So the Skins won in preseason. Again. Yes, that’s eight straight August triumphs for the Burgundy and Gold…as they force an incomplete pass on Cleveland’s potential game-winning two point conversion attempt to hold off the Browns 24-23. Kudos to Cleveland for not kicking the extra point and potentially sending a Monday night preseason game into overtime. The big question is in mid-August, what can you really put your finger on in the second of four dress rehearsals? Outside of Johnny Manziel’s digital extension, that is.
Johnny might not be able read…but he can certainly SIGN– and we’re not talking about autographs for cash. Cleveland’s latest first round draft pick quarterback completed less than half of his passes–but did connect in his only attempt to hurl an obscene gesture at the Redskins bench. Naturally just about every camera was on Mr. Manziel, so now in addition to bad decisions in the pocket the face of their franchise (who can’t start at his position) has that to answer for. Which may be easier than answering why he’s not going to win the starting job from a journeyman.
RG3VER– the face of the franchise completes 6 of 8 passes for 112 yards…but his first drive ended with a fumble, the second ended with an interception in the red zone, and the third possession ended with an unsuccessful attempt at 4th and goal from the one. Zero points over three chances against a Browns defense not scheming for you is less than ideal.
C & C Factory– after shining against New England in week one, the Cousins and Colt Combination looked a little shakier against the Browns– each tossing an interception. Cousins’ INT could have easily been run back for a score as well… but he looked much better than Colt who needed a 30-yard touchdown strike to stay in the conversation. The biggest backup disappointment? No Rex Grossman on the field in Turnoverasaurus Rex’s return to Fed Ex.
For Alfred, it’s only August; for Lache it’s August Only– Mr. Morris ran the ball 11 times for 29 yards… and got stuffed on 3rd and 4th down on the goal line in the 2nd quarter. But it’s only August…and the man who’s gained over 2,800 yards over his first two seasons should be ready to go September 7th. Lache Seastrunk once again led the team in rushing and is making a case for a spot on a roster here or elsewhere (if he doesn’t wind up on the Skins practice squad).
The Rare Rookie Receiver– while everybody was looking forward to and pleased with Desean Jackson’s play (2 receptions for 34 yards) but Ryan Grant was the wideout who stood out– tallying 4 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. Two other receivers made in-game cases for sticking– Rashad Ross made a 43-yard catch while Nick Williams caught a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Third and a Work in Progress– the team went 5-11 in moving the chains: Robert Griffin III went 0-3, Kirk Cousins 3-5, Colt McCoy 2-3. Play selection: 9 runs and 3 passes. Distance breakdown: 3-4 on third and short (1-3 yards needed), 1-2 on third and 4-6, 1-5 on third and long (7+ yards). Let’s see how they fare after a short work-week preparing for the Ravens.
Defensive Differences– Ryan Kerrigan shined with 2 sacks…while Will Compton made his case with 6 stops (1 for loss) and Bashaud Breeland added something to his file over and above his marijuana bust by notching 5 tackles and 2 passes defensed. Yes, the D gave up 23 points–but had held the Browns to 3 and out on five of their first six possessions.
Flying Flags– another night with a heavy laundry load…11 penalties for 100 yards is not ideal…even though the last four infractions were made by players on the roster bubble. Five penalties were against the offense–including two false starts against Robert Griffin III. Two holds came against lineman likely squeezed out (Maurice Hurt and Josh LeRibeus) of the regular rotation…and Andre Roberts’ pass interference was negated by a Browns defensive hold on the next play. Defensive flags came against Perry Riley (facemask after 4 yard Browns gain), EJ Biggers (holding), Trent Murphy (roughing the passer after a 3-yard run), Chase Minnifield (defensive holding after 2 flags the previous week) and Rob Jackson (illegal use of the hands–led to a late Browns TD). The costliest penalty? While Jackson’s illegal use of the hands contributed to a Browns touchdown drive (turning a Cleveland 3rd & 12 at the Washington 43 into a 1st & 10 on the 38), Hurt’s hold pushed the team back from 1st and 10 at the 22 to 1st and 20 at the 12– and on the next play Colt McCoy threw a pick six.
Cobra Kai-Zach Attack Round II– minimal opportunities for separation this week: Kai Forbath nailing the lone field goal attempt (from 26 yards out) and both kickers converting all of their extra point attempts. On the kickoff front: Zach Hocker was 3 for 3 in reaching the endzone while Forbath was 1/2 in getting the ball past the goal line. A far cry from getting the bodybag…