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4 Downs: Who needs to Step up in Preseason Game #3

Preseason game #3 is in most cases the final dress rehearsal for the regular season. It is also usually the game the starters play at least a half and sometimes into the third quarter. So it is not your typical preseason game and Saturday night’s game in Baltimore is more important for some than others. So who does it mean most too? I will tell you in this week’s edition of “4 Downs.”

  1. Robert Griffin III has been cleared to play in Baltimore after suffering a concussion (or something like it) against the Lions. Now he needs to make it clear why he’s the #1 quarterback with his play. RGIII is not in danger of losing his job. He’s “the guy” as Jay Gruden has pointed out over and over since February.


(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

However, that doesn’t mean the quarterback doesn’t need to show some improvement heading into the regular season. The first team offense as a whole needs to show improvement. And yes – it does start with #10. He needs to lead them on drives and a touchdown would be nice. He also needs to protect himself when things are not perfect protection wise (avoid Terrell Suggs!). Also, getting the right protection calls at the line of scrimmage will help, too.


Plus the playmakers need to make plays. Both Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts had drops on throws that were catchable in the past two games. Garcon’s could have been a touchdown and Roberts would have kept a drive alive. Jay Gruden and Sean McVay need to get the 1st unit in rhythm as well. It’s not just Griffin, but it starts with him.


  1. Rookie RG Brandon Scherff and second year RT Morgan Moses need to have a better night Saturday. They had a rough go of it against the Lions. The two lack NFL experience and they need to continue to develop chemistry. Scherff is already under the microscope because he was moved from Right Tackle to Right Guard. He was run over by Tyrunn Walker of the Lions who pushed him back into RGIII.


Saturday night in Baltimore should be a good test for the right side of the line. They need to show some toughness that we expect from a Bill Callahan line because the Ravens are going to be angry after the 40-17 beatdown to the Eagles. Scherff and Moses will need to be ready for a heavyweight fight the entire time they are on the field.


  1. Trent Murphy and Preston Smith were worth watching before Junior Galette was lost for the season. Now they are must watch and must step up players. Murphy showed improvement last season and is solid against the run. He has also been the player that teammates have praised for the work he’s put in during the off-season. He told us yesterday on ‘Inside the Locker Room’ his mindset is no different with Galette out. However, the amount of snaps he gets could be drastically different.

As for Smith he has flashed during the first couple of preseason games. He is a freakish athlete who showed versatility at Mississippi State with the ability to line up anywhere. It will be interesting to see how he quickly he can progress as an NFL pass rusher. The learning curve might need to be sped up as the team looks to improve from last year’s sack numbers (21st in league).

Jamison Crowder is expected to finally be on the field Saturday night. The Skins rookie has been slowed by a hamstring injury, but barring no setbacks he should be on the field in Baltimore.


The coaching staff was excited about Crowder after the draft and he showed why during OTA’s and Training Camp. He seemed to make a play every day in Richmond. Crowder will lineup as the slot WR and he will likely return some kicks and punts. The key for Crowder will be getting on the same page with his quarterback (and of course staying on the field for good).




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