- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2014

Five questions heading into the Redskins’ Saturday night preseason game against the Ravens in Baltimore.

1. What will Jason Hatcher bring? The veteran defensive end was signed by the Redskins during the offseason to improve their pass rush, but he missed a large portion of training camp and the first two preseason games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Hatcher, 32, can give the Redskins the necessary push on the defensive line if he’s fully healthy.

2. Will Robert Griffin III protect himself better? After taking a few punishing hits Monday in the preseason game against Cleveland, Griffin has continued to show he’s not always willing to give up on a play when he’s in danger. That stubbornness hasn’t gone away — and it’s remarkable that it’s still a conversation nearly 20 months after he originally injured his LCL in a game against Baltimore his rookie year.

3. Can Griffin and his receivers improve their timing? The quarterback showed he could connect on deeper throws to DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts on Monday, which was an improvement over what he showed in training camp. That rapport should continue to build against Baltimore as the starters are likely to play until at least halftime, giving Griffin and his new targets ample time to work out the kinks.

4. How will the secondary fare? Washington’s first-team defense has looked solid through the first two preseason games — but then again, it also faced Patriots backup Ryan Mallett, Browns journeyman (and now starter) Brian Hoyer and rookie Johnny Manziel. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has more experience, a stronger arm and better receivers, leading to a better evaluation of the defense’s ability on Saturday.

5. When will the special teams start to take shape? Not only do the Redskins have two punters and two kickers on their roster, they have a plethora of capable punt returners and kickoff returners who have yet to truly separate themselves. Anyone looking to do so could receive a boost from a strong game on Saturday.

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