Here are some of my initial thoughts and observations after watching the Redskins 2nd preseason game against the Browns last night. Most of the focus will be on the starters with some other notes on the rest of the team.
–Robert Griffin III’s performance was filled with both some good and bad that needs to be fixed. On the plus side Griffin was pretty accurate, including a nice deep ball to Andre Roberts that set up a big gain. Griffin also was a threat running the football picking up some yardage on the ground as well. The downside for Griffin was 3-fold. First his interception was a ball that he just has to throw away. You are challenging one of the best corners in the league and you are doing so while you have to rush the throw and can’t step into it, that is the type of thing that is going to cost you the majority of the time. You have to throw that ball away in that situation. The second thing is that with the runs you have to do a better job of protecting yourself. The run on the sideline where he got hit by three guys, could have easily ended badly. Griffin has to do a better job of getting down and when he does he has to learn to slide better. The final concern is the false starts. That head/shoulder movement is something the officials are going to be watching more this year, so if you are going to do a hard count you have to do it without that motion.
–Kirk Cousins didn’t fare much better than Griffin when facing the Browns starters, throwing a bad pick in the 2nd quarter when the ball just sailed on him. Later when Cousins was facing more of the Browns 2nd unit he got in sync and looked much better overall. It’s not the type of performance that will challenge RGIII for the starting job, but it was solid overall (albeit mainly versus the 2nd unit.).
–Alfred Morris‘s fumble was troubling, but I wouldn’t worry too much overall.
–Roy Helu Jr. didn’t have a great game. He missed a key block on a pass that cost the Redskins, and he also dropped an easy reception
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–Evan Royster was the 3rd back in and he had a couple really nice plays, also looked solid as a blocker as well.
-Silas Redd looked good going up against the Browns 2nd and 3rd stringers, he had a couple nice runs and did his job in blitz pick-up as well.
–Lache Seastrunk was again the final RB in the game and only saw action versus the Browns 3rd and 4th teamers. He had a couple solid runs and looked better running between the tackles, but he didn’t do a great job of making people miss. Also it was noticeable that the Redskins pulled him on most passing plays, particularly 3rd down plays. This shows that he’s just not ready to contribute in the passing game if the team won’t even give him reps late in the 4th quarter.
–Jordan Reed again showed he’s a weapon in the passing game. If he stays healthy he can definitely be a very good pass catching TE.
–Niles Paul looked well with the back-ups, making some solid blocks and catching a couple nice passes.
-Ted Bosler continues to struggle as a blocker, he’s going to need to get stronger if he wants to succeed at the NFL level.
–Chris Chester really struggled last night giving up far too much pressure on passing plays and penetration on multiple run plays. It was an ugly game for the veteran guard and if the Redskins had a quality back-up option, Chester’s job could be in jeopardy.
–Shawn Lauvao and Kory Lichtensteiger weren’t much better blocking the Browns first unit defense (which was missing arguably their best defensive lineman), both players missed multiple blocks and contributed to negative plays for the Redskins. Neither could get any push on the Redskins failed 4 plays from the 2 yard line in the 2nd quarter.
-The 2nd unit had issues with C Mike McGlynn, RG Josh LeRibeus and RT Tom Compton, all three players struggled both against the Browns starters and their 2nd unit. Compton especially could be on the roster bubble.
-Rookies Morgan Moses and Spencer Long both had better games this week than last week versus the Patriots. They might not challenge for a starting spot right now, but it was a promising performance for the two of them.
–DeSean Jackson‘s speed is going to be a problem for opposing defenses, particularly if we see officials really tighten up on the defensive holding calls. Jackson ran really nice routes and did a nice job picking up yards after the catch.
–Andre Roberts caught a beautiful deep ball. Not only did he create major separation, but he adjusted well to the ball in the air, hauling it in for a big gain.
–Santana Moss catch and run on the screen with the 2nd unit shows why he’s still well worth a roster spot on this team.
–Ryan Grant continues to impress. His route running and hands are both very good, which allows him to get the most out of just about every snap. Grant might not be a big part of the offense this year, but he could have a bright future in DC.
–Barry Cofield was pretty solid in the middle of that defense making a few really nice plays.
–Ryan Kerrigan had a nice game against the Browns, though his first sack was more on the Browns mistake than anything special he did. Otherwise though his 2nd sack was a really nice rush and he managed some additional pressures as well.
–Brian Orakpo was more quiet this week, but early on he had a couple nice rushes where he tightened the pocket versus All-Pro Joe Thomas. They probably won’t show up as a true pressures, but he still got some nice push. Orakpo seemed to drop into coverage more this week.
-Trent Murphy again didn’t look too great as a pass rusher though he did have one really nice penetration. Murphy fared better against the run, but the Redskins ideally want to see more from him attacking the quarterback.
–Keenan Robinson continues to show some nice potential with how he flows to the ball and makes some plays. He’s not perfect yet, but you can see the talent there.
–Perry Riley didn’t have a great game, he did have one nice blitz that I saw, but otherwise I thought he was slow in his reaction time and he had a penalty.
-Will Compton continues to work with the 2nd team and had a pretty decent showing. He looks like he has one of the back-up spots wrapped up.
–David Amerson had a couple nice plays last night including one in run support where he got off his block and came up to make the hit. It’s tough to judge him in coverage since the Browns passing attack was so anemic last night, but there weren’t any noticeable mistakes off the bat.
-Bashaud Breeland looked really good with the 2nd unit and was all over the field making a number of nice plays. Though E.J. Biggers played ahead of him, Breeland looks well on his way to capturing the 4th corner spot on this team.
–Chase Minnifield also looked pretty good in the game coming up a couple times with nice plays. He’s still fighting for a spot, but this game should have helped him.
–Richard Crawford struggled some in coverage and his star has cooled considerably this year coming off the knee injury. Right now it is tough to see him get a roster spot even if the Redskins were to keep 6 corners.
–Ryan Clark had a nice game from what I saw, he wasn’t fooled at all on one of Manziel’s read option fakes and came up and made a really nice play. He might not be the safety he was 5 years ago, but he still looks to be solid. He flowed to the ball well on a couple of other plays as well.
–Bacarri Rambo got a lot of hype last night, but I’m not sure it’s warranted. His forced fumble had more to do with luck than skill, he launched his body at the ball carrier and he’s just lucky his shoulder hit the ball. His hit later against Travis Benjamin is something that will likely usually draw a personal foul penalty. Though it wasn’t called on the field, coaches are likely going to admonish him for that.
–Akeem Jordan made a really nice tackle on one put, that kind of play will go a long way to help him make the team.
-Both kickers did well, Hocker seemed to have better kick-offs which will help him.
-Yes Rashard Ross had a nice kick return, but remember that was late in the game versus a special teams group that probably isn’t going to be on the final roster this year for the Browns.