The Washington Redskins had their preseason home opener Friday night against the New York Jets. These games don’t mean much in the full realm of things, except you want to stay healthy and you want to be able to see what kind of depth you have.
The Redskins lost running back Matt Jones to an AC sprain in his shoulder, it’s unknown as of yet as to the severity of the injury, but Jones left the game. The main question marks surrounding this team involve their running game and their ability to stop the run on defense. The Jets abandoned the running attack along the way, so it’s hard to gauge how well Washington did in that area. Below are some observations/notes from the game.
Redskins vs. Jets
Spencer Long got the start for the second straight game. No Trent Williams, Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Norman, Pierre Garcon, Kirk Cousins, Bashaud Breeland, or Will Compton.
The fumble early on was Colt McCoy’s fault. He didn’t properly place the ball in Matt Jones’ hand before letting go. Jones continues to try to run around the defense on the edge instead of attempting to run through or inside. On one particular run, Jones had the first down after a couple-yard run and opted to cut it outside, where he was met by the defense protecting the edge. If Jones had continued his original path, this gain could have easily turned into a 5+ yard gain. After all, Jones is not a small man; chances are he can run over some of these guys with a full head of steam.
McCoy’s pass to Jamison Crowder on the first drive was cool, calm, and crisp. Crowder, as always, found an open space and got his feet in bounds…this guy looks extremely good thus far this year.
McCoy was 6-6 with 58 yards and had a 7-yard TD pass to Crowder before a pass interference call killed the play. McCoy proceeded to complete another short pass to Crowder following the penalty before rolling right two plays later and tossing up what looked like a ball he meant to throw out-of-bounds…except it landed in Darrell Revis’ hands. McCoy’s first incompletion was an interception. It’s hard to tell what was on Colt’s mind at the time he let go of the ball…after looking at the replay, it looks like maybe he thought he could loop it over Revis into Crowder’s hands. That, of course, was a mistake. McCoy is extremely athletic, and the team could do much worse at backup QB, but that is why Colt isn’t a starter in the NFL. He should have immediately read that defense and seen Revis; throwing the ball out of bounds would have been the smart play. When you’re in the red zone, you have to get points.
Washington’s first defensive possession–> 3 and out. Good crisp coverage…Fitzpatrick looked horrible.
On the punt return fumble by Crowder: He caught the ball, and the Jets defender made an incredible play (also injuring himself) to cause the fumble almost simultaneously following Crowder securing it. Thankfully Quinton Dunbar was there to make the recovery after a huge loss of yardage.
Matt Jones had seven carries for 31 yards before the shoulder injury.
Preseason Week 2 Observations
Vernon Davis made a nice catch 15-20 yards down the field that was negated due to a penalty.
Once Jones was out of the game, the Redskins found themselves relying heavily on Chris Thompson…this is dangerous when you consider Thompson is not a big guy; Leonard Williams bowled over him with ease and sacked McCoy. The team likely saw this and started using Robert Kelley more to block after this.
Tress Way sure does manage to boom at least two HUGE punts every game…he coffin-cornered one inside the three-yard line on his first punt Friday.
David Bruton could have stopped the first play inside the three-yard line for a loss, but Bilal Powell broke his arm tackle and scrambled out for the first down.
On the Kellen Davis (Jets TE) fumble: Martrell Spaight caused the fumble by making an impact hit right on the ball and jarring it out so that DeAngelo Hall could recover it. Spaight looks like a future starter.
Robert Kelley is a different type of back than Jones. He likes to make cuts but appears to like the inside cut over the outside type that Jones appears to be in love with.
On the failed fourth and 1: You have to go for it in the preseason as you can’t duplicate that type of in-game situation in practice. In the end, the team’s inability to gain the one-yard could be attributed to a mixture of things; the Jets are stingy up front, the play-calling was awfully bland, and/or the Redskins don’t have a short-yardage back they can depend on, especially not with Jones on the bench hurt.
Chris Baker was ultra-close to a sack on 3rd and 10…end result? Another 3 and out. Fitzpatrick looked uncomfortable again; the defense was doing their job of keeping him uneasy.
The safety came on a holding call that took place in the end zone by Spencer Long…the play it occurred on was actually a 12-yard play that would have been a first down.
Quinton Dunbar continues to develop…he’s starting to be able to cover and use his long arms to defend any pass, even when the receiver has positioned in his favor. The Jets with QB Geno Smith?? Another 3 and out for the defense.
Houston Bates nearly blocked a punt before the end of the 1st half. The play was another in a long line that pointed towards Bates making the roster for a special teams/backup role.
The Redskins receiver unit is DEEP! Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross are both capable receivers who could start elsewhere, and rookie Maurice Harris also looked good on Friday. Ross looked extremely good on the goal-line fade for the over-the-shoulder TD at the end of the second quarter. On the drive, McCoy was 4-4 for 53 yards and a TD.
Will Blackmon’s interception was more of a bad decision by Geno Smith than a great play by Blackmon…although Blackmon’s ability to read the QB, stay underneath the route, and then hang on to reel in the turnover is a definite plus. The interception came on a pass that should have never been thrown; Smith lost sight of Blackmon somehow.
The second Rashad Ross to Colt McCoy TD in the second quarter was a beauty that Ross made a really good play on to make the catch. His pure speed opened the play up for McCoy to toss it up, then Ross went up and got it despite being pulled back from behind. Ross has all but inked his final spot on the roster; now he’s in the running for the number four spot on the depth chart. Many thought Josh Doctson would hold that spot, but the rookie has yet to get off the PUP list since camp started.
Redskins vs. Jets
Colt McCoy’s stat line: 14-17, 159 Yards, two TDs, and one interception.
— CSN Redskins (@CSNRedskins) August 20, 2016
Kendall Fuller has some cover skills that will allow him to shine in this league once he gets used to the speed of the game. He’s super-talented….on one play, I noticed he almost led a hit with his helmet, which is a no-no. Fuller will only get himself hurt doing tackling in that way.
Poor technique by Kendall Fuller, who leads blindly with his head. That will hurt him more than the receiver. pic.twitter.com/tp2xvrRFwo
— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) August 20, 2016
Fuller still needs work, as proven at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Bryce Petty went up top to Robbie Anderson for a 54-yard pass over Fuller. Fuller also made a nice tackle on third down at the line to kill that same drive and hold NY to a FG.
The fumble between Nate Sudfeld and Robert Kelley was the same type of situation as in the first half with McCoy and Jones….the QB has to make sure the ball is in the RB’s arms before letting go; it’s that simple. Sudfeld threw one pass that should have been intercepted; the defender dropped the ball.
Terrance Garvin is a name that was said time and time again late Friday. Not sure where things will shake out, but Garvin has made the best of the chance given with the third string…perhaps a practice squad guy.
The Redskins were able to close the game out with a one-handed TD grab by rookie receiver Kendal Thompson.