1. The hype. Robert Griffin III always tries to play down matchups against other quarterbacks; after all, he doesn’t face them. But this one is too tough to just dismiss. Not only is it Johnny Manziel, he’s now playing for the coordinator that Griffin struggled to work with in Washington, Kyle Shanahan. Once the game starts, it’s hard to imagine coaches wanting to do anything other than evaluate their own players. In the end, both teams need to make strides under first-year coaches. But this is a heck of a subplot for a meaningless game. How the Redskins’ defense handles Manziel will be fun to see. Keep him hemmed in the pocket. My guess is that Ryan Kerrigan will rush a lot from the right side with Brian Orakpo on the left (matchup purposes).
2. The pass game. The Redskins need to, and likely will, be a run-oriented team -- a nod to what they have in the ground attack and the inconsistency of the pass game. But Cleveland presents a good opportunity for Griffin and the passing attack. The Browns like to play aggressively and bring pressure, which will give Washington a chance to see how its protection fares. Along with that, it will test Griffin’s pre-snap reads and the ability to make a quick decision. The speed at receiver won’t just be felt on long balls; if handled right it’ll be noticeable on crossing passes or quick hitters against such pressure. It helps that DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both will play Monday after missing the first game.
3. Tackling. Again. This was something to watch last week, and it will be that way for a while. The Redskins’ starters played less than 10 snaps, so while they tackled better, we’re talking for only a fraction of a quarter. The starters will play one quarter Monday night. The Browns will run the outside zone, which, as Redskins fans know, can lead to solid runs courtesy of missed tackles or over-run gaps. The Browns have lousy weapons at receiver, so this game will be about doing a good job versus the run.