Redskins football finally returned last night, and Washington came away victorious with a 22-21 win over the Tennessee Titans in their first preseason action. There were many ups and downs on both sides of the ball, giving reason to be both excited and also concerned. But as with any preseason game, the best form of action may just be acting medium.
We will be running this new segment after each game played this year. The optimistic hope here is that each game there will be more things to love than to hate on.
Here are 5 things I loved and 3 things I hated from the first preseason game:
5 Things I Loved
1. KIRK COUSINS/PAT WHITE – How can anyone deny that either one of these guys had solid performances? Cousins ran the first team — at least what the Redskins put out on the field for the first 2 series — and looked crisp and confident going 6/7 for 52 yards and a TD. Most impressive was a tight window squeeze to Santana Moss on a 3rd down conversion and the TD pass to Fred Davis off a bootleg to his right. The more I see of Cousins the more I’m convinced that Shanahan was a genius for taking him in the 4th round.
In between Cousins and White was a guy I’ll talk about some more later in this segment, for now though…back to Pat White. All training camp I’ve been hearing how unspectacular he has been, weak arm, not in command of the offense, etc. etc. etc. What I saw last night was a pretty confident looking QB who got his players in and out of plays, made smart decisions and led his team to a late 4th quarter come from behind victory. By my account White should have been 7/8 for around 50+ yards and a passer rating of 100+ but because of two perfectly thrown, awfully dropped passes he ended up 5/8 for 31 yards, 33 yards rushing, a 70 passer rating and oh yea, a run for the game winning TD followed up by an impressive 2pt conversion. Yes, I realize that this is the same Pat White who hasn’t played professionally in a couple of years and as Kevin Sheehan of ESPN980 pointed out this morning, did all this against guys who will be working for the USPS in a few weeks…no offense to any of our awesome postal workers, but you can only judge a guy based on what and who he is asked to play against. That being the case, after one game for me = RGIII/Cousins/White.
2. RGIII DRESSED – The Franchise QB is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. The big fuss this morning was over the fact that Robert dressed as though he was one of the guys that was going to play. He was called on to take the coin toss, highlights before the game showed him warming up and guess what, I have no problems with any of it. So what? The guy wanted to dress and join the rest of his teammates. Anybody trying to say Griffin was doing anything other than trying to be part of the team is simply looking for story lines that aren’t there. I could care less if Robert was or wasn’t in uniform but I will tell you this, there will end up being 53 guys on the Redskins roster and to a tee, not a single one of them will have any problems with whether RGIII dressed or didn’t dress for the 1st preseason game or any thereafter, so guess what….you shouldn’t either.
3. RUNNING GAME – Loved the way Helu looked especially considering it’s been a full Haley’s comet cycle since we last saw him. He looked explosive at times and seemed to get stronger as the game went on. I love Helu as a change of pace back to Alfred and think he could be downright nasty in the read option game when Robert is finally back in charge. It is scary to think how many weapons this offense can have with everyone healthy and let’s hope they all can do just that, stay healthy. Morris/Helu Jr./Royster/Williams
4. REDSKINS DEFENSE – Take away the Chris Johnson 58 yard TD run (welcome to the league Bacarri Rambo) that came after an idiotic TD celebration (see below) that provided the Titans with a small field, the Redskins were pretty stout against the Titans offense. For you stats guys that’s 24 rushes for 68 yards the rest of the game. Not too shabby at all. Penalties kept the Skins on the field a couple of times, things that should be corrected in time but overall I loved seeing Kerrigan and Orakpo get to the QB. Rookie CB David Amerson flashed some of the aggressiveness he was known for in college and Washington kept Tennessee to a low 3rd down % (4-12.) Obviously many areas to be improved upon, safety still being a huge concern, but let’s see how the preseason plays out, still a few more games for Rambo to get his feet under him.
5. PISTOL FORMATION – I don’t know what it is but any time the Redskins line up in Pistol I get excited. Maybe it’s because in the back of everyone’s mind it reminds us of the things Robert did last year but just watching how much space it creates and the indecisiveness of the defense when it is run, it’s just fun to watch.
3 Things I Hated
1. EXCESSIVE TOUCHDOWN CELEBRATIONS – What the hell was going through Fred Davis’ mind when he decided to go full out spaz in the endzone after his 3yd catch for a TD in preseason game number 1. It’s not like he ran it in from 50, grabbed it one handed and tip-toe’d in-bounds to win the game, it was the second drive for the team, he was wide open and proceeded to perform one of the ugliest looking celebrations I’ve seen in some time. To Davis’ credit, he somewhat apologized for it, and knows he cannot do it again because it cost his team a penalty and gave the Titans great field position on the next drive (Johnson TD run.)
The other celebration I was somewhat bothered by was the Compton/Cousins hump for joy.
Not nearly as bad as the Davis celebration but come on guys, it’s a TD in a preseason game, put your hands up, pump your fist, hug your teammate….but not this.
2. REX GROSSMAN – What can be said that hasn’t already been said. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and I’m not sure how much of it was actually him, and how much was me watching him. Rex just always looks like he’s getting ready to make a mistake. I don’t like the way he throws off his back foot, I don’t like the way he lobs balls up in the air, I don’t like the way he throws the ball 19 feet above his WR’s heads and I don’t like the way he looks on bootlegs. The Tennessee announcers didn’t like Grossman that much either:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>Damn Titans Network is just killing Rex (deservedly so). "One thing Grossman can still do…take sacks"</p>— BlogSoHardSports (@BlogSoHardSport) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BlogSoHardSport/statuses/365639802923655168″>August 9, 2013</a></blockquote>
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I get all the intangibles that Sexy Rexy brings to the table, and I know we’ve heard RGIII and Cousins both love him but much like that couple you see on the street and say how the hell did that happen….I still wonder when I see him play, how the hell is he still in this league? Multiple Titans drops for INT are the reason I didn’t go harder on him too btw.
3. SPECIAL TEAMS – The kick return coverage looked awful last night and I’ll leave it at that. Forbath has never to my recollection been one to boom the crap out of the ball, and on one instance the Davis penalty hurt the Skins but had it not been for a costly Titans penalty the numbers would have been worse for this unit. I’m a huge fan of Kai and I think the “other guy” is here just to keep a light under Forbath’s rear but the special teams unit has got to improve getting to the ball and making a tackle when it counts otherwise I can hear now how many times we’ll be reminded that Lorenzo Alexander is no longer on the team – and rightfully so.