Friday, August 29, 2014

Final 53 Man Roster Prediction (FedEx Al)

(Image via

Better late than never I suppose, Figured I would get this in now before final cuts start coming out today.

Final Thoughts on Redskins 2014 PreSeason

(Has Gabe Miller earned himself a roster spot? Photo: Jim Damaske/ Tampa Bay Times)

This is where I'd normally write a The Good The Bad and The Ugly but it's the final game of the preseason and frankly, we're not here to look at stats, wins or scheme.

We're here to see who shined and have a good shot at making the final roster.

So here's some final thoughts on a few of the battles for the final roster spots.

Colt McCoy - What you saw with McCoy has summed up a large portion of his career. McCoy is polished and does a great job running bootlegs and can pick you apart in a West Coast style short passing game. He struggles with some passes and occasionally tries to force passes or makes the occasional mistake/bad pass. That said, he's ideal to be the Redskins backup or #3 QB on the roster and has game experience.

RB Battle - Evan Royster probably is the best RB all around of this group in that he gets the scheme, can play special teams, has experience, can pass catch and pass block. The problem is that he lacks speed, is not a driving pounder of a RB and just doesn't have a special quality.

Silas Redd is a pounder and reminds me a lot of Alfred Morris in his ability to get extra yards after taking a hit. He also has decent pass catching skills.

Lache Seastrunk  is such a raw talent, but man is this kid fast!!!! The Redskins have to give him a roster spot. No way will he clear waivers to be stashed on the practice squad.

Chris Thompson has Seastrunk type speed but more polish and NFL experience. The problem is I don't trust his ability to stay on the field. When I want to give out the nickname "Mr. Glass" to him, that is not a good sign.

All four played hard last night. The Redskins are likely to only keep two of these guys. Right now my vote is for Redd and Seastrunk. My guess is that they'll keep Thompson and Seastrunk and try to stash Redd on the practice squad.

WR Battle - Not a real battle here. Aldrick Robinson and Ryan Grant just solidified their roster spots as the #5 and #6 WRs on the roster. Nick Williams dropped a pass and looked tenative as a punt returner, so I'm guessing practice squad for him again if he still has eligibility.

TE Battle - Ted Bolser is heading to the practice squad. Niles Paul is a better special team player and has shown flashes of pass catching ability. Neither are great blockers especially at FB/H-back.

O-Line Battle - I think the Redskins made the hardest choices already at this spot. Obviously Morgan Moses and Spencer Long are on the final 53. I think Tom Compton and Josh LeRibeus have done enough to make the final 53.

D-Line Battle - I hate to see what happened to Chris Neild because he's a classic "blue-collar" guy that fans root for, that said it gave an opening to Frank Kearse who now may have a chance to make the final 53. Clifton Geathers will probably make the roster because he can actually generate a pass rush and should knock a few passes down because he's so tall.

Kedric Golston is pretty much a default guarantee to make the roster. He plays special teams, is a hard worker and likely the #4 DE behind Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins.

LB Battle - I think the Redskins have to be pretty happy with their LB corps. Gabe Miller wowed with some nice tackles for loss and a sack/fumble on Mike Kafka. With the high ankle sprain and the success of Will Compton and the other ILBs, I think the 'Skins may injury settle with Darryl Sharpton.

CB Battle - I wasn't much of a EJ Biggers fan last year, but he played extremely well this preseason and with his ability to play some safety, he'll be a lock for the final 53.

Chase Minnifield didn't play last night, so I have to think he'll be going to the practice squad or just be outright cut.

Richard Crawford just hasn't regained the speed/agility he had prior to his torn ACL. His punt returns didn't wow either. Not sure if he's practice squad eligible.

S Battle - It's down to Akeem Davis and Trenton Robinson for at least a two game spot on the roster (possibly more if Phillip Thomas has re-injured his repaired foot). Robinson has a little more experience and considered a special teams guy. Both had decent games last night. At this point I'd flip a coin.

Specialists - In the punting battle Tress Way had some amazing punts with some good hang time, but some inconsistency still keeps Robert Malone in the race. Zack Hocker has been the better kickoff kicker but he missed a chip shot 39 yard FG keeping veteran Kai Forbath in the competition.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The GBU: Redskins/Ravens (PreSeason)

(The Pressure Was On The Ravens From The First Snap. Photo: Nick Wass/AP)
So we end the "dress rehearsal" with the Redskins finally losing a preseason game and possibly more questions about RGIII than we had in previous weeks.

There are a lot of good things I'd like to write about here but since everything is about RGIII pro or con, lets just get it out of the way right now. RGIII played like crap on Saturday. I'm not going to sugar coat it. He looked tentative when throwing from the pocket. He hesitated on multiple passes that led to at least two passes nearly being picked off. He threw one pass to a covered Alfred Morris that led to a deflection and the lone interception of the game. His first pass of the game (intercepted but overturned by a pass interference penalty) was a poor choice as DeSean Jackson was double covered. He later lobbed a pass to Jackson that was under thrown and led to a catch going out of bounds.

There were a couple of good passes to Jordan Reed and a check down to Roy Helu that were successful but one was negated on a holding penalty. The O-Line also didn't do Griffin any favors with their pass blocking (more on that below). Nor did Griffin help his team with yardage as he ran out of bounds on a few plays losing yards instead of just throwing away the ball.

The lack of performance and instincts of RGIII has led to some fans and a few tabloid sports journalists (y'know, the ones that like to create stories to get page hits) to try and say that Kirk Cousins should be starting week one. Look, I think Kirk is a good quarterback and he would be one of my top choices if I needed a QB to come off the bench or to play in a game or two. But my problem is that I just don't see Kirk Cousins as the next Kurt Warner.

Cousins had a good night in Baltimore, but he was far from perfect. The truth of the matter is that Griffin needs to be developed into a NFL quarterback and unfortunately the 2014 Redskins are going to have to deal with the growing pains that should have taken place in 2012 or 2013 seasons. Instead, the pocket passing development of Griffin was ignored for a system that worked for immediate success. Mike Shanahan and his staff  failed to address the long term needs of the franchise player for which the organization invested three 1st round picks.

That's really the sad truth. And yes, I still like the Zone Read Option but not at the cost of RGIII's development.

Anyway, the Redskins had more going on in this game than just one player. The defense looked scary (in a good way) and so did the offensive line (but not in a good way). A few players stood out and it's time to highlight their performances with this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thoughts & Observations Of The Redskins Vs Ravens Preseason Game

We all know the game is won in the trenches of the offensive line and defensive line. Unfortunately the Ravens               D-line outworked and played with more intensity then the Redskins O -line and it showed Saturday night.

 Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! It's been a trying couple of days since that ineffective, lackluster and disappointing showing against the Baltimore Ravens. The starting offensive line was very good in run blocking as usual but once again the pass protection was horrid at times during that first half. I understand it was a preseason game but they should have more cohesion and chemistry by now and I didn't see that. Robert Griffin III looked rushed, uncertain, and made some more bad decisions. It's amazing how a lot of media and even a Redskins former quarterback Joe Theismann has chimed in saying the Kirk Cousins should be the starting QB going into week 1. I addressed some of these issues in my last post and don't really wanna go into it again even tho it's all that's been talked about these last few days. But since Mr. Theismann decided to stir the pot by saying that in his opinion Kirk Cousins should be starting based on his performance through preseason so far. Which in my opinion is laughable but since I'm not as seasoned or as knowledgeable as him I will defer to Rich Tandler. His basic answer was how could Kirk Cousin's win a competition if there wasn't one.  I believe Mr.Tandler said it better then I could. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying it was all bad but there was more bad then good. The good to me was the defensive and special teams units. With Jason Hatcher getting his first start in preseason the defense looked more stout then in the previous games. Hatcher recorded his first sack of the preseason on Joe Flacco in the first quarter. The work ethic and strength on that play is what the Redskins was hoping to see and hoping to get during the season. Now let's get to my observations.

The running game looked very effective. Alfred Morris and
Roy Helu Jr. both gashed the defense.

- Offensive line run blocking was impressive at times. Opening up big holes for which ever running back was in the game.

- The pass protection was terrible at times. Chris Chester looked a little slow and was getting pushed back a yard or so seemed like every pass play.

- Santana Moss showing once again that if anyone can challenge Father Time it is him. He still looks fast, quick , and elusive. Kirk threw a nice pass that allowed Santana to keep moving towards the end zone for the touchdown.

- The defensive line looked stout especially with the addition of free agent Jason Hatcher. He recorded his first sack as a Redskin in the first quarter by being relentless.The secondary with solid coverage on the play.

- Jarvis Jenkins looked like he understands he has get more pressure on the quarterback. He had some good pressures and got a QB hit which is always good.

- Ryan Grant is looking like he is going to be a good wide receiver for years to come. I've said it before he's not the fastest or the quickest but he can run routes and knows how to get separation.

- Bashaud Breeland looks like the real deal. Making plays, hitting hard and making his presence felt on defense and special teams. A future cornerback tandem of David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland will be very physical and long duo.

-Kirk Cousins making quick and decisive decisions and hitting receivers in stride all be it against 2nd and 3rd team players. He still occasionally  forces some bad throws and locks on a receiver but you can see the steady improvement.

- Kai Forbath lack of leg strength on kickoffs was the cause of another long return. Not getting enough hang time or distance on his kickoffs once again.

-Phillip Thomas looks healthy, fast, and aggressive. He had no hesitation with sticking his nose in the action and saw no ill effects of the contact. Unfortunately he had to have a MRI on his foot after feeling pain in the same foot that he had the injury last season. This may force Bacarri Rambo into the starting lineup week 1.

Constant pressure will be key to the defenses success in 2014.
- The special teams unit improved again after another week of practice. They gave up one big kickoff return but Andre Roberts had some nice punt returns and looks to be solidifying his punt returner duties for the season.

-Keenan Robinson has earned the starting "Mike" Linebacker beside Perry Riley Jr. He's made the right calls, been in the right place at the right time and has remained healthy.

 One more preseason game to go versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. I would like to see the starters get at least a quarter of work even tho that's most likely not going to happen. I'm not panicked about the starting offense but there should be some concern. The Ravens had faced Jay Gruden's offense the last three season twice a year. They played physical and dominant at times but that comes from having a familiarity with the offense just like last week versus Cleveland. The Redskins knew Kyle Shanahan's offense and the defense showed it last week and Baltimore showed it this week. The defense looked aggressive and strong but with the suspension to Brandon Meriweather and not a true back up set. Hopefully that doesn't upset the chemistry of the unit.
Keenan Robinson making a fourth and 1 stop short of the
first down in the first quarter.

 Be sure to keep an eye out for more Redskins news, information and articles on IIWI. Soon will be adding more local sports to the blog. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news and other local pro sports. You can subscribe to the blog and get emails whenever a new article is posted. Be sure to give my good friend, fellow writer and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns, the weekly (GBU) The Good The Bad The Ugly during the season, game recaps and great articles also. Thanks again for all your support, love and feedback. As always #HTTR   #RedskinsNationIsTheBest

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Initial Thoughts: Redskins/Ravens

(Photo: USA Today via CSNWashington)
It figures that the Redskins would stink it up against the Ravens.

I need to re-watch the entire game to give a fair and full re-cap.

From what I saw though it's pretty fair to say that RGIII did not have a good game yesterday. Neither did the O-Line (still apparently can't pass block).

The defense however, looked quite impressive and if Jason Hatcher can stay healthy (big if based on his injury and his age), then the Redskins may have made a nice free agent pick up.

Keenan Robinson (seen above making a key 4th and 1 tackle) is going to really help this team in pass coverage and tackling. I'll be wearing a London Fletcher jersey for many of the games this year, but Robinson is a significant upgrade to the should be Hall of Famer.

Redskin fans, please take a page from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and heed some advice from me:

The DC Metro area does love itself a quarterback competition and loves to panic when the 'Skins don't play well.

Just think about this: We thought the Redskins looked pretty good at 4-0 last year in the preseason and the team went 3-13.

There is cause for concern with the 1st team since they haven't been able to score a TD during the preseason but I'm not entirely sure that's Jay Gruden's plan. It's clear he's been testing the team with power runs and certain plays to study the team's weaknesses.

The bad news is that the team can't do certain things. The good news is that I don't think we've seen anything yet of what this team actually can do well.

There should be a new GBU up tonight but that really depends on my schedule.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The GBU: RGIII vs. Cleveland Browns

(GET OUT OF BOUNDS OR SLIDE!!!!!! Photo:AP/Evan Vucci)

I think ever since RGIII suffered a concussion early in his rookie season (vs. Falcons -2012) the fan base has held their collective breaths every time Griffin takes a hit, but most importantly when he starts to scramble out of the pocket. I know I do. It's not that Robert is made of glass and will shatter at the mere touch of another NFL player, it's that he tends to carelessly throw his body around as if he had the frame of John Riggins or Mike Sellers.

He doesn't.

If Robert were to read this, I hope that he understands that this doesn't come from someone who doubts his ability or questions his toughness. I'm not a hater, just a person who would like to see RGIII in league ten years from now and not wince every time he takes hits that looks more suited in WWE than the NFL.

It's a few days late but that was my biggest takeaway from the game with the Browns. That said, we saw some very good things with Robert that are worth noting. So let me get right into a RGIII version of my The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

(Photo: Richard Lipski/AP)
I can already tell you that the O-line and it's protection will make or break this team. Doesn't really matter who the QB really is, however it will be even more vital for a developing pocket passer in RGIII.

What I loved was that RGIII scanned the field, kept his balance and mechanics intact and made his progressions. The end results were quickly released accurate passes to DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and a few others. Griffin would not have done this in 2012 and would have struggled more with this in 2013.

Griffin also showed accuracy in his deep ball to Andre Roberts. Last year he tended to either overthrow or under throw every deep ball last year. So far, he placed the ball in a good position for Roberts to make the catch.

Finally, with the brace off, Griffin looks like he has the speed and the agility that he had in his rookie season. That burst and mobility will help him get out of jams and get to his spots this season.

The Bad

(Photo: Richard Lipski/AP)
I think one of Robert's biggest problems is that he isn't willing to quit on a play. Instead of throwing away the ball, he holds onto it too long and gets sacked or hit. Instead of sliding or running out of bounds he tries to get an extra yard or two and hurts himself either by a rushed slide or taking additional needless hits. This happened again on Monday and if Robert doesn't figure this out, there is no way he'll get through a sixteen game season. I wish Mark Brunell was still around. He knew when to give up on a play and when to run. RGIII could learn something from watching a few of his games from the 2005 season.

The interception was just another example.  Griffin was pressured, threw off of his back foot, while falling backward which led for an easy floater that Joe Haden could easily pick off.

Also, there was a sack by Paul Kruger that Griffin could have avoided had he just stepped up in the pocket. Instead, Griffin tried to use his speed to get away. He went backward and spun away from the pressure. The problem is that he spun right into Kruger. Had Griffin just stepped up, he would have avoided Kruger and had plenty of space (and a clear passing lane) to make a play.

The Ugly

The fact is that RGIII is still in a place where is not a college QB anymore but not where he needs to be to be an elite talent in the NFL. That doesn't mean that he won't get there, it just means that it will take some time to get there. Jay Gruden seems to have Griffin on a better path than Mike Shanahan did and while there were some great moments in 2012-2013, Griffin didn't get developed as well as he needed to be to succeed in 2014.

Poor coaching? Injury? Or player who doesn't fully get it? Maybe a little of all three? Hopefully the 2014 season will start to have us see the player we want to see in RGIII with out holding our breaths on every play.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Observations Of The Redskins Vs Browns Preseason Game

The defense came to play and showed that they are going to be an improved unit this season. Ryan Kerrigan collecting   his second sack of the game on Johnny  Manziel. Hopefully this is going to be a regular sight during the season.

   Hail Redskins Nation its a Victory Tuesday even though its only preseason.  I wrote about what I was looking to see from the Redskins this week and I must say I still don't know how I feel bout what I saw, on offense anyway.  The defense looked stout against the Browns and didn't surrender a touchdown until the third defensive unit was on the field. The defense did have the upper hand by knowing the Kyle Shanahan's offense, playing against it for the last three seasons in every practice. Not to take anything away from their performance but they did what they should've done to a team learning a new offense. That they were probably more familiar with and new the calls better then the Browns. One of  the impressive things was the constant pressure from the defensive front. The team had five sacks and numerous QB hits and pressures throughout the game. The offense moved the ball at ease at times but this week unlike last week they made costly mistakes that cost them points. Mainly turnovers when they were about to get some kind of points on the board. Both teams were learning new offenses and it showed. The mistakes made by all the young QB's on both teams must be corrected. Since it's still preseason I'm gonna keep it informal and instead of breaking things down like it's a regular season game I'm just gonna give observations but will be doing my detailed breakdowns once the season starts.

-You can see when there was a clean pocket for Robert Griffin III to throw out of he was perfect in his mechanics, footwork and his progressions. You could see the learning process at work. Getting the ball out on time and hitting his reads one by one.

-You also could see when there was some pressure RGIII reverted back to his instincts that sometimes gets him in trouble. It's going to be hard for him to break the habit of wanting to make something happen with his legs but this is something new for him and will take time to learn. Hard to change who you've been for your whole life in a season and a half.

-Evan Royster showed he was back healthy and will have something to say about which running backs will be looking for work elsewhere at the end of the month. He looked faster and more decisive as a runner even as a pass catcher.

The power running game left more to be desired against a
stout Cleveland browns defense.
                                                                            - The offensive line lacked the push it had a week ago. It was apparent on the goal line stand in the second quarter. Jay Gruden said it best. The line that gets the lowest will win and the Browns got lower on those three straight running plays and won on that drive.

-Chris Chester looked like his age is starting to catch up with him after a subpar 2013. He occasionally got blown up, whiffed on a block or just got plain outworked. The thing that concerns me is that one of the younger guys hasn't been able to unseat him from the starters role.              

- I know the referees are trying to get the point across about illegal contact and some of the new rule changes but it was ridiculous how many flags were thrown.21 penalties combined is not a good thing. The to false start penalties on Robert had me scratching my head. He's screaming his calls how is he supposed to remain perfectly still while screaming at the top of his lungs.

- Having the whole starting offense on the field for the first time this preseason gave us a glimpse of how dynamic and diverse this offense can be baring turnovers. Andre Roberts caught a deep ball down the seam. Pierre catching bubble screens and getting first downs by bowling over defenders. DeSean Jackson's speed and shiftiness on the sideline route where he shook two would be defenders to get out of bounds with them grasping at air.

- Special teams unit looked like it progressed from last week. Better angles taken, no miss tackles, only one big return on a kickoff and swarming to the ball everytime. The undrafted Rashard Ross made a strong case at returner and wide receiver with a long 42 yard kickoff return and 43 yard reception from Colt McCoy.

- Both punters got one punt a piece. With the team not really being put in punting situations this competition is one that hasn't truly developed yet. Hopefully on sat against the Ravens we may get to see more then one punt from each. I mean punting is better then turning the ball over and giving up field position.

Ryan Grant has a knack for getting open and getting down
to avoid defenders and unnecessary contact.

-Ryan Grant is making a strong push to make this roster and maybe even seeing some playing time this upcoming season. Everyone talked about his lack of speed and strength but whatever he has it getting him open. Leonard Hankerson's job security might be in jeopardy.

- Bacarri Rambo has shown improvement and made a big play causing a fumble but on that fumble he showed what got him in trouble last season. Not wrapping up and going for the big hit. this time it worked in his favor and maybe he did it because he had teammate around that could tackle him if he missed. All I know is he's played better and will be watching next week to see if his improvement continues.
His first succesful slide came on his third attempt at
sliding. The first two were not pretty.

- All the talk of Robert not learning how to slide and protect himself. It's a process. He's been used to outrunning everyone and never had to learn to slide. So it's gonna be harder for him to change the physical and mental aspect of protecting himself. I think he will get it eventually just hopefully it won't be because of another injury which I don't think it will.

- Bashaund Breeland looks like the truth. After his unfortunate run in with the law this week it seems that it was a wake up call. He knew he needed to have a good game and he did that. Five tackles (3) solo, two passes defended and a fumble recovery. He's physical and likes to hit. He put several good hits on Browns players and they all got up a little slow as he popped up looking for more.

- Santana Moss showed he still has speed and the knack for making plays. With a nice catch and run on a screen on a 3rd and 19. He picked up 24 yards for the first down.

-Lache Seastrunk once again lead the team in rushing and showed some toughness running between the tackles. He almost broke one that he bounced outside but the defender got a fingertip on him to trip him up. If not it would've been a touchdown.

- Zach Hocker didn't get a chance to attempt a field goal but the depth of his kickoffs are apparent. The constant sentiment that I keep hearing is that you can hear the difference from when he kicks off and when Kai kicks off. It's described as a loud thud.

 The penalties and turnovers has to be remedied. In the regular season against a better offensive opponent those four turnover would typically been at least 14 points. This is one of the major contributing factors to last years 3-13 record. 34 turnovers last season more then double the amount from the 2012 season when the team only committed 14 turnovers total to set a team record. it's only the second preseason game and the team is learning a new playbook but not turning the ball over is universal no matter what playbook you have. It shows so far that the more physical training camp has helped the teams tackling. On Saturday the Redskins play the Ravens in the critical third game of preseason. This is where the teams usually play the starter for three quarters. Hopefully in practice this week the work on not throwing interceptions since all three quarterbacks did against Cleveland.

 Redskins Nation stayed tuned for more Redskins news and game recaps. Be sure to keep an eye out for more Redskins news, information and articles on IIWI. Soon will be adding more local sports to the blog. Soon you will be able to read more about the Nationals, Capitals, and Wizards. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news and other local pro sports. Be sure to give my good friend, fellow writer and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns, the weekly (GBU) The Good The Bad The Ugly during the season, game recaps and great articles also. Thanks again for all your support, love and feedback. As always #HTTR   #RedskinsNationIsTheBest

Dale Earnhardt was in the booth during the Redskins Radio Broadcast for
Monday Night Football. I would love to be in the booth with Sonny Jurgeson,
Larry Micheal, and Chris Cooley

The GBU: Browns/Redskins

(Welcome to the NFL Johnny Middle Finger!!! Screengrab by @Nick_Mathews)

So we enter the second Redskins pre-season game and instead of looking at who's on the bubble and what to expect from the new Jay Gruden offense or Jim Haslett's new aggressive defense, we're getting hammered by Johnny Football, Kyle Shanahan's return or a tabloid story about RGIII losing a QB competition.

What you might have expected was a quarterback battle between the future stars of the NFL. What we got instead was inconsistency, lots of penalty flags and a few good defensive performances. The final score, as I have said numerous times about the pre-season, doesn't matter. What does matter is how the individual players and units performed.

Let's just say we learned a lot about the 2014 team last night.

Some of the performances were quite good and there was some improvements especially when it came to hitting, tackling and have defenders swarm to the ball. Some performances make me think of the past couple of years. A great example is where the offensive line still struggles to pass protect and be able to drive the opposing team back for a single yard. In the end, the Redskins did not look ready to play Houston in week one and despite being bored to tears with the pre-season, I'm glad that the 'Skins have two more games to work out some of the bugs.

I'm not going to write about RGIII in this article because  he really deserves a The Good, The Bad and The Ugly on his own and I'll write that up later today. So let's look at who shined, who struggled and who may or may not be on the final 53 after tonight's game with this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

Ryan Kerrigan (2 sacks, 2 tackles) - Kerrigan collapsed the right side of the pocket multiple times that led to multiple sacks, quarterback hits and a ton of hurries. Plus, Kerrigan refused to let a mobile Johnny Manziel get away from him.

Improved Tackling - The team swarms to the ball and players are actually tackling their opponents. Amazing concept that we didn't see in 2013. Give Jay Gruden credit for getting the players in pads and having them hit and tackle during training camp..... it clearly helped.

Bashaud Breeland (5 tackles) - Decent coverage based on what I saw last night, but man can this guy hit! Breeland was responsible for at least one pass broken up and may have helped another along the way. He also cleanly nailed multiple WRs anytime they caught a ball in his path. Very impressive game after making a big off-field mistake last week.

Bacarri Rambo (4 tackles, 1 FF) - Rambo may be the improved player in 2014 compared to his rookie season. He can tackle now. Early kudos to coach Gruden for making the team put on the pads and hit during training camp (something that Mike Shanahan did not do during his tenure). Rambo also dislodged a ball from a Cleveland player causing a major turnover.

WR Corps - DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Nick Williams, Aldrick Robinson, Santana Moss and Rashad Ross. All either got wide open at least once in the game or showed how dominating they can be after catching the ball with their speed. Saw a really nice burst from Santana which I didn't think he had anymore. I keep being really impressed with long shot rookie Rashad Ross. Incredible speed, seems to be great a kick off returns. I hope the Redskins can get him to the practice squad.

The "Aggressive" Jim Haslett D - So far I like what I'm seeing with Haz's new defensive concepts. The Redskins seemed to generate pressure and force mistakes by sending more and attacking the pocket. Of course they will have to adjust throughout the season. Too aggressive and the team will leave itself open for draw plays, and big passes if the D can't get to the QB.

Rob Jackson (0.5 sacks, 2 tackles) - Jackson seemed to be all over the field last night and looks like he'll be on the final 53.

Jordan Reed (2 catches, 20 yards) - He wasn't out there long but it's clear he'll be a dominant force when the regular season begins.

Evan Royster (1 catch, 24 yards; 1 carry, 2 yards, 1TD) - Look who is trying to get back into the running back mix. A good game can go a long way even if it means that he'll be playing for another team.

Honorable mentions - Clifton Geathers, Will Compton, Gabe Miller, Morgan Moses, Lache Seastrunk. Guys who I need to re-watch this putrid game to see exactly how they fared, but they showed flashes to me at times.

The Bad

O-Line Run Game - To be fair, the Browns defense (in particular their D-Line) is quite good and they were able to slow and stop the Redskins. Obviously this is about the goal line run plays where the Redskins failed miserably to push defenders back one yard. The fact of the matter is that this O-line with exception of Trent Williams just isn't made to drive guys off the line. The Redskins will have to either throw or be more creative to get one puny yard.

Pass Blocking - Was not impressed by either the O-line or the RBs in this game when it came to protecting their quarterbacks. In two cases one Brown defender beat two O-linemen. Chester and Lichtenstiger got destroyed on one play. On the other it was with backups Tom Compton and Josh LeRibeus. Want to protect the QB and let him go through his progressions? It starts with the O-line.

QB play - Please don't tell me Kirk Cousins is the better guy. All three QBs made three bad interceptions. The two TDs thrown by McCoy and Cousins was against the same Browns defender (more on him in The Ugly). While there were some good passes made by all three, overall the QB play wasn't at its best.

Special Teams - Not a major bad here, but I would like to see this improve a bit especially in punt returns and kickoffs.

Turnovers - You don't win games with four turnovers in the regular season. Period.

The Ugly

Stat Time - Redskins dominated in total yards 429 vs. 286. They really out threw the Browns by over 100+ yards. With exception of the turnovers, the Redskins did a much better job moving the ball and getting themselves into place to score at least field goals. Sadly, the turnovers cost the team at least a 30+ score.

Skins won both on the ground (117 vs. 100) and Time of Possession (32:02 vs. 27:58) and 3rd down conversion (45% vs. 41%). You'd like to see the Redskins D do a better job in stopping third downs but it's something they can work on and penalties didn't help this stat either.

Royce Adams is slow - Both Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy burnt #40 on the Browns for deep touchdowns. #40 is Royce Adams. I don't think he makes the Browns final 53. Give credit to Ryan Grant and Nick Williams for getting open, but still Adams was toasted.

Johnny "Football" Manziel - looked like a rookie. Showed some upside, made a few plays but showed his inexperience and lack of maturity. Brian Orakpo got in his head and that led to Manziel giving the 'Skins bench the finger. Manziel thinks 'Rak making fun of his making money hand signal and his speed is rough? Wait until Manziel plays division rivals like the Steelers or Ravens. They will own him. Manziel will now be Johnny Middle Finger to me from now on.

Bubble Watch - Not good for Chris Thompson to be unable to show for another week because his injuries. I know the Redskins like him but if he can't get on the field, what's the point? Lache Seastrunk is too explosive to try and hide away on the practice squad, so it's getting less likely Thompson will be on the final 53.

I think it's fair that Robert Malone is likely to win the punter job. Meanwhile, the Forbath/Hocker kicking job is still too close to call (slight favor to Hocker at this point).

Bacarri Rambo has likely solidified a roster spot with this game.

At first I thought the Redskins would keep at least nine OL possibly going with ten. After tonight's game, I'm leaning more towards nine. That means that Tom Compton, Mike McGlynn, Josh LeRibeus, Adam Gettis and the rest will be fighting for two spots.

It is going to be tough making final cuts with linebackers. There is a ton of depth and I really like some of the young players the team has developed in camp and over the past couple of years.

Next Up: Baltimore . I just hope the Redskins don't suffer any key injuries in this game. I hate when the 'Skins play the Ravens.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five Things To Look For Versus The Cleveland Browns

Last week versus the Patriots the team looked improved but still has a lot to work on. Will the team make the necessary adjustments and fix some of the areas of concern from last week or will we see a repeat of mistakes made?

  Hail Redskins Nation!!!! Another week closer to the regular season and another week closer to final cuts down to 53. I've already talked about players that helped their chances of making the team versus the Patriots and hopefully those players can improve on last weeks performance. With this being the second preseason game the starters should be in for at least a full quarter of work maybe more. This will be a good test for this offense and defense. The offense should be helped by the Cleveland Browns aggressive defense and will give them a chance to see how far along they are in learning the new playbook of Jay Gruden. The defense will be helped by facing Johnny Manziel, a mobile strong armed quarterback that has a knack for extending plays and making things happen. Not unlike the franchise quarterback they face in practice everyday but this time they wont know what's coming unlike in practice. Well let's get to the five things I'm looking for this second game of preseason.

Starting offense had limited work last week but expect to
get a full quarter of work versus Cleveland.
Last week against New England the offense looked efficient and ran the ball very well. They ran with power and decisiveness all over the defense. I think that was a by product of  1) not having the starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon and 2) wanting to get the  running game and offensive lineman going. This week I'll want to see more from Robert Griffin III. I liked how fast he hit his checkdowns but this week would love to see him get the ball to his playmakers on the outside and Jordan Reed in the middle of the field. If it's screens, quick slants or a reverses. I wanna see the ball in the hands of the playmakers and see if they can make plays against this aggressive Cleveland defense. The learning of the new offense is done at a steady pace but by now we should see some familiarity with the plays and execution when needed.

The defense looked good against a Brady-less Patriots. This
week I expect to see a whole lot more.
 Last week the defense looked fast, aggressive and did plenty of gang tackling. They were going up against a team with their backup QB's but they did what they were supposed to do....shut them down. This week will be a better test for the defense with the starters on both sides playing at least a quarter. The defense has an advantage with Kyle Shanahan being the new offensive coordinator for Cleveland after spending the last three years with Washington in the same capacity. They know his tendencies and playcalls and should allow them to be even more effective and aggressive against the Browns. But don't be too aggressive because that could be used against them. Would like to see constant pressure and containing of gap assignments when Johnny Manziel is in the game. Solid coverage on the back end would be a good thing to see again. Last week they did a good job of sticking with the WRs and not allowing them to get separation. Another week of solid tackling would be a good sign that being more physical in training camp is a good thing.

Niles Paul looks to be the captain on this years special teams unit but is facing huge
competition from free agent special teams standout Adam Hayward.
 After an improved performance by the special teams last week in almost every facet, this week their should be a better showing from the special teams unit that was inconsistent but did have more bright spots then lowlights versus New England. Had a few penalties on this unit last week and hopefully that'll be cleaned up after a week of practice. Had a few nice returns in both the kickoff and punt return game but breaking one for a touchdown would be a huge motivating factor in the guys buying in and believing they can be a quality unit in 2014. With the added emphasis on special teams play, signing of free agents that have a special teams background, and drafting players that love special teams and knows that's a way for them to make the team it should show this week. A turnover or two would also be a field position swing and mental boost for a unit that's still trying to find its way. Both could help this team win this game and during the season. Special teams is an important part of the game and an improved unit will help this team get victories.

We all know and love Alfred Morris ground and pound
 running style but he will have to show soft hands and
the ability of picking up the blitzes to up his touches in
the new offense.
 Alfred Morris has had an outstanding first two years in the league but the one thing that's been missing is him catching out of the backfield. He isn't the only running back with something to prove. In that area or others, the whole running back corp has to show and prove they are a NFL caliber running back. The running game got going last week behind solid blocking and hard running but there is more to the running back position in today's NFL. Blitz pick up and catching out of the backfield is a must for an every down back and they need to improve as soon as possible. Roy Helu Jr. is the most complete back in all three phases but he has had durability issues from the past and is not your typical between the tackle runner. Chris Thompson is in a position to claim the number three running back spot but his issues are all about durability because he can't stay healthy enough to show and prove what he can do. All the other backs on the roster have positives and weaknesses in their game but will need to improve. This is  the chance for one of them to step up and show they deserve to be on the 53 man roster.

The seventh round draft pick Zach Hocker is making
a strong push to making this 53 man roster and unseating
 Kai Forbath. Via
                                                                              I knew this was going to be an interesting battle once the Redskins drafted a kicker with their seventh round pick. The word is that the competition between Zach Hocker and Kai Forbath is neck and neck with Hocker having the slight edge from last weeks game. I still believe that Hocker will make this team and Kai will not. Both are consistent kickers but the advantage of leg strength goes to the rookie. The main reason they drafted him was his impressive kickoff to touchback percentage which is 60% and a average yardage of 66 yards per kickoff. We saw last week that Kai got one touchback on a kickoff but kicked another out of bounds which gave possession on the 40 to the Patriots. Field position is a key in the NFL and giving up that type of field position in a game could be the difference between winning and losing. There was a rumor of keeping both kickers but with all the competition all so many key positions I don't see how it would be possible to keep both.              
     Redskins Nation stayed tuned for more Redskins news and game recaps. Be sure to keep an eye out for more Redskins news, information and articles on IIWI. Soon will be adding more local sports to the blog. Soon you will be able to read more about the Nationals, Capitals, and Wizards. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news and other local pro sports. Be sure to give my good friend, fellow writer and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns, the weekly (GBU) The Good The Bad The Ugly during the season, game recaps and great articles also. Thanks again for all your support, love and feedback. As always #HTTR   #RedskinsNationIsTheBest 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Is It Finally Time For #dcrising?

Two of D.C.'s top athletes (Robert Griffin III and Marcin Gortat pictured here) having a quick conversation after the Wizards playoff game from last postseason.
Via http//
                                                                                                                                                                      Being a life long resident of the Maryland, mainly staying in P.G. county around FedEx Field I feel the pain of not having a championship team in one of the four major sports for a LONG time. I know and understand that the D.C. United has won some championships for the DMV but MLS in my opinion is not a major American sport....yet. I'm speaking of the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Nationals. The Nationals are the newest to the bunch but as of right now they have the greatest chance of hoisting a trophy during a championship parade with fans screaming everywhere. Sounds good don't it. I know I've missed the championship parades. In my eyes there will be some parades coming soon. All four franchises are turning the corner or mediocrity and rebuilding to become actual competitors and hearing talk of possible championship runs now and into the future. I look at the state of Massachusetts as inspiration. Since 2000 Massachusetts (Boston)  has won at least one championship in every major sport and to me that makes it a major sports town. Washington has always been known as a football town but the recent success and playoff runs of the other three teams, D.C. has now become more of a sports town but still doesn't get the credit that we deserve. I'm gonna take a quick look at all four franchises and see how realistic is it for a championship within the next five years. Let's start with my favorite team the Redskins.

Since taking over ownership of the the team there hasn't been much
 success but with the new regime at Redskins Park they are looking
to change that.
I'll be the first to say that Daniel Snyder was over his head when he first took over the team but he also will do anything for this team to win. With any new thing you have to live and learn and unfortunately there was a long learning curve but I believe he has finally figured it out. By hiring Bruce Allen as a general manager he finally has a true football mind running the team. With this team finally having a young franchise quarterback and running back they are  poised to build a team around those and other core pieces on this team. Finally this team is more of a destination for actual football players and not guys looking for a quick payday. The hiring of Jay Gruden I believe will help this team make it to the next level. The staff that he has assembled has a mix of veteran experience, youthful insights, and attention to detail. The additions added to this team this offseason were made to address some of the obvious issues that plagued this team last season but as we all know. You don't win football games on paper you win them on the field. This year this team has the talent, the motivation, and most of the pieces to improve on a bad 3-13 season. Not saying they're going to the Super Bowl or even making the playoffs but at 8-8 which I see as a possibility, it would be a major step in the right direction. With having a first round pick going into next year and no cap penalty going forward I see this team becoming a legitimate contender for a Super Bowl within the next five years if not sooner. #HTTR

Since bringing baseball back to D.C. its been a learning and slow
 process but the Lerner's have build a solid team that's poised to be
 good for many seasons to come.
Baseball had been missing from the district for decades and when D.C. was finally able to get the MLB and the Montreal Expos to relocate to the city. There's been a lot of growing pains since 2005 but after rebuilding the minors and a "few" losing seasons including a 100 loss campaign they have finally come to the fun part of rebuilding.....Winning. We all remember the excitement of the 2012 season when the Nationals won the NL East and was one out away from advancing and..... I'll leave it at that. I believe this team also will be better with the hiring of a new leader. Matt Williams was a great baseball player and looks like he may be a great baseball manager also. He has handled all the pressure to win, dealing with a young superstar that has to mature as a player and a man, an ace pitcher that's struggling to find consistency and a slew of injuries to key players. Despite all of those and other issues throughout the season he still has this club in first place and looking to retake the NL East title from those pesky Braves in 2014. The minors have plenty of prospects, the team has been in the process of locking up the young talent, and the Nationals are finally drawing interest from the top free agents that wants to come here and play for a possible championship. This team has shown this season when healthy they are a hard team to beat. With that being said with the possibility of Ryan Zimmerman being back healthy by September maybe they can get HOT at the right time and make a long run to the World Series. This team hopefully will be hoisting the trophy sooner rather then later. #LetsGoNats

Ted Leonsis had built a perennial playoff contender (except for last season) in the
Capitals and looks like he's aiming to do the same with the Wizards.

    The one lone bright spot of the D.C. sports scene for the last few years has been the Capitals. Putting up outrageous offensive numbers, winning the SouthEast division five out of six straight seasons until the realignment last season and always in the conversation of possible Stanley Cup contenders. This year the Capitals also hired a new coach and general manager with fresh approaches to help this team make it to the next level and hopefully the Stanley Cup. The hiring of Barry Trotz  and promotion of GM Brian MacLlenan was a step in a different direction but I feel right direction. Trotz being a defensive minded coach with plenty of playoff appearances and known for not being afraid of calling out his players for bad play, superstars or fourth liners. MacLlenan has been with the team for 10 years, seven of those under former GM George McPhee and already he has made moves that McPhee just couldn't find a way to pull it off.  We all knew the offseason for the Capitals would be a crucial one after not making the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons and I believe they answered the bell very well. Adding what the team actually needed....Defense and a steady backup goalie to help push and tutor Braden Holtby. They believe he is the franchise goalie they need to make a return to the playoffs and a Stanley Cup run. In this case the new coach might be the biggest boost to them finally making a sustained run to the promise land.
With the power change in the Eastern Confernce this core
could be set to surprise the NBA.
       The last piece to #dcrising is the Wizards and the great playoff run they made last year. They have a young core of talented players and savvy veterans that know how to win and play the game the right way. Now this franchise has frustrated me to the point that I actually stopped following them after the Jerry Stackhouse trade for Richard Hamilton a few years back. Some of the decisions the front office and play on the court really upset me and I'm a loyal fan to the end. With that being said I am pleased with the recent moves and believe that this team is a prime position to make a title run. Last years success should be a sign of things to come for this franchise that had no direction for so long, but now with Ted Leonsis things seem different. With a young talented duo in the backcourt, veteran presence on the front lines and coming off the bench I think this team has the perfect combination to take this team to the playoffs and beyond. With the Wizards they have the same coach an GM returning after a good run last year but know that they have to improve in order to reach their ultimate goal of a NBA title. The team has been active in free agency and have lost a few pieces but have gained more then they've lost. As long as they can build chemistry, stay healthy and the young developmental players can shine during the season this upcoming season will be something to watch.

  I'm a hometown guy and love all my local teams and going forward I see some good times for these four teams. All four fan bases are loyal and love their team and now it's time for those teams to bless those fans for their patience, loyalty and support with good play, solid execution and hopefully within the next five years will be adding to the trophy case or hoisting for the first time a championship title like these.

Via the

Monday, August 11, 2014

The GBU: Patriots/Redskins

(The run game played a significant role on Thursday. Photo: AP/Richard Lipski)
And the Jay Gruden era begins.........

Look, I shouldn't have to tell you that this is pre-season week one and that despite a solid victory by the Redskins over the Patriots you shouldn't get overly excited by the final results.

You shouldn't.

You also should avoid those who want to tell you that Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy is better than RGIII, that there are better options on this team than Alfred Morris and that some 4th stringer will beat out Ryan Clark for the starting FS job. They are just overzealous fans or some media writers looking to stir up some controversy for page hits.

That said, there were a lot of good things to take away from this game and while I'll try to keep this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly to a minimal since this game was much more about individual performances than gameplans.

I will say that I like what we saw in this game in concepts that we saw on Thursday (yes, I know the plays used were typically of the vanilla variety) in that the Redskins ran the ball early and often. Also, I like how Jay Gruden uses checkdowns and shorter routes to allow the quarterback to get rid of the ball.

The goal is to allow Robert Griffin III to stay in the pocket and get the ball off quickly. This may eliminate a few of his amazing plays he makes with his feet, but hopefully he'll get hit less and the Redskins can finally have him for a full sixteen game season.

It's hard to say how effective the defense's new "more aggressive strategy" will work in 2014 but it did give Patriots QB Ryan Mallett problems. He was sacked once and pressured numerous times while out with the 1st and 2nd stringers. Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo fared better than Mallett, but he has better mobility and was able to avoid the pressure at times.

Overall the team played well and there will be very little in the bad department for this week. Let's get to this week's GBU.

The Good

The O-line and the run game - The Redskins ran for 177 yards on 44 carries on Thursday so both the 1st and 2nd team units seem to be carrying over one of the biggest strengths during the Shanahan era.

It's already going to be tough on who's making the roster at O-line and RB and this game made it even more difficult. That's a good thing.
Lache Seastrunk, Silas Redd, Chris Thompson, Spencer Long, and Tom Compton all had notable games.

Backup WRs - This is a deep WR corp on this roster already, so it'll be hard to make the team. Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson and Rashad Ross all want their names to be under consideration. Robinson took advantage of filling in for injured starters Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson and showed that he can be more reliable. Grant looks like a veteran and knows how to get enough separation to get the ball thrown to him and then make a great catch. Ross looked great as a special teams return man and has some good speed to go with his size.

Backup QBs - Solid games for both Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. Both moved the ball well and make smart decisions.

Other players who stood out: Bacarri Rambo's improved tackling, Adrian Robinson (nice forced fumble), Chase Minnifield breaking up a TD pass, the entire D-line that caved in the pocket leading to the Orakpo sack, Zack Hocker's kickoffs.

The Bad

Kai Forbath- Kicking the ball out of bounds was just terrible and missing one field goal (possibly two had there not been a penalty) put him behind Zack Hocker for the starting job. It's still early but it was clear that Forbath was not having a good day.

Penalties - It's early and the NFL is calling some major BS calls for illegal contact and pass interference (thanks Peyton Manning!!!! You get blown out in the Super Bowl and now more illegal contact enforcement - the same penalty created for you in the first place).

The Ugly

I'm not really going to talk about stats here this week because they just don't matter in this game.

I will say worth noting is that there is a standout leader on this team and it's not who may automatically come to your mind. It's Trent Williams. Anytime a play was made on the field by any unit, it was Williams that was there first to congratulate them. When Rashad Ross was thrown out of bounds by a Patriot's defender, Williams was there to get in that guy's face.

It's amazing when you look back at his and Fred Davis' careers. Both came into the league with a ton of potential. Both made mistakes by smoking too much weed and failing drug tests which led to suspensions. Williams however, cleaned up his act. He became a student of the game and worked hard to be able to take on the best. Davis, is currently not in the NFL and if he does get signed will likely be suspended for a year.

Next Monday: The Redskins head back to face the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. A RGIII/Kyle Shanahan reunion sure sounds like fun!

Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Players That Helped Their Chances Versus The Patriots

With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson not playing against the Patriots Aldrick Robinson had a chance to shine
 and I believe he took full advantage.
      Hail Redskins Nation!!!! The preseason is finally upon us. After three days of joint practices with the New England Patriots they finally got to put the pads on for real. Well as real as a preseason game can be.... but that's neither here nor there. Now I hope #RedskinsNation doesn't get too excited about the final score and start talking Super Bowl but there are reasons to rejoice. The team played well, executed for the most part, played aggressively, and didn't look lost or out of place for the most part. There is plenty of competition for a few spots on this roster. Some players helped their case and some hurt them. Good thing is it's only the first preseason game. There's still have more time to correct their mistakes or add to the impressive performance.With this being the first game and there not being any major mistakes I'm going to focus on the players that helped themselves. Here's my five players that helped themselves in the first game.

Players That Helped Their Case:

Robert Griffin III: I know there is no chance of RGIII not making the roster or being the starting quarterback but he did have a lot to prove after his 2013 season. His playtime was limited to just one series  an four passes but in that series he showed plenty. Hitting his checkdowns quickly and correctly was the best sign to me. He made his reads didn't stick on a receiver and delivered the ball to the right place at the right time. Can't wait to see more from him going forward.

    Bacarri Rambo: We all remember the debacle that was Rambo's rookie season. Miss tackles, bad angles in pursuit and lackluster performance on special teams caused him to be inactive most of last season. With Ryan Clark sidelined with a sore hamstring Bacarri would get the start. He made some good plays and some not so good but the difference this year was the good outweighed the bad. Bacarri made a couple of tackles by squaring up not going for the big hit and wrapping up. The improvement is there but this is just the first game and he still has more improving to do. It would be nice to see him take the next step and continue improving. With other safeties on the roster like Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis he has little room for mistakes this training camp.

Keenan Robinson: After London Fletcher retired at the end of the 2013 season we all wondered who would fill the void on the playing field including the front office. The first few moves of the free agency period were to add depth to the ILB position and the special teams. By signing Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan, and Adam Heyward it showed the team wasn't sure about the 2011 draft pick Robinson after his two seasons ending up on injured reserve. Keenan did notice that and made it a point of emphasis to show this team and front office that it wasn't a mistake drafting him. He's impressed in training camp knowing the calls, knowing where to be and play recognition but the question was how will it translate to the field. Watching his limited time in the game last night it shows that he was studying hard and learning the playbook those two years on IR. He was in the right place at the right times, made the right calls and fits on run plays and played decent in coverage when he had to. He has taken a step in the right direction showing the team he can handle the position and new responsibilities. (John Kiem did a great write up on his play you can click the link to read his breakdown.)

Aldrick Robinson: With the team adding play makers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts through free agency Aldrick Robinson felt the pressure of making the team in 2014. The first preseason game gave Robinson a chance to prove that he deserves to be on this team this year with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson being sidelined. With three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown I believe he showed why he should be on this team. Aldrick has always had speed but not the consistency to make the tough catch or the big time play when needed. He showed his ability to get open, get separation of the line (which has been one of his issues) and the ability to run more then just deep routes. He caught one touchdown on a slant play where Kirk Cousins had the confidence on him to get open. Also had a chance to catch another from RGIII but he wasn't able to get both feet in bounds before his arm landed out of bounds. With his speed if he can take the next step in his career to become more consistent he can be another speed weapon on this offense that all of a sudden is deep with game changing speed.

Zach Hocker: The seventh round pick has been in a battle with incumbent Kai Forbath and from all accounts it's pretty much even and will go down to the last week of preseason. Last night I believe that Hocker took a step ahead of Forbath. he went 2-2 in field goals and 1 of 3 of his kickoffs were touchbacks even though one was eight yards deep but the returner brought it out of the end zone. He also made a good form tackle on a kickoff return that was called back via penalty but I think that helped his case also. Him being a former high school safety probably helped him in that regard. That's another intanglible that could helphis case. Ther's talk of maybe keeping two kickers but with all the position battles and deep competition I don't think that will be possible. If Hocker keeps it up he may cause Forbath to be looking for another job at the end of the month.