Five questions Redskins beat writer Brian McNally has heading into Washington’s Sunday afternoon game against the Oakland Raiders.
1. Who is Oakland’s quarterback?
Terrelle Pryor suffered a concussion in Monday’s blowout loss to Denver and didn’t practice on Wednesday. It’s a big style difference between the former Ohio State star, a legitimate running threat, and backup Matt Flynn, a traditional pocket passer. The Redskins claim they won’t prepare any differently, but that uncertainty must cause some issues.
2. Will we continue to see improvement from wide receiver Leonard Hankerson?
The 24-year-old wide receiver started in place of Josh Morgan in Sunday’s loss to Detroit and caught three passes for 21 yards. Pierre Garcon is the main threat, but developing a complement for quarterback Robert Griffin III to target would be nice. Hankerson has 11 catches, including two touchdowns, for 136 yards in three games.
3. Can Washington stop the run?
Yes, that was the goal against Detroit after getting shredded by Philadelphia and Green Bay in consecutive weeks. And the Redskins allowed just 63 yards last week. But Reggie Bush, the Lions’ starter, didn’t play. Oakland is a power team and ranks third in the NFL with 446 rushing yards. Pryor has 198 of those so it’s a problem for Oakland if he doesn’t play.
4. What is the deal with the Redskins’ situation at tight end?
Rookie Jordan Reed sat out a second day of practice on Thursday with a bruised thigh so he’s questionable. And Fred Davis was limited again in practice with a sore ankle. That leaves Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul, who are different kinds of players. How does the lack of a playmaker at that position affect Washington’s offensive balance?
5. What’s the next step for Robert Griffin III?
A complete game. We’ve seen flashes now. Griffin took advantage of the Eagles and Packers through the air the first two weeks, but the Redskins were hopelessly behind by then. They were empty numbers. Not so vs. Detroit, where the offense moved much better only to see turnovers end promising drives. At 0-3, Griffin can’t afford a step back.