There’s a dynasty developing in the DMV.  And I’m not referring to the half-smoke topped with crab cheese and ham they’re offering nowadays at Nats Park.  Since Bruce Allen joined the franchise in December, 2009 the team is 13-4 in the preseason.  Including last night’s 23-6 thumping of New England, the Skins have won seven straight dress rehearsals.  They haven’t lost at Fed Ex Field in August since 2010 (Ravens–and they can get their revenge in a few weeks at M&T).  John Beck and Rex Grossman have directed the team to victory.  There’s no stopping this juggernaut–at least for a few more weeks.  Like white pants, the Skins have not fared as well after Labor Day recently–going 13-19 over the last four regular seasons.  Truth be told;  my recaps peak in August as well.  So enjoy before my snarkiness, excessive alliteration and pop culture references become tiring.

 

RG3ver– the face of the franchise played just one series…completing 2 of 4 passes for 9 yards while directing the Skins to a field goal.  His third down pass to Aldrick Robinson fell incomplete in the end zone…but Grifin was able to get points out of the possession.  No major mistakes and no minor injuries– 2014 is already a world better than 2013.

 

Breakout the Bumper Stickers, Backup Version– it’s not Sonny vs. Billy… or even Jim Hart vs. Jay Schroeder… but the clash between Colt and Cousins for the #2 spot could be one of the more intriguing position battles this month.  Kirk Cousins completed 9 of 13 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown while Colt McCoy went 8 for 9 for 102 yards and a score.  Will the winner become late-August trade bait?

 

Alfred the Great–  Mr. Morris ran for 27 yards on 5 carries on that first quarter drive…extending the drive with a 3 yard gain on 3rd & 1 at midfield.  A good sign of things to come– the one thing coach Mike Shanahan’s team did best was run the ball effectively.  It’s good to see that the team’s ability to move the ball on the ground will make the transition between regimes. 

 

Reshuffling the Runningback Rotation– behind the team’s number one tailback there’s kind of a scramble:  Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr combined to average a little over 3 yards a carry on 12 tries.  The backup backups fared better against lesser opposition in the second half:  Lache Seastrunk ran the ball 12 times for 63 yards while Silas Redd added 45 yards on 9 carries.  Royster’s injury past and Helu’s injury present (he hurt his knee against the Patriots) further open the window of opportunity for the two rookies.

 

Third and…HELLO?  This is August–  the Skins converted 6 of 12 third down attempts:  Griffin went 1-2, Cousins 3-5 and McCoy 2-5.  In addition, the team moved the chains once via penalty (Illegal contact on an incomplete pass) and had a first down taken away (holding wiping out a Silas Redd scamper).  Five runs called as opposed to nine passes.  Yardage breakdown:  4 for 5 on 3rd & short (1-3 yards needed)… 1 for 2 on 3rd and medium (4-6) and 1 for 5 on 3rd and long (7+ yards needed).  It’s nice to see that almost half of the team’s third down situations were short yardage– something that didn’t happen last year for the Shanahans and haunted them big-time.

 

Case for the Defense– the 3-4 almost pitched a shutout…holding the Patriots scoreless until late into the fourth quarter.  Bryan Orakpo not only tallied a sack but the refs noticed when he was held– that has to be some sort of victory.

 

Flying Flags– 10 penalties for 79 yards is less than ideal…even though it is early August and a good portion of the players on the field (37 of the 90–over 40%) won’t be on this roster September 1st.  Offensively (4) a pair of holds and two false starts didn’t torpedo drives (first down gains followed 3 of 4 flags).  Defensively (3) the frequent culprit was Chase Minnifield:  a pass interference gave the Pats first and goal while one defensive holding was declined and another DH was offset by a Pats flag.  The biggest penalties came on Special Teams:  a delay of game pushed a field goal attempt back from 34 to 39 yards (Forbath converted) and an offsides on a kickoff negated a Pats fumble that would have given the Skins the ball on the New England 24.

 

Cobra Kai v. Zach Attack, Round I– coach Jay Gruden says the Kicking Contest will likely last the entire preseason.  The summer showdown pits the Johnny Lawrence of specialists against Bayside’s Best…and unlike the episode where Screech got the former tennis pro Zach comes out ahead (let the record show that was during “The College Years” that became “the low-rated season”).  Zach Hocker made his first case for the job by nailing a pair of attempts (from 27 and 39 yards) while Kai Forbath made a 39 yarder before missing from 46 out.  Hocker has the stronger kickoff leg…time to sweep the leg.

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