Redskins vs. Steelers: Observations From Preseason Week 2
The Redskins won their second preseason contest of the season, however, it came with a cost. Kirk Cousins, the team’s insurance policy for RG3, went down early with a foot injury that will likely end his preseason. It was a sloppy game with seven overall turnovers including a sequence of three giveaways in five plays, and 15 penalties between the two teams.
– Ryan Kerrigan played like a man possessed. He had a forced fumble, tipped a pass that turned into an interception that he returned for a touchdown, and a sack. Kerrigan continues to impress this preseason, I think this could be a huge year for Ryan, the thought of him lining up with his hand in the dirt is one that makes me happy and should make offensive lineman and quarterbacks afraid. Kerrigan said, “Hopefully I didn’t waste a pick-six in the preseason, but it felt good to get in the end zone. We didn’t force any turnovers in the first game, so to get a couple of them out there, it felt good. Hopefully, more to come, both this week against Buffalo and then in the regular season.”
– Kirk Cousins was 2/3 for 19 yards, but he went out early with a foot injury after being tackled by Lawrence Timmons. Cousins’ x-ray came back negative, it’s a mid-foot sprain. The bad thing about foot sprains is they tend to linger around for awhile….this will likely end Kirk’s preseason. Shanny said in reference to Cousins’ injury, “Sure, he’ll have an MRI tomorrow, but at least it was a good sign with the doctors today.”
– Robert Griffin III practiced before the game in front of Dr. James Andrews (the surgeon who operated on his leg in January). Griffin looked impressive and sprinted at full speed at one point, which brought a huge smile to Dr. Andrews face. Word has it that Andrews examined Griffin and met with him and Coach Shanahan before the game although Andrews says he won’t make any decision about RG3 until after preseason.
– Rex Grossman was Rex Grossman once again…good Rex and then some bad Rex. His overall numbers on the night 10/16 for 133 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. With the injury to Cousins Rex will now be the starting quarterback for the rest of preseason while Griffin and Cousins recover.
– Bacarri Rambo still has a long way to go as it pertains to catching up to the game speed of the NFL. Time and time again Rambo missed on open field tackles (as he did in the Titans game as well). He did, however, force a fumble. If Rambo is going to be the starting free safety come week one he has to improve his rush stopping skills and fast.
– Barry Cofield (fractured bone), Leonard Hankerson (bruised knee), Aldrick Robinson (bruised thigh), Chris Thompson and Keiland Williams all sustained injuries along with Cousins…more will be known soon. Cofield had this to say about his injury, “I’m not really sure what happened… I was trying to tackle [Ben] Roethlisberger. I keep my fingers taped up, so I’m not really positive how it happened. I don’t know if it hit the ground, or got stepped on, or a helmet [hit it]. I was telling the guys that I broke the same bone in my other hand in eighth grade and came back and played great in middle school football. So I’m not too worried about it, and I think I should bounce back with a little tape and TLC.”
Shanahan spoke briefly about the injuries saying, “I don’t think it’s too bad. I think Aldrick was a little thigh bruise, and Hank, it was just a strain. He[Hankerson] said he felt pretty good after the game, according to the trainers, but you never know for sure. Twenty-four hours, 48 hours, it can change, just like it did with [Phillip] Thomas so you never really do know, but I’m just giving you an idea of what they told me.”
– Leonard Hankerson flashed his ability with his touchdown catch, a one-handed grab, moments after dropping a pass he had no business dropping. Hank spoke about what he was doing to improve this year, “I’m just taking it one game at a time, one day at a time and one practice at a time. I’m just going out there and just trying to get better each and every day, and just doing the little things. Whatever it takes. Running routes before practice, after practice, catching footballs and stuff like that. Just trying to make it day by day and trying to get better.”
– Chris Thompson and Keiland Williams each fumbled once and Pat White and Grossman each had an interception for a total of 4 turnovers on the night. Four turnovers are unacceptable even in preseason, the plus-loss turnover ratio is one of the main things that played into the Redskins seven-game winning streak last year, and the Redskins must control that category this season to be successful. Thompson and Williams are both players who are on the bubble as far as making the 53 man roster, and nights like tonight are not going to help make their case for a roster spot.
– The Redskins pass rush was hitting on every cylinder against the Steelers, registering four sacks and three tackles for loss. Bryan Kehl had 1.5, Kerrigan had one, Kedric Gholston, Phillip Merling and Cofield each had a 1/2 sack apiece. Barry Cofield spoke about the defense saying, “Yeah, I mean, it’s a work in progress. We still gave up a couple runs today that we shouldn’t have – just people not fitting correctly, and a lot of times that happens when the playbook is more open in the preseason. You’re not zeroing in with a game plan, and you’ve got a lot of guys playing in different spots and coming in and out; there’s a lot of excuses, but we’ve got to tighten up our run defense, and if we continue to pressure the quarterback, I think we’ll be happy.”
– Roy Helu had one carry on the night for thirty yards and a touchdown late in the fourth as he continues to look strong in his return from injury.
– The Redskins had seven penalties for 72 yards, clearly, this is an area of concern and needs to be worked on as well. Mike Shanahan addressed the situation by saying, “Well, that’s what you have to do; you can’t beat yourself, and you’ve got to take a look at the personal fouls. You’ve got to eliminate them. And that’s one of the reasons why you have the preseason is to eliminate those silly mistakes. And we’ll emphasize them. We’ll talk about them, and hopefully, next week we won’t have quite as many. But when you’re able to overcome some of those mistakes, that means a lot of people are playing hard and playing together, but like you mentioned, that’s way too many mistakes.”
– Redskins vs. Steelers – Final Score 24-13
The Redskins will host the Buffalo Bills Saturday afternoon on NFL Network, kickoff is at 4:30 eastern time.