So…that was an action packed week, right?  Who cares about the 31-13 rout of the Ravens, except for the fact that the Skins with a win over Jacksonville plus a Philadelphia loss means they take another Preseason NFC East banner.  But I digress.  Over the span of a few days the Redskins lost their biggest defensive offseason addition for the season, cleared and then un-cleared their quarterback to play against their I-95 neighbor only to see the understudies shine.  All this amidst local and national media tweeting the direction of the wind from the moment Robert Griffin III was shelved to the moment coach Jay Gruden said he was the one making decisions on who plays one night later.  Strap yourselves in sports fans…this could become a bumpy ride.

Quarterback Carousel– with RG3 still recovering from the concussion sustained against Detroit, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy combined to complete 30 of 39 passes for 285 yards (which means they’re still checking down a little too much) with 3 touchdowns and an interception.  The “Kirk only put up big numbers against backups” argument no longer holds as much water.  Yes, Cousins threw a pick but bounced back from the INT to lead the Skins to a pair of touchdowns.  Both have looked sharp in the preseason while Griffin remains 6-13 with three sacks and two fumbles.  The Star Trek parallel remains:  a Kirk, a McCoy plus a guy wearing a red shirt that doesn’t make it out of the episode.

Running Rookies– while Alfred Morris gained 4 yards on 7 carries and caught 2 passes for 6 yards, his understudies looked ready to headline.  Matt Jones (7-57) and Trey Williams (9-39) both give confidence to an attack that’s going to run first this fall. Jones is averaging over 6 yards a carry while Williams has over 100 yards this August.  At least there’s no controversy at this position…but give the Redskins time.

Ryan & Rashad Receive– Ryan Grant and Rashad Ross made the most of their time on the field…combining for 11 catches and 120 yards with 2 touchdowns.  We all know that it becomes the DeSean & Garcon show once the regular season begins…but much like one enjoyed Lenny & Squiggy’s antics on “Laverne & Shirley”, Grant and Ross have their place.

Third & a Tale of Two Halves– the Skins converted on 7 of 13 third downs…with Kirk Cousins moving the chains 5 of 7 times while Colt McCoy went 2-6 (including a 4th quarter kneel-down).  The team ran 4 times (1-4) and passed on the other 9 third downs ( 7-8 passing and a scramble resulting in 6 conversions).  Yardage breakdown:  3-3 short, 3-5 midrange (4 to 6 yards needed) and 1-5 long-distance. 

Deceptive Defense– they held the Ravens to 13 points and shut the Purple & Black out after halftime.  But when both first teams were on the field the Skins D was less than dominant:  while allowing Baltimore to convert 4 of 7 third downs they allowed points the first three times the Ravens had the ball.  The fourth possession?  A missed field goal.  There were bright spots– rookie Preston Smith notched 4 tackles and a sack while Jackson Jeffcoat tallied a sack and an interception.  Moving forward, will the loss of Junior Galette slow the pass rush just enough to expose the patchwork secondary for what it is?

Flying Flags– SEVEN penalties for 65 yards.  These are the Preseason Skins I’ve grown to know and love!  Four were on the offensive line:  Morgan Moses, Spencer Long and Je’Ron Hamm all picked up holding calls while Trent Williams was whistled for a false start.  One was on defense (Travian Robertston roughing the passer) while the special teams flags were from holding on a kickoff return (Dre Quan Hoskey) and running out of bounds on a punt (Deshazor Everett).  Did  the penalties hurt?  The Williams false start turned a 2nd & 12 into a 2nd & 17 on a drive where the Skins missed on a 4th & 1.  They bounced back from other flags to move the ball downfield and still score.  Even Everett’s penalty benefited the Burgundy and Gold– on the re-kick  the Ravens fumbled and the Redskins recovered, going on to score.  August Magic, baby!

Special Situations– Cobra Kai Forbath drilled all 4 extra points while also connecting on a 44 yard field goal.  Tress Way averaged 37 yards per punt.  The Skins did allow a 103 yard kickoff return– but there weren’t major breakdowns this week.

 

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