The Burgundy and Gold Glass is overflowing…despite what you may think you are seeing and hearing.  The Redskins’ 23-17 preseason win over Cincinnati proved that this team is even better than they were last year when they tied the Bengals in midseason.  The 0-2 preseason start?  Meant nothing, because we all know that the third preseason game is what matters.  The sluggish start by the offense in all three games?  Merely a mirage as they finished their last two first halves with flourishes.  Don’t even look at the bad from Thursday’s game in Tampa Bay–none of the starters are expected to see time on the field against the Buccaneers.  Quarterback Kirk Cousins says we won’t even see the real team on opening day, as teams don’t “really come together” until October.  So no matter how bad things may get, remember:  this team is much better than their record, statistics or quality of play would lead you to believe.

Captain Kirk–the face of the franchise was less than awesome, completing 10 of 19 passes for 109 yards and an interception.  The INT? Run back for a score.  Unfortunately, slow starts were the rule instead of the exception:  they lost 14 yards on 9 plays from scrimmage in the first quarter against the Bengals.  Over three preseason games the first team offense ran 28 plays from scrimmage, netting just 4 yards.  Once again, Cousins and the offense did come alive late in the first half to produce 10 points on their last two drives–so there’s that.

He’s a backup, not a doctor–Colt McCoy may not win the BABE LAUFENBERG TROPHY like he did last year but he did direct the Skins to a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives.  He does have a better passer rating than Kirk Cousins this month.  And he does look like he could still run a high school paper route.

Running in Place– the team gained a preseason-high 96 yards on 25 carries, with Rob Kelley leading the way by tallying 57 yards on 10 tries.  Even though the Skins still average a tick over three yards per attempt, there’s always going to be the mantra “It’s Only August”.

Better to Receive– is anyone surprised that Matt Hazel is tied for the team lead in receptions this month?  I know– I’m used to seeing Ryan Grant rip it up in August before going into hibernation once the regular season starts.  Josh Doctson remains semi-ready and Terrelle Pryor is still getting used to Kirk Cousins as his quarterback instead of the squadron of Browns QB’s chucking him the ball last fall.  Can we put the bubble wrap back on Jordan Reed until opening day?

Third Down and Dismal– the Skins were 4 for 13 at moving the chains…bringing them to 12 of 43 (27.9%) on the preseason.  Kirk Cousins was 2 for 7 this week…and Colt McCoy was 2 for 6.  The top target?  Our man Matt Hazel (2 second half catches that resulted in first downs).  The top concerns?  Sacks (three plus one intentional grounding penalty), penalties (two moved the chains back) and turnovers (the pick-six and a fumble).  Yardae breakdown: 1-2 on third and short, 1-5 on third and medium (4-6 yards needed), 2-6 on third and long.

In Defense of the Defense– the D coughed up a touchdown to the Bengals on their first drive of the day, just like they allowed a TD to Green Bay the previous week in the first quarter.  Both drives were of 15 plays and 70+ yards.  Bad news for a defense that ranked 28th last season…and worse when another starter is done for 2017 in the form of Phil Taylor.  The veteran nose tackle wasn’t supposed to tear things up this year, but his absence will be apparent on a front seven that already is missing Trent Murphy.  Martrell Spraight (9 tackles) and Will Compton (7 stops) both had solid outings.  Will those translate to regular season production in September?

Special Situations– Dustin Hopkins nailed all three of his field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder.  Tress way averaged over 52 yards per punt.  I think we have our two candidates for the LAUFENBERG TROPHY.

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