Antonio Brown is doing his best to make you forget, but there is real, actual NFL football happening on Sunday, including Redskins-Eagles.
Now, all 46 players who are active for the Burgundy and Gold will have to bring it in Philadelphia in order for Washington to score a major Week 1 upset. Case Keenum, obviously, may be the most crucial, seeing as he's the quarterback and a lot will depend on how he commands an inexperienced offense and whether he turns the ball over.
However, if you look beyond Keenum, a few other members of the Burgundy and Gold must really perform at Lincoln Financial Field. These three in particular will make a huge difference one way or the other.
Jay Gruden told the media Friday he's going to stick with Flowers at left guard for the foreseeable future, even if he struggles early. Well, let's see if those issues begin Sunday against Philly's dangerous D-line.
When Flowers is able to block straight ahead in the run game, he can use his size and engulf opponents. It's when he has to move side-to-side in pass protection where things go really poorly for the 25-year-old who's just a few months in to a transition from tackle to the inside.
Expect the Eagles to test Flowers often and see how he holds up. Donald Penn will do everything he can to help Flowers out, and Gruden will do the same to the best of his ability with his scheme, but ultimately, Flowers will have to survive on his own. If not, the offense will really stall.
Finally, the team and its fans will get to see just how much Collins will be able to transform and elevate the defense. He should have quite an impact, with some of it being very noticeable and some of it being less so.
The things that will stand out will be Collins' tackling ability and assistance in the passing game. The Redskins have run through a ton of safeties lately who have been iffy when it comes to bringing people to the ground, but No. 20 figures to fix that. He also has eight picks and 32 passes defensed in 59 career contests, so he'll affect that area as well.
He should also improve the back end's communication, which may not be as apparent yet may be just as vital. He and Montae Nicholson seem to really be vibing, and if those safeties can connect with Josh Norman and the corners, then they have a great shot at limiting DeSean Jackson and the rest of the host's talented playmakers.
There's a ton of focus surrounding Derrius Guice's debut and Adrian Peterson's role in the backfield. Don't forget about Thompson, though.
As mentioned earlier, the Redskins are rolling out a very raw group of receivers and Jordan Reed's availability is in question. All of that could mean that Thompson sees quite a few targets from Keenum on top of whatever carries he gets, and hopefully he's ready to do a lot with them.
For the first half of 2017, Thompson went from reliable option to explosive playmaker, making splash plays both as a runner and a pass catcher. While there's a lot of hope for what Guice will produce, Thompson would do the unit a lot of good if he's able to gash the Eagles when his number is called.
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