Initial Thoughts From Last Night’s Game:
Last night we saw promising rookie DE Jarvis Jenkins grab his knee and we knew it wasn’t a good sign. This morning it was confirmed that he tore his ACL and will miss the season. Jenkins had bee a major bright spot on defense, and leaves a big hole along the line. The Redskins will need to find some depth here, because right now one of their major strengths looks like an average unit.
Hold the line:
Both Grossman and Beck (not to mention Clemens) were under constant pressure last night. While they handled it okay, the line had to do a better job of giving whomever the quarterback is a few more seconds. Trent Williams continues to struggle, and needs to develop into that anchor at LT for this offense to be successful. The rest of the line didn’t fare much better, and there were some missed blitz pickups by the backs and tight ends. Pressure is going to be the downfall of this offense so the Skins have to find a way to minimize it.
Overall the offensive line did okay in run blocking, and that led to a few big plays, but I thought this was an area that needed improvement as well. On more than one run the offensive line completely broke down, and if not for Tim Hightower’s ability to make something out of nothing the Redskins would have been stopped for a loss. The interior of the line really needs to step up here.
What Running back position battle?
We have been hearing all preseason that Tim Hightower is ‘battling’ for the starting job with injured Ryan Torain, but that simply can’t be true. Hightower has torn through every defense the Redskins have faced, caught the ball well, and been a solid pass blocker. I don’t think there is anything more he needs to prove. As for the backup job I don’t know if Torain has much shot of that, as rookie Roy Helu has been very impressive, and looks to complement Hightower perfectly. If anything Torain is fighting for a roster spot right now.
How’d the Beck vs Grossman debate go?
I thought overall both quarterbacks looked good. With Grossman showing more consistency and handling the pressure better and Beck showing more mobility and a bigger arm. Grossman still looks more comfortable in the offense, and led a really nice drive at the end of the first half, but it might not be enough to unseat John Beck. While most of Beck’s damage came against and with 2nd teamers, he mechanically looked very good on that drive. I think right now he has a slight edge, but it is definitely close.
Wide Receivers Stepping Up:
We know who the top receivers will be, and Hankerson showed excellent hands in his single opportunity, but the 5th and 6th (if we keep six) spots have been questioned. Well I don’t think they can be questioned anymore. Terrence Austin has had a great preseason, adjusting to the ball, getting open, running crisp routes and getting yards after the catch. He is showing a ton of promise that really should make him impossible to cut. Rookie Niles Paul hasn’t had the opportunities in the preseason (though has taken advantage of them when he can), but he has looked great in practice which will matter a lot to the coaches. Paul and Austin have also shown themselves as return men, each breaking off a couple nice returns this preseason. To me this is another position battle that is over as barring an injury Washington knows the 6 that they are keeping.
Ryan Kerrigan Coming Into His Own:
I know Kerrigan had two penalties last night, but he overall looked awesome and like the impact player the Redskins need him to be. Not only in blitzing the passer, but he even looked more comfortable in coverage and diagnosing the run. With Orakpo on the other side the Redskins now have two big time pass rushers.
Where is the Coverage?
The Redskins got a fair amount of pressure last night, but their coverage consistently allowed for big plays to come through. DeAngelo Hall particularly struggled despite an interception. The coverage needs to tighten up if the Redskins defense is supposed to stop anyone this year.