October 16, 2019

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins preseason finale win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Here are five big takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 24-10 preseason finale win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night and the implications:

  1. The Washington Redskins have had a good preseason avoiding injuries in their first three contests, and they survived the huge scare when Morgan Moses went down with a knee injury last Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens. Unfortunately this week that was not the case as knee injuries were sustained by NT/DE Chris Neild and LILB Akeem Jordan. A source with knowledge backed up Jay Gruden’s belief that it is very likely that Neild has a significant ACL tear of his right knee according to ESPN 980 Radio. This could very easily open the door to a roster spot for Clifton Geathers, massive body that showed agility and power off the ball. Jordan is believed to have a non-major tear to either his MCL or ACL, but is preliminarily not having an end to the season quite yet. ILB is one of the toughest roster spots to project this year where guys will be cut that could produce this year. One huge thing that is helping Will Compton is his ability to play “Mike” & “Jack” positions. Jordan can only play Mike and Adam Hayward only Jack. Thus, the next men up for Washington at these positions are Geathers and Compton who have now possibly secured jobs for the rest of the year.
  2. The next toughest position to project for the Redskins is clearly at the running back position. Since Roy Helu did not receive any playing time it is safe to say that he has secured a roster. Chris Thompson needed a hall of fame performance to even creep back into the mind of Gruden as his durability is in question constantly. Thompson had two bright moments in an otherwise vanilla performance: he had a 25-yard catch and run reception and nearly an amazing touchdown run where he broke two tackles, one in the backfield, to lunge short of the goal line. That subpar performance opened the gates to Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk who both improved their stock quite well, while Evan Royster saw limited playing time in which he did next to nothing. Redd was the workhorse with 79 yards on 14 rushes, while Seastrunk had a more mediocre six rushes for 23 yards. The thing that Seastrunk has had on his resume since the beginning is his speed, which differentiates him from rest and it is tough to cut a guy who can a take screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown as he did in the game.
  3. The battle at wide receiver was more of the usual as Aldrick Robinson and Ryan Grant continued to shine. Robinson managed 75 yards on five receptions off eight targets, while Grant posted a similar 73 yards on five catches on a mere six targets. The things that stands out to coaches is Aldrick’s motivation to run full speed ahead on a perceivable go route to attract both the cornerback and safety, clearing the way for Chris Thompson’s 25-yard reception. On the flip side, Grant runs great routes, has good hands and is focused. Two guys who have done nearly nothing wrong this offseason have given Coach Gruden the easy decision to have quality depth behind an already elite receiving corp.
  4. A topic of speculation comes from the quarterback position as third stringer Colt McCoy played the entire game with most of the second string weapons. McCoy posted great fantasy numbers with 321 yards and two touchdowns, but had two end zone interceptions which dropped his QBR down to 105.7. Numbers that are both appropriate and welcomed for a third stringed quarterback, but not numbers to assure a roster spot on a team that may be looking to keep an extra guy in another area. That begs the question was this McCoy audition to show Gruden that he would be idiotic to cut such an asset? Did backup signal caller Kirk Cousins not play because he is about to be traded to the Rams? Or maybe he should have played to potentially raise his worth even more? All of these are possible explanations, but we will never know the answer. If Cousins is indeed staying with the team for the season, then McCoy is probably not needed.
  5. The preseason is over and now it is time to look forward and start scheming against the Houston Texans. Gruden will have to put some fairy dust on his current starting offensive line to keep Robert Griffin III clean from the dynamic bookends of Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt. As fans we are all anxiously awaiting the start of the 2014 season and cannot wait!

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens

Here are five big takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 23-17 preseason road loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night:

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Washington Redskins Preseason Game 3 Preview: Baltimore Ravens

The Washington Redskins will travel north on I-95 on Saturday to take on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium at 7:30 pm for what figures to be the “dress rehearsal” for the 2014 starters.  Apart from the excitement of seeing every day players into the second half, this preseason matchup should provide even more answers for what the 53 man roster should look like for both teams.

We know about the offense and the development of Robert Griffin III, who gave a mixed performance in the win vs. the Cleveland Browns last week.  But there are several other key factors to keep close tabs on while watching the preseason game that everyone hates the least.

Here are the things to keep your eye on in preseason game 3:

Jason Hatcher: One of the Redskins’ biggest offseason acquisitions, Jason Hatcher, will don the burgundy and gold for the first time this preseason in Saturday’s game.  Hatcher has been sidelined through training camp and the first two preseason games due to arthroscopic surgery he had on his right knee in the offseason.  A dynamic pass rusher, Hatcher brings physicality and also helps to create depth along the Redskins’ 3-4 defensive front, which looks to improve upon a meager 2013 performance.

Hatcher doesn’t figure to play long as the Redskins will most likely limit his snaps, but it will be interesting to see how well he bursts off the line after the snap on that repaired knee.  A solid pass rush is essential, especially when facing Joe Flacco who tends to make poor decisions when he feels pressure.  Chris Baker is the other defensive end and Jarvis Jenkins figures to have some significant playing time this season too.  Hatcher certainly adds to the talent that goes along with these names and Saturday’s contest should be a good measuring stick for how this group is going to look in 2014.

Penalties: The hot-button issue in the NFL this preseason has been penalties, especially those pertaining to defensive holding and illegal contact beyond five yards past the line of scrimmage.  Players, coaches, and fans alike are becoming increasingly frustrated with the amount of “yellow” on the field so far this year, with penalties in preseason games up 44 percent.

But that is the reality of the modern day NFL.  The NFL makes its money off of high flying offenses and the players that feature them, so it appears the league will continue to make it tougher for defenders to actually defend. At any rate, defenses must adjust or be doomed to suffer.

Sure, the referees could be just setting a precedent and could back off once the regular season begins, but the Redskins need to start making these adjustments now while they have live game action available to them.  Last week against the Cleveland Browns, the Redskins committed 11 penalties for 100 yards, so this has definitely got to be an area that Jay Gruden will look to improve upon this week.

Third Running Back: Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr. are going to make this team.  That is a given.  So who will be the third guy?  This has been one of the biggest questions since the preseason began and both Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd impressed against the New England Patriots.  In the Browns game, it was a mixed bag for the offense as a whole, although Seastrunk certainly didn’t do anything to increase doubt in his abilities.

Chris Thompson is a dynamic and gifted running back and Evan Royster seems to have never gotten a true chance to showcase his true talents since being drafted by the team in 2011.  However, these two seem like the odd men out at this point.  Lache Seastrunk is speedy, shifty and Jay Gruden spent a draft pick on him.  It’s hard to fathom that Seastrunk or Redd would make it to the practice squad before another team picks them up, which leaves Washington’s coach with a difficult decision indeed.

Battle of the Beltway!: The Redskins and Ravens (maybe even more-so on the part of Baltimore) have tried since Baltimore re-acquired an NFL franchise to make this matchup a regional rivalry.  The thing is, it may be developing into one.  The last time these teams faced each other was in the 2012 regular season, where Robert Griffin III’s knee was originally injured, arguably setting into motion the events that led to the Seahawks playoff game disaster and the eventual debilitation of Mike Shanahan and Griffin’s relationship.  However, the Redskins won that game in dramatic fashion, and even though the Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl that year, it was still a tough pill for them to swallow.

This may never be a huge rivalry, but there certainly is animosity developing between the fan bases of these two teams.  Some fans of the Baltimore Colts adopted the Redskins once Irsay moved the team in the middle of the night, but then quickly bolted back to Baltimore once the Cleveland Browns made the move in the late 90’s.

Redskins fans hold animosity there and it’s clear that while the Ravens control most of Maryland, anything below College Park, into DC, and well into Virginia and North Carolina is Redskins country, which seems to irk even Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. It will be interesting to see just how many Redskins fans make the trip north for this preseason matchup, and just how electric the atmosphere will be for an otherwise less than desirable exhibition before the real action starts in September.

Washington Redskins Game 13 Review: With RGIII Hurt, Cousins Rallies Redskins to 31-28 Win over Ravens

Thanks in part to the Washington Redskins’ (7-6) lackluster pass rush and a costly fumble by Alfred Morris, the Baltimore Ravens (9-4) nearly had today’s win against their Beltway rivals in the bag.

With the Ravens leading 28-20 late into the fourth quarter, the last thing the Redskins needed to see was Robert Griffin III keeled over on the field wincing in pain.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what 81,178 at FedEx Field witnessed Sunday afternoon after Griffin’s 13-yard scramble on second and 19 with less than five minutes left in regulation. Griffin came off the field with what the Redskins public relations staff later announced as a sprained right knee, only to return one play later before leaving the game for good.

Griffin had his work cut out for him against Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Neither team’s defense put forth an extraordinary effort in the first half, but the Redskins’ pass rush was virtually nonexistent. It didn’t help matters any that the Redskins committed eight penalties on the day – including two encroachment calls that led to a Ravens touchdown.

The Redskins wasted no time against the Ravens’ defense. The Burgundy and Gold drove for 71 yards over 10 plays on the opening drive, which culminated in a four-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan.

However, Ray Rice was an absolute menace. On the second play of the Ravens’ possession, he scrambled down the left side for 46 yards before Madieu Williams and DeAngelo Hall finally caught him. On his next possession, he ran for another 12 yards and, with no pressure from the Redskins’ pass rush, Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin for the tying touchdown.

Rookie Alfred Morris – who rushed for 122 yards over 23 carries – provided the momentum the Redskins needed with a 48-yard run on their next possession. Leonard Hankerson caught one for 29 yards before Griffin turned to Morris once again for the go-ahead touchdown to make it 14-7.

While the Ravens sorted out their defensive woes in the second quarter, however, the Redskins did not.

On the Ravens’ first possession, Lorenzo Alexander managed a neutral zone infraction, and on third and 1 from Washington’s 36-yard line, Jarvis Jenkins provided the Ravens with the perfect setup on an ill-timed encroachment penalty to give them a first down.

On the next snap, Flacco found Boldin for a 31-yard touchdown pass to tie the game once again.

The Redskins lost their opportunity to answer with a touchdown of their own once Morris managed a sloppy fumble, which Paul Kruger scooped up at Washington’s 23-yard line.

Flacco managed a fumble of his own on the next drive, but Bernard Pierce recovered it in time to set up Flacco’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta for the 21-14 lead.

It was clear at the onset of the second half that the Redskins adjusted their defensive strategy.

They finally learned to slow down Rice and they put pressure on Flacco, who showed little awareness in the pocket.

From Baltimore’s 46-yard line, Rob Jackson sacked Flacco and forced the fumble, which he scooped up to put Washington in position to strike first.

The Ravens defense forced Washington to settle for a field goal, but Kai Forbath continued his perfect streak – this time, with a 48-yarder to bring the Redskins back within four points. Forbath later centered another field goal – from 49 yards – to further trim the Ravens’ lead to just 21-20.

Both teams remained on high alert on defense throughout the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for Washington, Rice figured out how to break through the Redskins’ front line. With just over five minutes left in regulation, he carried the ball into the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown to give Baltimore an eight-point cushion.

Griffin went down in pain on a nasty hit from Haloti Ngata on the Redskins’ next possession. Griffin appeared to indicate from the sideline that he would sit out just one play – and that’s exactly what he did. However, he was clearly limping on his return and, after he managed an intentional grounding penalty, his adrenaline wore too thin and the pain became too much to bear.

Enter Kirk Cousins.

With the game on the line, Cousins tossed to Hankerson for 15 yards and astonished Redskins fans with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon on third down with just 29 seconds left in regulation. Cousins then ran the qurterback draw for the two-point conversion to tie it 28-28.

Flacco took a knee to send it to overtime but Ryan Kerrigan managed a huge stop on Rice, and Alexander and Hall pulled through in time to shut down Flacco’s run.

The Redskins turned to none other than Kai Forbath, who centered a 34-yard field goal to give the Redskins their fourth straight win. Forbath is now 14-14 on the year and his career, and is 8-8 from 40+ yards.

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