Preseason Week 3 – Observations
The Washington Redskins lost to the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 in the third preseason contest of the year for the Redskins (2-1). Here are some observations from the night.
– The Washington Redskins came out Saturday night looking to play their starters for a full half in what is commonly known as the “dress rehearsal” of preseason, the third game. What they did was show they still need work on the offensive side of the ball. The offense only managed five total yards of passing in the first half, which is unacceptable by any standard. Robert Griffin III did not have a good third preseason game going 5 of 8 for 20 yards, an interception and was sacked three times. The offense has not scored a touchdown with the first team on the field this preseason. It should also be said that Baltimore’s defense is no pushover, the Redskins offense had no success on first and second downs, having to go against a strong defense like that on third and long situations is not a favorable situation to be in for anybody.
Keep in mind NFL coaches, including Jay Gruden, keep the playcalling rather bland or “vanilla” in the preseason in an attempt to not let facts out about their offensive gameplan. Some may remember the Shanahan’s did that in 2012 and unveiled the read-option week one against the Saints.
Now I’m not saying Griffin doesn’t need to improve, because it’s obvious he needs work after this game but it’s kind of silly/premature to think Kirk Cousins will be the starter of the Washington Redskins at any point this year, barring injury. Griffin is the present and future at quarterback for the Redskins no matter if the backup has looked better in preseason against 2nd and 3rd stringers or not. The team is committed to RG3 as the long-term starter and is convinced he can deliver in the regular season. The rumors of a quarterback controversy are just that…rumors. Griffin need to do what his coach suggested after the game, “he’s got to move on” said Gruden.
– The Redskins defense stopped the Ravens on 4th and short twice early on in the game and showed once again that their unit has progressed this off-season. Jarvis Jenkins had Joe Flacco for a sack at one point but didn’t wrap up to complete the play. Kerrigan had another sack to add to his impressive preseason campaign this year. Jason Hatcher got in on the sack party as he registered his first sack as a Redskins player.
– Brandon Meriweather had tow questionable hits, one on Ravens running back Bernard Pierce and the other was on receiver Torrie Smith. The hit on Pierce was questionable, but he received no penalty…the hit on Smith drew a flag and probably will get Meriweather a fine from the league.
– Alfred Morris continues to be the mainstay of the Redskins offense. Had this been a regular season game and the passing game was ineffective there is no doubt in my mind that Morris would have carried the load on his own. Being as it is preseason, and it’s not about winning and losing, it’s understandable that Jay Gruden wants his quarterbacks to try to work through issues instead of pounding the rock with Alf.
– One of the best comments I saw before preseason started was by Chris Cooley, who said he expected Kirk Cousins to look better as a pocket passer because that is what he is good at, Griffin, on the other hand, is still learning the art of being a pocket passer, hence having patience while the development continues. It’s a process and vanilla playcalling is not going to make it happen overnight, Robert is going to need live, in-season snaps to be able to improve fully.
– Jordan Reed is going to be a star in this league, it’s just a matter of time. Enough said.
– Keenan Robinson, if he can stay healthy, looks like he will be a great fit at ILB. Robinson was all over the field Saturday night. Looks like he is ready to fill the spot left vacant by London Fletcher.
– Evan Royster looked good again catching passes out of the backfield. Jay Gruden is going to have to make a very hard decision at running back soon. With a stable of backs that includes Morris, Roy Helu, Chris Thompson, Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd that decision will not be easy by any means. I think that decision hinges on who has better pass-protection.
– Rookie tackle Morgan Moses left the game with a knee injury. Reports said he had a sprained MCL, the severity is unknown at this point.
– Veteran Santana Moss caught a touchdown and showed that while he may not be the number one receiver in Washington anymore, he’s far from being unable to produce when on the field.
We’ll have more observations after getting a chance to take a look at the game film more in depth.