If there’s one thing about the current Redskins Regime under Team President Bruce Allen, it’s that they don’t just win preseason games–they dominate.  Since taking over for Vinny Cerrato, Allen’s Skins have won 16 of 21 tuneups– and 14 of their last 17.  For the sixth straight year the Burgundy and Gold kicked off the preseason with a victory– as Thursday’s 20-17 win at Cleveland saw the club rally from a double digit deficit to bring home another hard-earned win.  Get those banner designs ready, my friends…

Only the Preseason is not about wins and losses.  It’s about how your team is playing and who is staying healthy.  Looking at that, the victory over the Browns is a decided mixed bag.

Tight End Terrors– Niles Paul’s broken ankle ends #84’s season before it begins.  They’re already minus Logan Paulsen and his sprained big toe…while Jordan Reed’s hamstring issues won’t go away.  That trio combined for 102 catches in 2014 (28% of the team’s receptions)…and although this is a train driven by DeSean and Garcon, the offense needs a viable threat at tight end to move the chains consistently.

Quarterback Carousel– Robert Griffin III completed 4 of 8 passes (despite Garcon’s drop in the end zone) for 36 yards while scrambling for a first down as well.  Backup Kirk Cousins hit 12 of 14 attempts for 154 yards while running for a 4-yard score.  Colt McCoy made 4 of 6 throws for 33 yards while running 3 times for 13 yards.  Not a bad first night for the triumvirate…although one would have like to see RG3 throw his first preseason TD pass since 2012.  Cousins looked the best, but remember he took the bulk of his snaps against 2nd and 3rd stringers.  McCoy was serviceable mopping up in the 4th quarter– and will get the 2nd and 3rd quarter snaps next week.

Running Rivalry– could Mr. Morris finally have his Slater?  Alfred Morris ran 8 times for 42 yards (including an 18 yard scamper on a 3rd and 1) while rookie Matt Jones gained 38 yards on 5 tries.  Chris Thompson and Trey Williams looked sharp as well--while Silas Redd left with a knee injury (MRI Friday).

Third and Encouraging– the Skins went 6-13 at moving the chains:  RG3 converting 2-5, Cousins 3-4, McCoy 1-4.  Griffin advanced the marker with his feet and arm… scrambling for a 3-yard gain on 3rd & 2 while hitting Ryan Grant for a 9-yard pass on 3rd & 5.  The only time Cousins failed to advance the chains was on a 3rd and 25.  One of McCoy’s 3rd downs was a clock-killing run by Mack Brown.  Down by distance:  they converted 3 of 4 short yardage (1-3 yards needed) attempts, 3 of 7 medium range (4-6 yards needed) and 0-2 long range (7+ yards necessary).

Defensive Diagnosis– the unit that ranked 20th last year began August by surrendering touchdown drives two of the first three times they were on the field (the third time made possible by a fumbled punt return).  But after a shaky start, the D settled in and wound up getting off the field on 10 of 13 third downs.  The pass rush generated 5 sacks…(with rookie Preston Smith notched 6 tackles and a sack) and Akeem Davis grabbed a 4th quarter interception.  At least we don’t have to debate the merits of former Coordinator Jim Haslett.

Special Teams at Last?– okay, the fumbled punt return was not ideal, but Chris Thompson tallied a 32 yard kickoff return and a 9 yard punt return.  Kick coverage held the Browns to under 30 yards per return (with a 54-yard scamper by Darius Jennings the outlier)…and no punts were returned.  Tress Way averaged just under 40 yards per punt and nothing blatantly embarrassing happened (blocked kicks, slippery snaps, swinging gates).

Cobra Kai– Everybody’s favorite bully sweeps the leg again in fine fashion– nailing field goals from 33 and 52 yards.  Ty Long handled the extra points.  Or given the new distance, extra extra points.

Coming this season– the new James Bond film, “Spectre”, will be released this fall.  Much like I went on 007 tangents in 2012 with “Skyfall”, I’ll stumble through 50-years worth of J.W. Pepper ramblings this fall.  So we’ve got that going for us…

Advertisements