Saturday’s 21-17 Preseason loss might not eliminate the Redskins from an NFC East Preseason banner…but a lot would need to happen for coach Jay Gruden to capture their first August trophy since 2013.  What is obviously more important is how the team is coming together.  The preseason is such an easy time to write off…or see what one wants to see as a team gets ready for the regular season.  But despite the fact that the Skins went 3-1 in each of coach Gruden’s first three preseasons, his team stumbled out of the gates at 1-2 each fall.  So maybe an 0-2 start in August is a good omen.  Just don’t look at the 2006 team the sleepwalked through the preseason before finishing 5-11 (not too good).

Captain Kirk- now that is what we wanted to see!  More than two possessions!  The franchise tagged one competed 14 of 23 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown while playing the whole first half.  It did take Cousins and the first team a while to find themselves, gaining just 8 net yards over their first 10 plays from scrimmage.  But Cousins finished with the bang of a 10-play, 78-yard march that resulted in a 4-yard TD toss to Jamison Crowder.

Back Up Bingo- the other QB’s mirrored Cousins’ performance, combining to hit 14 of 22 passes for 134 yards and a score.  Colt McCoy directed the Skins to 115 yards on 19 plays  (6.1 yards per play) over three third quarter possessions, while Nate Sudfeld led the team to 81 yards on 15 plays (5.4) over 3 drives.

Running on Empty- the ground game garnered just 64 yards on 22 carries.  Samaje Perine (45 yards on 8 carries plus a 29-yard reception) impressed again after leading the team in rushing against the Ravens (albeit with just 15 yards).  The rest of the running backs?  A less than productive 14 yards on 13 carries.  In coach Jay Gruden’s three previous seasons the team ranked 19th, 20th and then 21st on the ground.  Who’s ready for finishing #22 this fall?

Thompson Time- even though he gained just 1 yard on 2 tries, Chris Thompson made his presence known in the passing game with 5 catches for 52 yards.  In a week without Jordan Reed, the air attack saw some contributions from rookie Robert Davis (4 grabs for 36 yards) and Josh Doctson’s first-ever preseason reception (a 12 yard catch!).  One remains bummed that Ryan Grant (2 catches for 7 yards on 4 targets) has yet to reach his customary August awesomeness.

Third Down and Downer- moving the chains on 6 of 17 attempts is technically better than the 2-for-13 shown last week.  Thank goodness it’s only August.  Cousins converted on 3 of his 9 chances, while Colt McCoy moved the marker on 3 of 5 opportunities.  Nate Sudfeld?  A “he’s just a second-year player 0-for-3”.  The Skins ran 14 pass plays (4-14 conversions) and 3 running plays (2-3).  Yardage breakdown: 4 for 5 when under 4 yards were needed, 1 for 6 when 4 to 6 yards were necessary and 1 for 6 on third and 7+.

Case for the Defense- Chris Carter led the sack pack with 1.5 of the team’s 5 against the Packers…while Zach Virgil and Nico Marley each notched 4 tackles with 3 solo stops to pace the D.  No turnovers for the defense though–and they did allow Green Bay to move the chains on 7 of 15 attempts.  Will Junior Galette ever suit up for this team and will be be the silver bullet they desperately need…especially with Trent Murphy done for 2017?

Special Situations- Niles Paul recovered a fumbled punt…and that resulted in the Skins’ first points of the night.  The return game may have averaged less than 20 yards on kickoffs and less than 5 yards on punts, but the coverage team wasn’t embarrassed either.  Dustin Hopkins connected on a 43-yard attempt and Tress Way averaged over 43 yards per punt.

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