- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1. How will the three rookie defensive backs play?

We’ll see sixth-round safety Bacarri Rambo and fourth-rounder Phillip Thomas tackle for the first time since the Redskins drafted them in the spring. If they take proper angles, wrap up and are consistently around the ball, then it would be a successful night. Second-round cornerback David Amerson must not surrender any big plays, and he must be physical in run support.

2. Will quarterback Kirk Cousins pick up where he left off last December?

Cousins isn’t expected to start the season, so his performance is not critical. But the Redskins need a strong Plan B for injured quarterback Robert Griffin III. Cousins would inspire more confidence if he protects the ball, capitalizes on opportunities the defense gives him and plays well on third downs.

3. What will it be like to have outside linebacker Brian Orakpo back?

The Redskins’ pass rush suffered last season after Orakpo tore his left pectoral muscle in Week 2. This is our first chance to see whether he has regained the power in his upper body. Watch him and the rookie defensive backs on passing downs.

4. Will any running back stand out from the others?

There’s no reason to play Alfred Morris much, if at all, so the other backs competing for two roster spots will have a chance to showcase themselves. Rookie speedster Chris Thompson is the most intriguing because of his explosiveness and elusiveness, but his sore left knee kept him out of several practices last week.

5. Who will emerge as early leaders in the competition for backup offensive line spots?

When it comes to determining the 53-man roster, the numbers along the offensive line are the most difficult to project. Left tackle Tom Compton might enable the Redskins to keep eight instead of nine if he proves he has improved his agility, strength and footwork in pass protection.

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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