Sunday, August 23, 2009

Initial Thoughts From Pre-Season Game 2

(Ned Dishman photo from Redskins.com)

Rain, Rain Go Away!!!!!
First, I have to admit something. I'm a fair weather preseason fan. With the deluge of rain coming down at FedEx last night, I decided to stay home and scream at the TV. Had this been a regular season game, I would have been there (trust me, I've been through plenty of them through the years the Giants game last year was horrible) instead I was like a pouting kid most of Friday and Saturday.
Redskins Rally Towels Again?
So I guess I missed out on the rally towels for this year. No matter, I have plenty from last year and actually I like the Burgundy Redskins Radio towels from last year better (although they've ruined a few of my white T-shirts when I took them to games when it rained). I find it interesting how personal the Redskins brass took the Pittsburgh game and how they're trying to counter the terrible towels and opposing fan turnout. I guess it's nice that the Skins are giving out things.......but do we really need to become the poor man's Steelers. I want to see the old RFK days of stadium shaking and crowd noise. If anything, bring back the seat cushions to throw.

The Game
Overall we learned some things but not a great deal. The first team offense was able to move the ball well but not able to punch it in. The first team defense is a scary one but still struggles to stop third and long situations. The special teams units struggled, although made a few positive plays. Some players stepped up and a few didn't or dropped off and it's a concern either way.

There were a few units that stood out in the game. First, the starting O-line again looked good. This time we saw what one would expect to be the regular starters this year as Randy Thomas rejoined the fray. He looked fresh and seemed to have no problems blocking on either run or pass. This time the Steelers never sacked Campbell once and even the depth overall played well with limited hits and only 2 sacks overall (mostly during Chase Daniel and Colt Brennan's time). I also liked the improved run blocking to go alone with the pocket they made for Campbell's passing The D-line still caused problems to the opposing offenses, but this time they did a much better job stopping the run. The running backs also had a good game as each of the running backs made an impact on at least one play.

Overall, the Skins fared well against the world champs, but if you really want to go by mostly 1st team comparisons, the Skins lost 10-3. The good news is that they did exactly what you want to see a team do in preseason: improve. Now let's look at some of the players who improved upon last week's performance, who stood out (good and bad) and who's winning the competition to make the team.

Who Improved
Fred Davis- After last week's two fumble performance he comes up with a special teams turnover and on the resulting play after catches a Chase Daniel pass (holds onto it) and scores a TD. It's a good way to get back into the good graces with the coaches.

JT Tryon- Not picked on last night. There were times when he has beaten, but used his speed to catch up and bat balls away. Overall a better showing than last week. Also, made a nice tackle on special teams.

Who Stood Out (Good and Bad)

Good
Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin- All three wreaked havoc in the backfield on multiple occasions. Haynesworth is so far living up to his contract taking on double teams and still penetrating to make plays.

Marko Mitchell- Clinton Portis told everybody to look out for him prior to the game and he showed why. Mitchell looks like he may have a strong shot at winning the 5th WR spot, especially if he can play special teams.

Clinton Portis- 5 carries for 26 yds. and a key block to save Campbell from a sack........does not have to take another snap for the rest of the preseason as far as I'm concerned.

Malcolm Kelly- Looked good and probably will be the #2 WR this season.

Dominique Dorsey- A long shot to make the team but a decent performance as a RB and the best performance as a punt returner

Chase Daniel- The performance was great. At worst the Skins consider him a practice squad possibility. At best, he challenges and beats Brennan for the #3 role.

Chris Wilson and Alex Buzbee- sacks will help keep you on the roster. These guys are still on the bubble and will have to play well to make the team.

Bad
Jason Campbell- 1/7 for 1o yards is not good. Yes, he threw two deep balls that were incomplete and had to throw away a few balls, but the numbers from both preseason games don't lie (4/13; 48 yds) is a serious concern especially when he has time to throw the ball.

Colt Brennan- Had a much better performance this week, but everybody will remember his INT and what Chase Daniel did over any positives. Brennan is clearly not locked up a roster spot and will have to do much better if he doesn't want to be cut.

Jim Zorn- The Skins 1st team drives down and fails to score into the Red Zone again. Maybe Zorn was looking at the run game in short yardage, but I wondered why the Skins didn't try the fade to Kelly or a bubble screen to Moss? The Skins need to find ways to score in the Red Zone and develop some confidence or it will be 2008 all over again.

The Battle For 53

I think this season, there were many battles going into camp. Granted most of them were depth issues but I think many of them have already been resolved. Here's a few:

RT- Stephon Heyer.
This was supposed to be a battle between Heyer, Bridges and Williams. In the end, there never was a competition. Williams has struggled with speed rushers and injury and Bridges has shown to be a better guard and possible back up tackle than a starter. My biggest question now is who is the back up to Samuels and Heyer? Right now I think it will be a player that is currently not on the roster, depth is really bad at tackle right now.

#2 QB- Todd Collins
Many (myself included) felt this would be Brennan's year to become Jason Campbell's backup and possible replacement if he fails. Collins has shown otherwise. So far Collins is 13/20 for 109 yds. and one INT (I put the INT on Devin Thomas personally). He's done everything you want him to and if not for the lack of mobility and limited arm strength, I'd be arguing that maybe Collins should start against the Giants.

Player of the Game: Brian Orakpo


(Photo from Comcast SportsNet)

There is no doubt in my mind that Orakpo has a good shot to be DRotY. He was all over the field last night and teams have already decided that Orakpo is enough of a threat that they'll need to double team him. I expect him to have a great deal of sacks and tackles for loss this season. Man, is this guy a beast.

Next game: vs. Patriots @ FedEx

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