The Washington Redskins will play their third preseason game of 2012 on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET against the Indianapolis Colts. The game is being billed as a showdown between two rookie quarterbacks -- No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck of the Colts against No. 2 draft pick Robert Griffin III of the Redskins. But since those guys won't be on the field at the same time, here's what I'll be watching...
Most closely: Tim Hightower. The Redskins' starting running back is seeing his first game action since he tore his ACL last October. Mike Shanahan said Hightower likely wouldn't start, and he doesn't want to overtax him right away. But this begins the process of finding out how much Hightower can help the Redskins early in the season. With Roy Helu and Evan Royster both sitting out due to their injuries, we're likely to see a lot of rookie Alfred Morris and some Tristan Davis at running back, but Hightower is the guy on whom the coaches will have their eye, because they want him back as soon as possible. They consider Hightower the most complete back on the roster, and if his knee will allow it he will be the starter.
On the other side of the ball: The coverages in the secondary. The Redskins have been doing some strange things back there, moving DeAngelo Hall around from the slot corner spot to free safety and all over the place, dropping linebackers into coverage, etc. I think it's because they don't have much quality at cornerback and safety, and their plan is to mix and match coverages as best they can in an effort to disguise their weaknesses. With Brandon Meriweather injured, I'm interested to see if Tanard Jackson can show anything at strong safety, or whether he's strictly in a fight with Madieu Williams for the free safety spot and Reed Doughty is Meriweather's backup. Safety's going to matter, especially if they're planning to use Hall inside and rely on Cedric Griffin to cover outside receivers.
If I think of it: Much as I joke, I'm as interested as anyone else to make a Luck-Griffin comparison. And no one's saying this will offer a definitive one, so we can have some fun with it. This should be Griffin's most extended action of the preseason, if tradition holds. I also have my eye on the offensive line, where Chris Chester returns at right guard but they're still without Kory Lichtensteiger at left guard and of course Jammal Brown at right tackle. I think you should get used to Tyler Polumbus at right tackle.