Welcome to the sliding scale of the NFL– August Adjusted Expectations mean an offense that struggles is merely hitting its stride.  A player underperforming is simply finding himself.  A unit with issues is just a work in progress…and a series of rough outings are a limited sample size.  The first two (and fourth) preseason games are discounted because the bulk of the snaps in those games are played by people not on the active gameday roster once the regular season arrives…meaning the third preseason game is the only one that matters.  Except when it doesn’t.  The Redskins 23-17 loss in Baltimore means hopes for a second straight unbeaten preseason fall by the wayside…as subjectivity is the MVP this month. 

 

RG3ver– the face of the franchise completed 5 of 8 passes with a third-quarter interception…and it’s been a less than awesome August.  Griffin’s numbers through three games of limited work: 13-20 for 141 yards and 2 interceptions…resulting in a passer rating of 46.  Perhaps he needs work Thursday in Tampa bay?

 

The Backup Steps Up– Kirk Cousins continues to have that Babe Laufenberg shine…completing 14 of 20 passes for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Cousins’ passer rating this preseason?  A Laufenbergesqe 101.6!!!  Even though the vast majority of his reps this month have come against backups…no less than Redskins TV analyst Joe Theismann said that if there was a QB competition, there’d be no competition between the two.  Does this August provide a launching pad for Cousins career somewhere else?  In an unrelated item, St Louis quarterback Sam Bradford is done for the year with a torn ACL– meaning the Rams’ hopes in 2014 rest on the shoulders of  34 year old Shaun Hill (yes, that Shaun Hill). 

 

Runningback Roulette– Alfred Morris (6 carries for 29 yards) looks ready for the regular season while Roy Helu Jr (7-30 plus a 3-yard catch) and Evan Royster (1-3, 2 receptions for 26 yards) appear to have backup positions in hand.  Does Chris Thompson’s injury issues end his stay?  Will Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk make one final push for a roster spot Thursday?

 

Third and Whatever– the Skins moved the chains on 7 of 14 attempts… Robert Griffin III converting on 1 of 6 attempts– getting sacked twice and fumbling once.  RG3’s big play (a 29-yard completion to Jordan Reed) was wiped out by a holding penalty.   Kirk Cousins gets the job done on 6 of 8 chances…including an 11-yard TD pass to Santana Moss.  Yardage breakdown:  2 for 3 on 3rd and short (1-3 yards needed)… 2 for 3 on 3rd and medium (4-6 yards necessary)…3-8 on 3rd and long (7+).  What’s discouraging is the majority of third down plays were long-yardage.

 

Hatching a Pass Rush-– Jason Hatcher after being on the sidelines for the bulk of hte summer made his debut– notching a sack.  THAT IS WHY YOU SIGN HIM!  Trent Murphy and Ryan Kerrigan also tallied sacks in the losing effort.  For a unit that ranked 21st in the league in sacks last fall– anything is encouraging.

 

Flying Flags– after tallying 21 penalties the first two weeks…the Redskins were penalized 7 times for 61 yards against the Ravens.  Breakdown by unit:  two offensive (one hold, one false start), four defensive (neutral zone infraction,  pass interference, personal foul and illegal use of the hands), and one special teams (low block).   The hold against Trent Williams robbed Griffin and the first team of a 29 yard gain.  Two defensive flags proved costly:  Brandon Merriweather’s personal foul turned a 4th and 4 from the Ravens 49 into a 1st and 10 on the Skins 36–(resulting in a field goal)–and David Amerson’s illegal use of the hands created a 1st down at the Skins 40 (Ravens would get a touchdown two plays later).

 

Cobra Kai-Zach Attack III…this time it’s personal— minimal chances in the kicking competition as Kai Forbath converted on his 32 yard field goal and extra point attempt– while Zach Hocker made his lone point-after attempt.  The kickoffs saw Forbath sending one into the endzone and another to the goal line…while Hocker’s kickoffs reached the Ravens 1 & 6 yard-lines.  While early stalemates favor the challenger…later deadlocks often favor the defending champ.  Will Thursday’s game provide a moment of separation?

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