- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1. How will quarterback John Beck fare against Baltimore’s attacking defense? He completed 14 of 17 passes for 140 yards against Indianapolis’ Cover-2 zone last week. The Ravens present a different challenge because they are more aggressive. They will force Beck to make quick decisions while providing opportunities to throw downfield. We should get a clearer picture of Beck’s poise, willingness to take risks and ability to execute difficult throws.

2. How will first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan respond to being targeted? NFL teams use the third week of the preseason as a dress rehearsal for Week 1, meaning they game plan more extensively than for any other exhibition game. So expect Baltimore to test left outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan in the passing game, forcing him to make decisions about which receivers to cover. The progress of his transition from collegiate defensive end should be evident.

3. Which receivers will distinguish themselves near the bottom of the depth chart? This position battle arguably is the most interesting at the halfway point of the preseason. It’s possible that veterans Donte Stallworth and Terrence Austin and fifth-round rookie Niles Paul are competing for one spot. Stallworth said this week he hasn’t had the chance to do what he does best — catch short passes and run. Every snap, including those on special teams, is crucial for those three.

4. Will the red zone efficiency improve with intensified game-planning? The Redskins have scored only two touchdowns on nine drives inside the 20-yard line this preseason. They’re moving the ball well between the 20s, but punching it in remains a problem. The team game-planned red zone situations in practice this week for the first time, so we’ll know the issues are deeper if that doesn’t help.

5. How will free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe fit into the defense? A hamstring strain cost the Redskins’ free agent signing the first two preseason games, so this is our first chance to see the renowned ball hawk in action. He missed two weeks of practice and still is learning the defense, so expect quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense to test him.



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