Friday, September 2, 2011

Initial Thoughts: Tampa/Redskins Pre-Season Week 4

(It looks empty now but by game time the lower bowl of FedEx was packed)

Obviously, I'll start with the rumors that I heard from a "Redskins source" on the way home last night that was reported by Al Galdi on the Redskins' flagship (and Dan Snyder owned) station ESPN 980. First, was that the Skins were going to keep 7 WRs on the final 53 man roster and the 7th spot was up for grabs between Donte' Stallworth and Brandon Banks. Second, was that Evan Royster heading into the game was more likely to make the 53 and was ahead of Ryan Torain. Third, was that TE/FB Mike Sellers and DE Kedric Golston were seriously on the bubble to make the roster prior to last night. Knowing this after the game made me think back to those players performances and here's my thinking on the subjects.

- If Banks' knee doesn't swell up on Friday or Saturday, he wins the roster spot. If it swells up, he goes IR and Stallworth gets the spot. That would make Terrence Austin the primary KR/PR. The Skins aren't going to cut Banks. He's too exciting and explosive for the Skins to let go even if he just plays special teams. The crowd roared ever time he had a chance to returned and boo furiously when the punter kicked the ball out of bounds.

- Not that surprised about the Torain story. Torain is a great RB when healthy. Problem is that he's the "Glass Joe" of RBs. Not being mean here. Fans know this, the team knows this (why do you think they drafted 2 RBs and traded for Hightower?) and so does Torain. Wonder why you give your starter from last year 17 carries in the 4th and really meaningless final pre-season? To see if he can take the pounding now or cut/IR the player if he gets hurt and keep the younger player that played well in the pre-season.

- Sellers is a given, Darrel Young is the better blocking FB in this scheme (and much younger and cheaper). Golston isn't a true 3-4 DE in my opinion, he's a nice DT in a 4-3 but lacks the girth to be a great 3-4 DE. That said, with Jarvis Jenkins on IR, I was a bit surprised that Golston is on the bubble. Maybe the Skins are looking at the waiver wire for a DE cut from the Pats, Steelers or Packers. I really like Golston as a player. He works hard and was there helping Jenkins and Neild learn the system. It will be interesting to see what the Skins do when cut time approaches.

- John Beck Watch. Not his best game for sure. In fact he looked rather lousy at times. Had a few guys wide open and missed them. Didn't have much help from his starting O-line and most of his top skill position players sat out this one. I still love Beck's bootlegs and he really confuses the defense. This game would have to be considered a set back for him though. Not sure if he's "the guy" but I can see why Mike Shanahan has faith in his abilities.

- Defense. Could the Redskins D again be the biggest strength of this team? With mostly backups (sans Adam Carriker and Josh Wilson) and players that may be cut, the Skins D shut down the Bucs O. Yes, I know the Bucs didn't start any of their starters. That said, when our 2nd string guys are beating and holding Tampa's 2nd string guys.......that's a very good thing.

- O-line Concerns. The O-line again struggled. Maybe they didn't prepare. Maybe they didn't take this game seriously. Either way they looked bad. John Beck got hammered any time he even thought about going deep. Run blocking was up and down. Royster and Torain had to work hard to get yards.

- This will be a fun/surprising cut day on Saturday. Cuts to the 53 man roster must be made by Saturday at 6PM.


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