Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reactions to the first preseason game

Sure it was disappointing to get shut out, but I found nothing to panic about in the Redskins first preseason game against the Ravens. Here are a few notes from the game. Go ahead and assume that I had written the following after each one: "Of course this was the just the first preseason game, so this is a very preliminary observation and it's way too early to know if this will carry over into the regular season."


Campbell was generally well protected (the one hit he took came from a horribly blown block by Chris Cooley), and showed confidence going threw his progressions. As soon as he hit the top of his drop, he quickly went through his progressions and made the throw without hesitation. The starting offense may have lacked results, but they appeared to be on the same page.

Chad Rinehart looked pretty good starting at right guard. There was one play where I thought I was going to nail him because it looked like the defender got by him to take down Betts at the line of scrimmage. On replay, however, it looks like a zone play. Casey Rabach and Rinehart took on a lineman, and then Rinehart slid past him to get to the second level and square up a linebacker, which he did quite well. It would have opened up a nice alley had Rabach done his job and held the original guy.

There were only 16 carries by running backs: 6 for Rock, 6 for Marcus Mason, and 4 for Ladell Betts. That leaves zero for Dominique Dorsey, who was also only targeted with one pass.

I noticed two occasions on which Marcus Mason picked up pass rushers who otherwise would have hit the quarterback. That was a huge weakness of his last preseason, so hopefully this is a sign of progress.

Todd Collins looked pretty comfortable in the offense, unlike last preseason. He looked like a consistent though unspectacular veteran backup who could run things effectively if called upon. That doesn't sound surprising, but I had doubts of his ability to be that guy outside of the Al Saunders offense. If he maintains that, Colt Brennan is probably looking at another season as the #3. Brennan, meanwhile, did not look impressive, but in fairness he was poorly protected.


I saw nothing to make me less optimistic about the defensive line. The starters, even without Albert Haynesworth, generated consistent pressure, and Orakpo looks like he can be a pass rush threat immediately.

Neither Justin Tryon nor Kevin Barnes demonstrated an ability to cover NFL receivers. Fred Smoot can breathe a bit easier, at least for the moment.

The tackling on defense was consistently awful. I have a feeling Greg Blache will be addressing this issue in an aggressively colorful way. I don’t envy the Redskins’ defensive guys in the upcoming week of practice and film work.

Jeremy Jarmon got a ton of playing time and spent a lot of it in the backfield. That at least raises the possibility that he’s farther along than we thought and just might contribute in 2010.

Special Teams

I don’t like the post-wedge kick returns. On every kick there appear to be two successive pairs of blocker separated by about 5 yards. On both of Rock’s kick returns he was taken down behind the blockers by a Raven who slipped through where the wedge was supposed to be.

Dominique Dorsey bobbled his one kickoff return, which didn’t help his chances. He gained nothing on his one punt return, but didn’t really have anywhere to go.

Hunter Smith had nine punts for an average of 45.2 yards. I didn’t have the presence of mind to run a clock on his hang times, but with the exception of one line-drive 38 yarder I think they were pretty good.

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