What to watch for: Bengals at Redskins

What to watch for: Bengals at Redskins
September 21, 2012, 3:55 pm
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What:Redskins vs. Bengals
Where:FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
When:Sunday, 1 p.m.
TV:CBSAfter a triumphant opener in New Orleans, the Redskins didnt just stumble in St. Louis last week, they suffered a pair of significant injuries that could hamper them for the rest of the season.On Sunday, the Redskins (1-1) will get their first taste of life without two-time Pro Bowl selectionBrian Orakpoand defensive endAdam Carrikerin their home opener againstAndy Daltonand the Bengals (1-1).The defensive front seven was supposed to be the Redskins strength this season and Orakpo was supposed to lead the charge.Now its a major concern for a unit that yielded 31 points to the previously punchless Rams.The void left by Orakpo is so daunting, in fact, defensive coordinatorJim Haslettsaid he intends to use a trio of unproven reserves Rob Jackson,Chris WilsonandMarkus White in the hopes that three will equal one. None, however, has ever made an NFL start.In addition, the Redskins defense could be without starting cornerbackJosh Wilson(concussion) and strong safetyBrandon Meriweather(knee) against a Bengals offense that features a Pro Bowl quarterback-receiver tandem in Dalton andA.J. Green,plus running backBenJarvis Green-Ellis.Since the start of training camp, Coach Mike Shanahan has touted his teams improved depth.This weekend, well find out how much deeper the pool actually is.Injuries aside, there are a handful of other storylines the crew atwww.csnwashington.comwill be following: Among them:1) One unit that has been consistent for the Redskins thus far has been theRobert Griffin III-led the offense. It has racked up 40 and 28 points in the first two games and Griffin has been the talk of the league.Although the status of wide receiverPierre Garon(sore foot) remains unclear, Griffin could be primed for a big home debut against a Bengals defense that has struggled this far. In the first two games, in fact, Cincinnati that has yielded a total of 434.5 yards (30th) and 35.5 points on average (29th).2) Special teams remain a problem for the Redskins. A season after five field goals were knocked down, punterSav Roccapunts blocked in consecutive games. Both blocks, meantime, led directly to pivotal touchdowns for the opponent.This week, Shanahan professed confidence in special teams CoachDanny Smith, pointing out that players not scheme were to blame for both miscues. Either way, the unit must get turned around. And quick.3) How much will Griffin run the ball? Eyebrows were raised last week when the dual-threat rookie carried the ball 11 times for 82 yards totals that ranked just five and seven, respectively, behind running backAlfred Morris.Griffins ability to run for first downs, extend plays and make something out of nothing with his legs is a huge bonus for the Redskins. It could, however, prove to be an even greater risk.Although Griffin said hes well versed in how to avoid taking punishing hits, it should be pointed out that at least one last week appeared to stun him. On a 15-yard keeper up the middle in the second quarter, Griffin took a shot to the back of his helmet. One play later, he tossed arguably the worst pass of his fledgling NFL career, an off-balance, off-target throw that ended up in the hands of cornerbackCortland Finnegan.