Sunday, August 29, 2010

Game Recap: Redskins vs. Jets (Pre-Season)

We're pretty much done with the pre-season as the Skins had their final dress rehearsal against the NY (NJ) Jets. Sure, there will be the final game against the Cardinals on Thursday. But it was week three where we saw most of the starters get snaps long into the third quarter. This was going to be a very challenging test for the Redskins as they were facing a potential Super Bowl candidate and doing so with out starting QB Donovan McNabb, FB Mike Sellers and FS Kareem Moore (also Clinton Portis was to have limited playing time to see what Willie Parker could do). Rex Ryan had said on Hard Knocks that the Jets at their best could beat any team playing at their best in the NFL.

.....One has to assume then, that the Jets didn't play their best then, not even close.

The Jets started out well. Despite a nice pass to Santana Moss by Rex Grossman, the Skins run game was non-existent and eventually they had to punt. On the ensuing drive, Sanchez made a few nice passes and both Shonn Green and Ladainian Tomlinson ran well. Despite a sack from Adam Carriker that helped kill the drive, the Jets took an early lead with a Nick Folk 45 yard FG. The Skins tied the Jets with a 27 yard Graham Gano FG on the next drive thanks to a nice catch and run by Santana Moss and a roughing penalty on Bart Scott.

Not much happened again until the middle of the second quarter. The Jets recovered a fumble by Brandon Banks and it looked liked at least the Jets were going to get another FG. But you have to remember that this is the Jim Haslett Redskins and no longer the Greg Blache Redskins. This team likes to generate pressure and turnovers. They did it again, thanks to a DeAngelo Hall interception of Mark Sanchez. This led to another Graham Gano FG. 6-3 Redskins.

Prior to the half, the Skins were backed up deep in their territory and on a snap in shotgun formation Rex Grossman bobbled the snap. To prevent the Jets getting a TD by recovering the fumble, Grossman kicked the ball out of the end zone. 6-5 Redskins at the half.

The Jets continued to keep in their starters for most of the third quarter (and the offense through the beginning of the 4th quarter) but the Redskins had seen enough and started to use their second and third string players. They did not disappoint against the Jets starters. John Beck entered the game and moved the ball down the field with passes to Austin and Williams. This led to another FG. 9-5 Redskins. The Jets scored their lone touchdown early in the 4th quarter. This against the Redskins 2nd and 3rd string defense (with Albert Haynesworth being the only exception). Late in the fourth, the Skins finally got into the endzone thanks to a screen pass from Richard Bartel to Larry Johnson. Final score Skins 16, Jets 11.

A lot of things to look at with this game (this is why it has taken me so long to finish this post) so let's start with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

- Rex Grossman (8/16, 111yards). Looked sharp tonight. His numbers could actually be better if it wasn't for a dropped pass by Santana Moss on a deep ball that was thrown perfectly as Moss has split coverage and had a chance to make a big play (and possibly a TD). A couple of passes were off target (sometimes b/c of pressure) but overall looked like a starter out there. Nice to know that Grossman can come off the bench a perform if McNabb gets hurt (let's face it there's a good chance that McNabb will not play all 16 games this season).

- Anthony Armstrong (1 catch, 10 yards; 3 Tackles). It's weird that the box score doesn't list Armstrong with any tackles, but it's clear he made at least 2 solo tackles and I believe he helped on a third. Made one nice catch. A quiet game for Armstrong, but the fact he can play special teams again helps lock up a roster spot.

- Santana Moss (2 catches, 42 yards). Looks like the Skins are going to find ways to get him involved more often in this offense. Moss is looking like he's playing up to his 2005 form.

- Joey Galloway (3 catches, 29 yards). Fans and media have been wondering why the Redskins haven't been using Galloway in the pre-season. Some have said that they have concerns about Galloway's age and that he can only run the deep route. This game was a start to show people that those thoughts are wrong.

- Terrence Austin (3 catches, 34 yards). Austin has put himself back in contention to make the 53 man roster. His speed as both a WR and PR/KR could help the Redskins a great deal.

-Larry Johnson (9 carries, 42 yards; 1 catch, 15yds, 1TD). Johnson looked better this time around and also did a better job a pass protecting.

- Pass Blocking. Two sacks given up. 1 by the 2nd/3rd stringers. There was very little pressure on the QBs throughout most of the game. The O-line only struggled occasionally on the overload blitzes that the Ravens and Jets send on occasion.

- Albert Haynesworth (1 tackle). Don't let the stats. fool you. The Redskins are a much better defense when he's in there. He was quite a "headache" (that pun will be used for awhile) to the Jets O-line especially when teamed up next to Brian Orakpo.

- Pass Defense. Lots of pressure on Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell. 4 sacks, an INT and a forced fumble. Not too shabby.

- Generating Turnovers. 4 Turnovers. The Skins caused 4 forced fumbles (1 staying with the Jets) and the DeAngelo Hall interception. If the Skins do this, they win most of their games.

The Bad

- Willie Parker (8 carries, 16 yards). Not all of this is on Parker. The Jets are one of the better run defenses in the league and it showed. Casey Rabach got blown up by Kris Jenkins a few times and the other blockers struggled as well. Parker also picked up a few blitzing linebackers in pass protection. The problem is that Parker just doesn't look like he has any speed left. No burst or very limited. He did get a carry for 8 yards, but I still don't know if he can add anything that improves upon what Portis and Johnson already bring to the table.

- Brandon Banks. You can't fumble punt returns. Yes, it happens and I would rather see it in a pre-season game then the regular season. But, Banks has to do a better job protecting the ball in close spaces. He also was called for a blatant pussh off that cost the Skins 10 yards. Not all was bad however. He made 2 catches for 35 yards (one on a 3rd and long that got the Skins a big 1st down).

- Run Offense. Nobody had that great of a game. The blocking was up and down and the Skins will have to do a better job making blocks and being in synch. It was easy to see Dockery, Rabach, Williams, Young and Brown miss guys or not seal off their player, thus leading him right to the ball carrier.

- Run Defense. The Jets also have one of the better O-lines and run games in the league, but there is no excuse to have both Tomlinson and Green run all over you like that. On the big run by LT, both McIntosh and Kemoeatu were blocked off opening a gaping hole. This has to be the biggest area of concern for the team as the Redskins struggled in all three games with stopping the run.

The Ugly

- The Jets team captains were none other than Ex-Redskins Mark Brunell, Laveranues Coles and Jason Taylor. Sounds like a classic Rex Ryan move poking fun at an opponent. Too bad for him than none of these guys were on Mike Shanahan's Redskins roster. Also, none of those Jets did much in this game.

- If haven't heard, there's nothing wrong with Devin Thomas. The Skins just decided not to use him as a WR this week. He'll get his chance next week according to The Post.

- Clinton Portis tweaked his ankle in the game. More than likely I'd guess Portis, McNabb and Sellers will be out next week.

- As far as I'm concerned there are only three players that are locks at WR for the 53 man roster: Santana Moss, Joey Galloway and Anthony Armstrong. Devin Thomas will probably make the team as well, but that's not a guarantee. That really leaves two open spots left for the WRs on the roster. Right now Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks, Malcolm Kelly and Roydell Williams seem to be fighting for those spots.

- Don't feel too bad about the loss to the Ravens. The Giants (we'll assume they game planned for this match up) got pounded by the Ravens 24-10 this week. That Giants' TD must have come late as I turned off the Ravens game after the starters went out. Unlike our game with the Ravens, they scored TDs with nice drives down field and not some hokey fake punt. Eli Manning looked out of synch and the Giants look shaky. The only thing going for the G-Men was that their D-line is still pretty stout. I'm guessing the Ravens are that good this year.

- The Cowboys didn't fare well against the Texans either. They looked sloppy and made a bunch of mistakes. Cowboys also couldn't score until well after Romo an the starters were out. Cowboys lose 23-7.

Next Week @ Arizona in the backup's game vs. the Cardinals.

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