Initial Thoughts From Redskins vs Bills Preseason Game
August 25, 2013 in Washington Redskins
1. Front Four Pressure Continues to Excel:
– The Redskins generated a lot of pressure throughout the game with both their starters and back-ups. Bills quarterbacks were frequently uncomfortable in the pocket and were forced to throw the ball under duress, which led to throw aways and off target passes. This was a major area the Redskins needed to improve upon this season, and so far they have done a really nice job ensuring opposing quarterbacks don't have time in the pocket. Once the season starts with hopefully the full unit playing, this could very well be the strength of the defense.
2. Redskins Rushing Attack Looked Great:
-The Redskins ran for 208 yards on 43 carries and averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry. Roy Helu Jr. led the way with 70 yards on 13 carries, and did a lot of his damage against the Bills first team defense. Alfred Morris didn't do much with only 16 yards on 4 carries, but on multiple runs he turned what should have been a loss or no gain, into a positive play. Keiland Williams was perhaps the nicest surprise, as he had 52 yards on 8 carries, including a long of 23. Williams is in a roster battle for the 3rd RB role, and could have edged himself into the favorite role with that game. Rookie Chris Thompson got extensive work with 15 carries, but manged just 44 yards (2.9 ypc) and had a fumble.
3. Rex Grossman Continues to Look Good:
-While Grossman's final numbers dipped a bit, he was pretty sharp in the first half going 8-14 for 144 yards and a TD. While there were a couple "bad Rex" passes in the first half, for the most part he looked really sharp when he was with the first unit. On his first drive Grossman showed nice touch on his sideline pass to Roy Helu. He also did a really nice job on his 31 yard strike to Fred Davis, which helped set up the Redskins first TD. On that touchdown throw Grossman read the defense and saw that the corner covering Garcon was not going to get inside help. Though the play was called a run, Grossman used his pass option for the 7 yard strike. One thing I really liked was on Grossman's 2nd drive when it was 3rd and 7 from the 10 yard line, he threw the ball away after not finding anyone. It meant the Redskins had to settle for a field goal, despite being so close to the end zone, but Grossman made the right call. He didn't force the ball down field to try to pick up the 1st down or TD, and he didn't hold on to the ball to long which could have led to sack and possible fumble. Grossman wisely took the 3 points given that it was early in the game and the Redskins were tied at the time.
4. Pat White had a solid showing:
-I know people want to hype up Pat White, but today he earned a little bit of it. He's had some positive moments in the 1st and 3rd preseason games, but he clearly isn't on the same level as Rex Grossman so there shouldn't be much of a decision for the 3rd quarterback spot. When White is in there it is a simpler game plan, but also a game plan that allows him to use his feet more. His big play of game was his 15 yard run for a TD. That is obviously an element that Grossman/Cousins don't have. White did have a couple really nice passes, including a nice strike down the field to Aldrick Robinson, but he did finish just 7 of 14 on the day. White isn't likely to make the Redskins, but given some of the quarterback situations around the league he could catch on as a 3rd option.
5. Rookie Reports:
-This was easily Amerson's worst preseason game as he struggled some in coverage and against the run. Amerson made two costly penalties that totaled 57 yards, including a 42 yard pass interference penalty. On the play Amerson was beaten by T.J. Graham, and then when Graham had to slow down Amerson didn't even attempt to locate the football and got flagged for it. As bad as that penalty was, the reality is that for many quarterbacks that would have been a TD given how Amerson was beat. Amerson only caught up because Graham had to come back for the underthrown pass. A frontline quarterback would have probably been able to lead the receiver and get the score. Amerson also allowed a little much separation on a couple other routes that he needs to clean up as well. In the last two weeks now Amerson has had some mistakes in coverage down the field and in run support. These are things that he will need to work on if he wants to earn a starting role going forward.
-Reed had a much better all-around game then his debut last Monday night. Reed caught three passes for 31 yards, including a real nice 11 and 18 yard grab. He showed some real potential on how he can be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses. Reed's blocking is still an issue as he got blown up on a couple of plays, but it was probably better as a whole (especially since he was facing more starters) than last week. This is never going to be a strength of Reed's, but he needs to show that he can maintain a baseline.
-Not a great day for Chris Thompson. His chances for making the team got better when CB/PR Richard Crawford went down with an injury and will miss the season. That opens up a roster spot at another position, and someone with some special teams ability could land that spot. A lot of people want to point to Thompson as being that guy, but I'm not sure if he is. Thompson did return one punt for 31 yards, showing nice burst, but it was a short 36 yard kick. While some of this other returns were solid, he's not guy the Redskins should be able to count on after a handful of punt returns (remember he didn't return punts in college). On the ground Thompson didn't do much averaging just 2.9 ypc on 15 carries, in a game where all the other Redskins runners were finding a lot of success. In addition Thompson fumbled for the 2nd time this preseason. Barring an incredible final week of practice and 4th preseason game, it is still a longshot if Thompson makes the team.
-Didn't focus on Jenkins as much as some past games, but he did a great job to stay with the play and still get the sack even after he was on the ground. Another promising game for Jenkins, who looks like he will have a nice role on this team once the season starts.
-Rambo had his best preseason game so far. He looked much better in his tackling and run pursuit, those were big issues the first two games and he definitely did a much better job yesterday. We saw Rambo in coverage some as well, and while he wasn't perfect he showed some nice promise.