State of The Redskins Heading Into Preseason Week 3
The Washington Redskins have a ton of work to do after their last outing against the Detroit Lions. It’s not all on Robert Griffin III, although he doesn’t exactly help things by not holding onto the ball better in key situations.
On a night that the pass-protection from the first-team offensive line was horrendous, it’s up for debate as to why Jay Gruden left Griffin in the game as long as he did. Gruden told reporters that he was “confident” in the line and quarterback, and didn’t consider not sending Griffin out there for the fourth series.
It was obvious early on that the o-line was facing an uphill battle with Trent Williams out of the lineup. Willie Smith and Shawn Laovoa were horrible, Brandon Scherff got beat a few times, as did Morgan Moses. In the end, Griffin dropped back eight times and was hit six, getting sacked three times in the process. That’s a lot of abuse for a preseason game. In all honesty, Griffin should have been pulled after the first series. RGIII left the game with a concussion, after fumbling and then having two 300 plus pound defenders fall on him.
Griffin appeared more set in the pocket against Cleveland, but the pass-protection was so bad against the Lions it’s impossible to grade his overall performance from Thursday night. Mark it up as an incomplete and let’s hope he’s cleared for the Baltimore game. The third preseason game is normally when starters see the most action and what Griffin needs most is playing time. Trent Williams will be back for the Ravens game, so it’s a chance for that unit to bounce back.
With Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul both out for the season with injuries the team has an obvious hole at tight end. If Jordan Reed can emerge and stay healthy, this becomes a pursuit for a blocking tight end. The Redskins are not sold on Reed’s health as of yet, he currently has hamstring issues. That leaves the team with Je’Ron Hamm, Reed, and newly acquired Derek Carrier, who the Redskins traded a fifth-round pick for Friday.
One thing that looks completely great is the Redskins rushing attack. The offensive line was completely in sync with schemes, and the first two weeks of preseason have shown that the team will be a ‘pound the ball on the ground’ type of team. Rookie Matt Jones showed in the Lions game he could be a great asset as a change of pace back. The Redskins did lose Silas Redd to an ACL/MCL injury that required surgery.
The Redskins defensive front seven has played well in both preseason games even without linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan is still making his way back from minor offseason knee surgery and should be seeing playing time in the near future. Junior Galette has yet to make his Redskins debut, but word is the Ravens game could be the time for just that.
We haven’t truly seen enough of the secondary yet to make an overall grade, but their play has been improved over last season. The unit has some injury issues with DeAngelo Hall (toe), and Bashaud Breeland (sprained MCL) dinged up.
Specials teams look better, although the unit lost its captain Adam Heyward for the season to an ACL injury. The loss of Paul and Heyward will be felt but will also give some of the rookies and younger guys a chance to show their worth.
Keep in mind it’s only preseason, the play you are seeing from the second and third teamers is against other backups, don’t get sucked into the moment…and don’t prejudge an entire season based on two pointless exhibition games that are designed to aid in the final 53-man roster selection.
Major question marks heading into preseason week three against Baltimore:
- Who plays tight end?
- Has Griffin progressed? Is so, how much?
- How much better is the right side of the line?
- Who will step up on special teams?
- How good is the secondary?
We’ll further address the above topics following the Ravens game on August 29.