Injuries seemed to highlight the first week of preseason football and no one felt those injuries worst than the Washington Redskins.
The squad, looking to rebound after a disappointing and injury-riddled season last year, took a big-time blow in their first game of the preseason when starting tight end Neil Paul shattered his ankle, rolling his foot under a block earlier in the game. That leave Jordan Reed, who has battled his own string of injuries, to fill in at tight end as well as three unproven youngsters. That trio includes Louisiana Monroe’s Je’Ron Hamm, BYU’s Devin Mahina and Central Arkansas’s Chase Dixon. Expect all of them, even Reed, to see a good chunk of playing time to try and come up with some sort of position contingent before the start of the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions are still searching for a regular in their return spot with TJ Jones showing a handful of promise last week. He had three punt returns for 31 yards against the Jets and might actually put some pressure on Jeremy Ross, who served as returner for the past few seasons.
Kickoff for the preseason matchup between the two squads is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night. Here’s what you need to know about the game:
Detroit Lions vs. Washington Redskins
Thursday, August 20, 7:30 p.m. ET
The game will be broadcast locally in Detroit on FOX 2 and in Washington on NBC 4. Click here for a full TV schedule.
FedEx Field, Hyattsville, Maryland
Redskins -2.5 via Oddsshark
Lions 27, Redskins 20 on September 22, 2014
Scouting the Lions
Welcome to the NFL, Ameer Abdullah.
The first-year running back, who has already drawn comparisons to Barry Sanders after just one preseason game, is being listed second on the Lions depth chart this week behind Theo Riddick. Sure, it’s not a move to automatic starting lineup status but Detroit needs to make sure the Abdullah hype train doesn’t pick up too much speed too early.
He posted seven carries in the preseason opener last week, racking up 67 total yards on the ground, including a highlight-worthy 45-yard run. It’ll be interesting to see how the Lions use the former Nebraska standout in the passing game during the preseason as well, something he excelled at during the college game.
Scouting the Redskins
Oh, Robert Griffin III. That’s one way to get in the headlines.
The Washington quarterback, who has struggled to find consistency over several injury-plagued seasons, drew attention earlier this week after making comments about his gameplay. He told WJLA-TV:
I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league, and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.
Griffin drew more than his fair share of criticism for the words, and the confidence, but in the grand scheme of things the attitude shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. He’s an NFL quarterback and the work he’s put in this summer has his coaches already singing his praises. Now, it’s just time for him to back up the talk.