|(Let the McNabb era officially begin. Photo by Walking Deadman)|
It was a perfect night to be a Redskins fan. FedEx was surprisingly not packed despite a new era starting. The traffic was good getting to FedEx despite it being a Friday night and everybody heading out of town. Even the weather was perfect in a month that has had heat indexes over 100 degrees. Oh yeah, the Redskins routed the Bills 42-17 in their pre-season opener. The game itself didn't start out well. Devin Thomas muffed a kickoff (but recovered by Byron Westbrook) and the offense eventually punted after getting one first down. The defense didn't fare much better as the team gave up a few passes and runs that gave the Bills an opportunity to kick a FG.
After that, it was pretty much dominance by the Burgundy and Gold. Donovan McNabb led the team down the field with some nice passes and runs by Roydell Williams and Chris Cooley. The drive was capped off with a TD pass to Anthony Armstrong. The first team defense was not to be outdone. The next series for the Bills Trent Edwards is picked off by DeAngelo Hall. The offense (now mixed with starters and 2nd team players) take the short field to their advantage and score on a TD run by Keiland Williams. There wasn't much left of the Bills after this. Fred Davis made a nice play with his feet to score on a Rex Grossman pass. The Skins tended to beat the Bills on almost every level and with every unit. Special teams became much more interesting with the punt returns of Brandon Banks and Terrence Austin. Banks took off and ran for a 77 yard TD. Devin Thomas recovered from early struggles to smoke the Bills secondary for a 44 yard catch and run TD from Rex Grossman.
The Bills tried to rally late in the third thanks to some good runs by Chad Simpson and Joique Bell that led to two Buffalo touchdowns. But it was way too little, way too late and the Redskins finished the game with one more TD drive thanks to a nice run by Keiland Williams.
Ok, time for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The GoodThere was a lot of good I saw and if I missed somebody, I apologize. That said, here's some things that stood out:
- No injuries to the Skins. minimal/minor injuries for the Bills. Glad to hear that news.
- Donovan McNabb (5/8, 58yds., 1 TD). Looked like he hasn't lost anything. The training camp concerns should be considered moot. I love to watch McNabb slide and move to get away from the rush. That really annoyed me when he was an Eagle.
- Chris Cooley (3 catches, 33yds.). Missing a large chunk of last year because of injury hasn't seemed to affect his play. It looks like we'll be hearing/seeing a lot of McNabb to Cooley this season.
- Roydell Williams (1 catch, 21yds; 1 fumble recovery on STs). Williams' catch and run opened up the game for the Skins. He later made a nice fumble recovery on a muffed punt by the Bills.
- Brandon Banks (4 PRs, 24.0yds/avg, 77yd long, 1 TD). Ladies and gentlemen I think the Skins have a punt returner.
It's nice to see a player return a punt, take it up field and not dance and fall down. He did have one muffed punt and that is something he'll have to improve upon.
- Trent Williams. This guy looks pretty damn good. Pass blocking and run blocking looked solid. Could he improve and get better? You bet. But I really like what I'm seeing so far and I think having Chris Samuels there to mentor him has helped.
- O-line. Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman were barely touched during their snaps. The starters looked good. I was also impressed by backups Edwin Williams (LG), Kory Lichtensteiger (C) and Chad Rinehart (RG). Stephon Heyer also had a good game. I thought the pass pro. was better for the 1st stringers than the run blocking.
- Anthony Armstrong (2 catches, 9 yds., 1 TD). Caught McNabb's first TD pass as a Redskin and made a nice effort to get into the end zone. Also made another nice catch by Rex Grossman. What stood out was is run blocking on a few plays.
- Keiland Williams (11 carries, 51 yds, 12yd long, 2 TDs; 1 catch, 7 yds). Really stood out tonight and is making the coaches make a tough decision about keeping him. Also had another nice catch and run that was called back on a penalty.
- Ryan Torain (17 carries, 62 yds, 15yd long; 1 catch, 22yds). Another RB that's making a case to win a roster spot.
- London Fletcher (3 tackles). Looks like he has full command of the 3-4 scheme.
-Perry Riley (2 tackles). Made a notable hit on one of the Bills' QB while he was throwing the ball (cause the ball to be way short of the target). Looks like he'll be a playmaker for the Skins. Missed one tackle that led to a Bills 1st down; will have to work on that.
- Darrel Young. I wonder if the Skins can find room for this guy? Made some great blocks and looks like he could be a very nice addition to the team as a FB.
- Turnovers. 3 turnovers (2 INT, 1 fumble recovery). It is notable that the Skins are making efforts to generate turnovers.....and so far it's working.
- Justin Tryon. Looked good last night. Made some tackles and deflected a pass. Is still in the mix for a roster spot in my opinion.
- TDs. The Redskins got into the Red Zone and scored, and scored and scored. It's nice to see that because there have been so many seasons of Redskins football where the team stalls as soon as they get into the Red Zone.
- Graham Gano. Every single kick went into the end zone except one if memory serves correctly. Pretty impressive.
The Bad- Tackling. The team looked a little rusty out there in tackling (except London Fletcher). Not a major concern, but something to keep an eye on.
- Kickoff coverage. It seemed like the team struggled to make plays on kickoffs. It looks like the returner has been stopped and then he goes and gets another 10-15 yards,
- Run Defense. At times it looked good. At times, there were gaping holes.
- Andre Carter's containment. Lost some containment on a few plays and it led to a few decent runs and a completed pass. Not a crisis, but a concern.
- William Robinson. Struggled a bit against Aaron Maybin in the 3rd/4th quarter. It happens, but it was the only times I saw a Redskins QB get hit/sacked often.
-John Beck. Struggled tonight (2/7, 27yds.). But I think the Skins will chalk it up to a learning experience.
|(Another IIWII photo- Skins head to halftime)|
|(The view from 108)|
- Chants (Dallas Sucks!!! Hey, You Suck!). Yes, if you were watching from home, you probably heard the return of the "Hey, You Suck!" chant (to Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll part 2). It's way to early for that, save it for Dallas not a struggling Bills' team in the pre-season. Speaking of Dallas, a few Cowboy fans decided to show up last night. One Cowboy fans must of started something in the lower bowl (Redskins side around the 40) as two sections stood up and started chanting Dallas Sucks!!! You may have heard that last night around the 3rd quarter and as the great Paul Harvey says "And now you know the rest of the story".
-The Crowd. FedEx was pretty empty last night. I would argue it was about 50-60% full. It didn't matter. The people who were there were excited and into the game.
- The Bills are afraid of Albert Haynesworth. The big man enters the game and the first thing they do is false start. Then a play later, the Bills have to call timeout. If I had to block Haynesworth, I'd be afraid as well.
-I think that this team may have the best depth in many positions than they have had in years. Kudos to Mike Shanahan for that. Competition makes everybody better.
-This was a nice first game. But just remember that this is a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens will be a much better challenge for the Skins.
Next Week: The Ravens come to town, SHD shows his true colors and I'm sure Ray Lewis will tackle somebody and dance.