvis Jenkins' torn ACL against Baltimore was a reminder of the injury risk players face in these exhibition games. That could force Mike Shanahan to reconsider playing a lot of first-stringers who joined the team late, especially defensive players. Running back Tim Hightower and linebacker Brian Orakpo, for example, have shown enough and are too valuable to risk injury.

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