Saturday, August 27, 2011

Play by play game review of the Redskins-Ravens preseason game

I've never done this for preseason before, but I was feeling motivated this morning (also there's a freakin hurricane coming in so it's not like I had any other plans) so I decided to go ahead and do my standard play by play breakdown for the first half of Thursday night's preseason game against Baltimore.

For those of you who are new to the site (and there seem to be a lot of people who are new as of this offseason - thanks) this is what I do for all the regular season games.

First I take the official play by play info from the ever-useful NFL Game Book, then I add whatever commentary I have in between the plays. I don't break down quite every play, but its the vast majority of them.

As always this is just what one guy saw from re-watching the game, so feel free to jump in with your own observations.


B.Cundiff kicks 74 yards from BLT 35 to WAS -9. A.Armstrong, Touchback.  

Washington Redskins at 15:00

1-10-WAS 20 (15:00) T.Hightower left end to WAS 22 for 2 yards (J.McClain).

Lichtensteiger gets pinned between Brown and Montgomery and so is slow getting out to the second level, leaving Hightower without any viable cutback lanes.

2-8-WAS 22 (14:27) R.Grossman pass incomplete short left to F.Davis.

Man are screens ugly when they fail. Terrel Suggs sniffed it out immediately and just sat on top of Fred Davis (who was wise to drop the pass), but even if Suggs wasn’t waiting there to stuff the play the linemen were very ragged getting off the line to set up blocks so it probably wouldn’t have turned out great anyway.

3-8-WAS 22  (14:22) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to S.Moss [Ca.Williams].

Grossman’s failure to see this corner blitz coming illustrates one of his primary weaknesses as a quarterback.

4-8-WAS 22 (14:14) (Punt formation) S.Rocca punts 57 yards to BLT 21, Center-N.Sundberg. L.Webb to BLT 31 for 10 yards (D.Shannon).

If you follow me on Twitter you know how excited I am about Sav Rocca. This is why. The Redskins offense will have it’s share of three and outs, and they will sure hurt a bit less with a punter who appears to be consistent with both distance and hang time.

Baltimore Ravens at 14:07

1-10-BLT 31 (14:07) J.Flacco pass incomplete short left to R.Rice (B.Cofield).

Jenkins gets his hands onto the RT and drives him into the middle of the pocket, forcing Flacco to abort a throw to his intended receiver. Pressure from the line was what was really missing from the defense last year.

2-10-BLT 31 (14:01) J.Flacco pass short middle to L.Evans to BLT 45 for 14 yards (D.Hall).           

Check back two plays later – Hall’s interception will be discussed in a package with this completion.

1-10-BLT 45  (13:28) R.Rice left tackle to BLT 46 for 1 yard (J.Jenkins, B.Orakpo).

Bowen gets carried back off the line, but Orakpo, who struggled badly with run blocking tight ends last year, controls this TE to keep the RB inside enough that Jenkins can chase him down from the backside. The speed with which Jenkins penetrated to make this play is something that Adam Carriker, who I really like, does not bring to the table.

2-9-BLT 46 (12:53) J.Flacco pass short right intended for A.Boldin INTERCEPTED by D.Hall at WAS 48. D.Hall for 52 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Penalty on BLT, Illegal Shift, declined.

Flacco stares down his receiver, and Hall takes advantage by jumping the curl and taking it back for a touchdown in classic DeAngelo Hall fashion. Two plays ago showed the the cost of both Jim Haslett’s defense, and Hall. A fancy blitz doesn’t get there on time, and Hall is playing so soft (he has to since Atogwe was blitzing) that the receiver is open by six yards for an easy first down.  Will the jumped routes for defensive touchdowns outweigh all the soft first downs this defense gives up? I don’t know, but the answer will be one of the bigger factors in determining if the Redskins can reasonably shoot for .500.

Washington Redskins at 12:40

G.Gano extra point is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-S.Rocca.

WAS 7 BLT 0, 0 plays, 52 yards, 0:00 drive , 2:20 elapsed

G.Gano kicks 72 yards from WAS 35 to BLT -7. D.Reed to BLT 23 for 30 yards (D.Shannon).

Baltimore Ravens at 12:40

1-10-BLT 23  (12:40) R.Rice right tackle to BLT 41 for 18 yards (B.Orakpo).           

Bowen is again overpowered and driven five yards off the line, leaving the right side open for the counter play which then turns into a big gain when Doughty takes a bad angle and Ray Rice’s cut leaves him in the dust.

1-10-BLT 41 (11:57) R.Williams right end to BLT 42 for 1 yard (K.Fox).

Kerrigan and Jenkins occupy three blockers, allowing Keyaron Fox to freely track the play and make the stop at the line.

2-9-BLT 42  (11:20) R.Rice left guard to BLT 48 for 6 yards (K.Fox). #99 - Jarvis Jenkins (WAS) injured on play.

Ryan Kerrigan takes to wide a path into the backfield and leaves the cutback lane wide open. This is also the play where the Redskins lost the very promising Jenkins to a torn ACL – click here to read about the potential impact.

3-3-BLT 48  (10:57) J.Flacco pass incomplete short right to T.Smith (D.Hall).

4-3-BLT 48  (10:53) (Punt formation) S.Koch punts 35 yards to WAS 17, Center-M.Cox, fair catch by T.Austin.

Washington Redskins at 10:45

1-10-WAS 17 (10:45) R.Grossman pass incomplete deep middle to J.Gaffney.

The pass gets out just in time, as Jammal Brown and Chris Chester do not adjust smoothly to a tackle-end stunt. We don’t see the full route on the TV view, but it looks like Jabar Gaffney needed to bend it inside a bit harder, as Grossman’s barely low throw may have been an attempt to lead Gaffney away from the closing defender. Rex likes attacking the deep middle.

2-10-WAS 17 (10:41) T.Hightower right tackle to WAS 27 for 10 yards (J.Johnson, D.Foxworth).           

Davis and Brown do a good job controlling their men and creating a nice hole for Hightower to burst through. What turned it into a big gain, however, was Chris Chester slipping to the second level and cutting off the ROLB who had pursued the play across the field.

1-10-WAS 27 (9:53) T.Hightower left end to WAS 32 for 5 yards.

Lichtensteiger overpowers the DT (oddly) to create the cutback lane.

2-5-WAS 32 (9:18) R.Grossman pass short middle to J.Gaffney to WAS 45 for 13 yards (D.Foxworth).

Hightower accounts for a safety blitz, and in contrast to the first preseason game where Rex actually fell down at the slightest hint of pressure on his flank, here he steps up and makes a good throw.

1-10-WAS 45 (8:41) R.Grossman pass short middle to S.Moss to BLT 41 for 14 yards (D.Foxworth).

1-10-BLT 41 (8:06) T.Hightower left tackle to BLT 45 for -4 yards (T.Suggs).

This was ugly all around. The DT penetrates nearly untouched between Chester and Montgomery.  Montgomery goes straight to the second level, and usually in zone blocking the second level blockers are expected to chip at the line. The lack of a chip meant Chester couldn’t get over in time. Meanwhile Hightower had no chance to escape the penetration because Brown went to the ground and allowed backside pursuit from Terrel Suggs, and Fred Davis gave up on his kickout block way to early.

2-14-BLT 45 (7:23) T.Hightower right tackle to BLT 45 for no gain (C.Redding).

Montgomery and Brown do their jobs, controlling their DLs on the line. But Chester attempts a second level block on Ray Lewis and loses so badly he is driven all the way into the backfield and the play is stuffed.

3-14-BLT 45 (6:41) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to S.Moss.

4-14-BLT 45  (6:33) (Punt formation) S.Rocca punts 45 yards to end zone, Center-N.Sundberg, Touchback.

Rocca places this punt perfectly – it lands on the 5 and bounces straight up. Niles Paul, who was one of the gunners, does a great job beating his man and is in perfect position to down it, but he loses awarness and can’t find the ball before it lands in the end zone. Paul has a lot of talent and potential, but there are a lot of capable players ahead of him on the depth chart. The more he makes this kind of key special teams play, the faster he will find himself with a gameday activation.

Baltimore Ravens at 6:26

1-10-BLT 20 (6:26) T.Smith left end to BLT 13 for -7 yards (R.Doughty). End around play.

Reed Doughty has a truly remarkable ability to read run plays – it seems like he’s always the first to know where a play is going. He sees right through the misdirection and beats the fullback to the outside to take down the WR for a big loss. This is why, while losing LaRon would hurt, Atogwe is more vital. Doughty can fill the in-the-box run stuffing role pretty well.

2-17-BLT 13  (5:45) J.Flacco pass short right to D.Pitta to BLT 19 for 6 yards (K.Barnes).

Cofield puts a nasty swim move on the RG and thinks he has a free shot at Flacco, whose life is saved by a devastating pickup from Ricky Williams.

3-11-BLT 19 (5:06) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass short middle to T.Smith to BLT 25 for 6 yards (K.Barnes) [S.Bowen].

4-5-BLT 25 (4:25) (Punt formation) S.Koch punts 46 yards to WAS 29, Center-M.Cox. T.Austin to WAS 30 for 1 yard (H.Nakamura).

Washington Redskins at 4:14

1-10-WAS 30 (4:14) J.Beck pass deep right to A.Armstrong ran ob at BLT 37 for 33 yards.           

Armstrong gets a great release off the line to give himself a couple of steps of freedom on the go route. The pass did require some loft to get over the DB’s head and drop into Armstrong’s hands, though Armstrong has to adjust a bit to it which causes him to go out of bounds rather than score.

1-10-BLT 37 (3:53) J.Beck pass incomplete deep left to F.Davis.

Fred Davis was never remotely open on this play, but Beck never looked anywhere else. He should have checked down to Hightower who was completely unaccounted for in the flat and had tons of room to run.

2-10-BLT 37 (3:47) T.Hightower right tackle for 37 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Tim Hightower runs right and cuts back to left for TD.

Great blocking here. Montgomery and Chester drive the DT off the line. Trent Williams has the most impressive performance by getting to the second level and completely dominating Ray Lewis, while at the same time cutting off the angle of a closing DB. He leaves a huge space behind him to allow Hightower to cut back across the field. Then Austin gets a downfield shove on the safety that allows Hightower to beat the guy to the end zone by two steps.

G.Gano extra point is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-S.Rocca.

WAS 14 BLT 0, 3 plays, 70 yards, 0:39 drive, 11:25 elapsed

G.Gano kicks 52 yards from WAS 35 to BLT 13. J.Parmele to BLT 32 for 19 yards (H.Blades).

Baltimore Ravens at 3:35, (1st play from scrimmage 3:28)

1-10-BLT 32  (3:28) R.Rice left tackle to BLT 33 for 1 yard (O.Atogwe).

Orakpo beats the TE to close off the corner and force the RB to cut back into traffic.

2-9-BLT 33 (2:50) J.Flacco pass short right to E.Dickson to BLT 43 for 10 yards (R.Doughty).           

Keyaron Fox blitzes, and Flacco naturally counters by throwing into the zone he vacated. Rocky actually does a good job of compensating in coverage, but then badly misses the tackle.

1-10-BLT 43 (2:13) R.Rice right tackle to BLT 46 for 3 yards (K.Fox).

Fox again shows good pursuit to make the play, though he is allowed to get to the edge freely because Darrion Scott, in at LDE, occupies both the RG and RT.

2-7-BLT 46  (1:32) J.Flacco sacked at BLT 43 for -3 yards (R.Kerrigan).

More solid work from Scott, who is suddenly interesting due to the loss of Jarvis Jenkins.  He drives the RT right into the middle of the pocket, leaving Flacco unable to step up to escape Kerrigan. Last year the defensive line was the biggest culprit in the pass defense – even when the OLBs got pressure the quarterbacks had nice, big, clean pockets and could easily escape.

3-10-BLT 43  (:54) (Shotgun) PENALTY on WAS-R.Kerrigan, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at BLT 43 - No Play.

3-5-BLT 48 (:41) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass incomplete short left to L.Evans [B.Orakpo].

4-5-BLT 48 (:35) (Punt formation) S.Koch punts 43 yards to WAS 9, Center-M.Cox, downed by BLT-T.Zbikowski.
PENALTY on WAS-L.Alexander, Running Into the Kicker, 5 yards, enforced at BLT 48 - No Play.           

2-7-WAS 44 (15:00) J.Flacco pass incomplete short right to R.Williams.

The Ravens’ line adjusts to the blitz from Keyaron Fox, but they were supposed to. Atogwe comes free up the middle to force the throwaway.

3-7-WAS 44 (14:55) (Shotgun)  J.Flacco pass short right to A.Boldin to WAS 26 for 18 yards (K.Barnes).           

Some sort of failure in coverage here – Hall and Fox both cover the crossing route and Boldin is easily released to the outside. Beaten by the trips bunch.

1-10-WAS 26 (14:35) J.Flacco pass short middle to R.Rice to WAS 24 for 2 yards (R.Kerrigan, R.McIntosh).

2-8-WAS 24 (13:52) J.Flacco sacked at WAS 31 for -7 yards (B.Orakpo).

This was lack of awareness from Flacco. The line handled the initial rush, the RB picked up Doughty’s blitz, and it was up to Flacco to see Orakpo coming and escape to the the right.

3-15-WAS 31 (13:19) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass deep right to A.Boldin to WAS 1 for 30 yards (O.Atogwe)

This shouldn’t be on the secondary. The three man rush gets absolutely swallowed up and no secondary can cover their guys for as long as Flacco had in the pocket.

1-1-WAS 1 (12:48) R.Rice up the middle to WAS 3 for -2 yards (R.Doughty).

Wow, Reed Doughty manages to fight through linemen to get into the backfield and take out Rice’s legs.

2-3-WAS 3 (12:13) R.Rice left tackle for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.           

Scott is trapped inside by the LT and Orakpo kicked out by the RT, then Fox badly overpursues and is exploited by Rice’s cut to give up the TD.

B.Cundiff extra point is GOOD, Center-M.Cox, Holder-S.Koch.

WAS 14 BLT 7, 13 plays, 68 yards, 2 penalties, 6:26 drive, 2:51 elapsed

B.Cundiff kicks 74 yards from BLT 35 to WAS -9. A.Armstrong to WAS 22 for 31 yards (B.Pollard).

Washington Redskins at 12:09, (1st play from scrimmage 12:03)

1-10-WAS 22 (12:03) J.Beck sacked at WAS 15 for -7 yards (C.Redding).
PENALTY on BLT-C.Redding, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 22 - No Play.

Bad play by Beck. The LDE sniffed out the bootleg and was there waiting for him. Beck should have realized much sooner that the play just wasn’t there; instead he tried to throw anyway and was forced to pull it down for a sack.           

1-10-WAS 27 (11:43) T.Hightower right end to WAS 32 for 5 yards (R.Lewis).

2-5-WAS 32  (11:06) T.Hightower right tackle to WAS 33 for 1 yard (R.Lewis).

Fred Davis can’t keep the RDE to the outside, and Lichtensteiger tries to go low on Ray Lewis at the second level but fails to take him down.

3-4-WAS 33 (10:31) J.Beck pass incomplete short middle to S.Moss.

4-4-WAS 33 (10:28) (Punt formation) S.Rocca punts 63 yards to BLT 4, Center-N.Sundberg, downed by WAS.

Now this was just beautiful. The Redskins had a drive stall out on their own 33, and yet the opponents have to start on their own 4. Yes, maybe its an indictment of the Redskins that a good punter could be vital to keep them in games, but that doesn’t mean Rocca is improving an area of urgent need.

Baltimore Ravens at 10:19

1-10-BLT 4 (10:19) R.Williams left guard to BLT 6 for 2 yards (R.Kerrigan, R.McIntosh).

Kerrigan does a good job shedding the TE’s block to make the tackle from behind.

2-8-BLT 6 (9:42) R.Williams right tackle to BLT 8 for 2 yards (R.Kerrigan).

3-6-BLT 8 (9:00) (Shotgun) PENALTY on WAS-R.Kerrigan, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at BLT 8 - No Play.

3-1-BLT 13 (8:41) J.Flacco pass incomplete short middle to E.Dickson.
PENALTY on WAS-R.Doughty, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at BLT 13 - No Play.           

1-10-BLT 18 (8:38) R.Williams left tackle to BLT 21 for 3 yards (R.Kerrigan).

Good backside pursuit by Kerrigan.

2-7-BLT 21 (7:55) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass deep middle to E.Dickson to WAS 46 for 33 yards (R.McIntosh, B.Westbrook).           

Rocky had his back turned and never saw the pass coming, but he was running stride for stride with the TE down the seam so he absolutely did what was expected of a LB in this situation. This was a perfect throw and nice catch.

Timeout #1 by BLT at 07:07.

1-10-WAS 46 (7:07) R.Rice left guard to WAS 41 for 5 yards (B.Cofield, R.McIntosh).

The nickel package this preseason has mostly been what is effectively a four man front with Orakpo and Kerrigan positioned as DEs (though still with their hands up) and the two DLs line up like DTs. This time its Cofield and Scott in DT alignments, and unfortunately they both get driven off the line on this run play.

2-5-WAS 41 (6:34) J.Flacco pass short middle to R.Rice to WAS 35 for 6 yards (B.Cofield).           

Scott gets penetration up the middle to wreck the pocket, then even gets his hands on Flacco, who somehow escapes to make a desperation dumpoff.

1-10-WAS 35 (5:50) J.Flacco pass deep right to L.Evans for 35 yards, TOUCHDOWN.           

Hall didn’t get beat that badly on this play. He was beat by barely half a step by a professional deep threat, and the ball was placed perfectly. Sometimes you just have to give the other team credit for doing their jobs well.

B.Cundiff extra point is GOOD, Center-M.Cox, Holder-S.Koch.

PENALTY on WAS-D.Hall, Defensive Offside, 5 yards, enforced between downs.

WAS 14 BLT 14, 7 plays, 96 yards, 2 penalties, 4:38 drive, 9:19 elapsed

B.Cundiff kicks 69 yards from BLT 40 to WAS -9. A.Armstrong, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 5:41

1-10-WAS 20 (5:41) R.Grossman pass incomplete short middle to F.Davis.

Chris Chester loses the handfight with the DT to allow the pressure.

2-10-WAS 20 (5:37) T.Hightower left end to WAS 20 for no gain (C.Redding, R.Lewis).

Trent Williams goes to the ground, and Montgomery is pushed back so Hightower runs into him. Suggs comes in from the backside just to mop up.

3-10-WAS 20 (4:53) (Shotgun) R.Grossman sacked at WAS 11 for -9 yards (L.Webb).

The high snap obviously made things dicey from the beginning, but Hightower failed to pick up a blitz from the slot corner and that’s what really gave Rex no chance.

4-19-WAS 11 (4:28) (Punt formation) S.Rocca punts 47 yards to BLT 42, Center-N.Sundberg, fair catch by L.Webb. PENALTY on WAS-R.Jones, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 15 yards, enforced at BLT 42.

Look what Sav would  have done had Reggie Jones’ penalty not canceled out his efforts.  The Redskins drive stalls at their own 11, so Rocca puts up a 5 second punt to force a fair catch. The 42 is still good field position for the Ravens, but not as good as it should be considering where the ended our drive.

Baltimore Ravens at 4:19

1-10-WAS 43 (4:19) PENALTY on BLT, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 43 - No Play. Penalty was called on entire BLT line.

1-15-WAS 48 (4:19) J.Flacco pass incomplete short right to E.Dickson.

Four man front, and Scott again penetrates inside to force a throwaway.

2-15-WAS 48 (4:15) (Shotgun) J.Flacco sacked at BLT 45 for -7 yards (K.Barnes).
Timeout #2 by BLT at 03:39.

I like Barnes as a slot corner, especially if he can blitz like this.  DeJon Gomes also blitzes from the SS spot, once he is picked up there is no one left to account for Barnes.

3-22-BLT 45            (3:38) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass short middle to R.Williams to WAS 50 for 5 yards (K.Fox).

4-17-WAS 50 (3:14) (Punt formation) S.Koch punts 50 yards to end zone, Center-M.Cox, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 3:05

1-10-WAS 20 (3:05) R.Grossman pass short middle to A.Armstrong to WAS 38 for 18 yards (J.Smith).

Very accurate throw over the middle threw a rapidly closing passing lane.

1-10-WAS 38 (2:24) R.Grossman pass deep middle to F.Davis to BLT 43 for 19 yards (L.Webb).  Two-Minute Warning

Good composure by Rex as the center of the line was caving in in front of him but he still stepped into his throw.

1-10-BLT 43 (2:00) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass short middle to T.Hightower to BLT 46 for -3 yards (J.Johnson). Timeout #1 by WAS at 01:49.

Lichtensteiger fails to get his block set up on Ray Rice, and the screen fails.

2-13-BLT 46 (1:49) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass short middle to J.Gaffney to BLT 32 for 14 yards (Ca.Williams).           

Hightower almost misses the blitz from the slot corner, but even getting there late he nudges him outside just enough that Rex can make the throw.

1-10-BLT 32  (1:12) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass short left to S.Moss to BLT 19 for 13 yards (B.Pollard).           
Timeout #2 by WAS at 01:02.

Perfect throw by Rex, but good coverage by the DB to get his hand in there and keep Santana from securing the ball.

1-10-BLT 19  (1:02) R.Grossman pass incomplete deep left to S.Moss (Ca.Williams).
Timeout #3 by BLT at 01:02.

2-10-BLT 19 (1:02) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete deep right to S.Moss (J.Smith).

You know how we’ve been trying to find a big receiver for many years? This incomplete end zone fade is why. Hopefully by next year – or later this year - it will be either Leonard Hankerson or Niles Paul running that route.

3-10-BLT 19            (:56) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete short right to F.Davis.
PENALTY on WAS-R.Grossman, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at BLT 19 - No Play.

Hightower fails to see the safety blitz coming, and forces Rex into one of his really scary soft lobs to the sideline that he often does when throwing it away. Fortunately, our own penalty gives us another chance.

Timeout #3 by WAS at 00:56.

3-15-BLT 24 (:56) R.Grossman pass deep right to S.Moss for 24 yards, TOUCHDOWN.           

Brown almost loses his battle to the LDE, but Chester arrives to help and buy just enough time for Rex to make his throw. It’s over the wrong shoulder but Santana reminds us how great he is to adjusting to balls in the air and makes the catch.

The Ravens’ final drive was just killing the clock, so I’m calling it here.

G.Gano extra point is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-S.Rocca.

WAS 21 BLT 14, 8 plays, 80 yards, 2:14 drive, 14:09 elapsedWashington Redskins vs Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium

G.Gano kicks 74 yards from WAS 35 to BLT -9. T.Smith, Touchback.

Baltimore Ravens at 0:51

1-10-BLT 20  (:51) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass short right to R.Rice to BLT 24 for 4 yards (R.McIntosh).

2-6-BLT 24 (:29) (No Huddle, Shotgun) J.Flacco pass incomplete short left to T.Smith.

3-6-BLT 24 (:24) (Shotgun) R.Rice up the middle to BLT 33 for 9 yards (D.Hall, R.Kerrigan).           

1-10-BLT 33 (:03) (Shotgun) J.Flacco pass incomplete short middle to R.Rice.

Redskins lose Jarvis Jenkins

Obviously it hurts that a young guy who was showing such promise has been set back a year. At this point, however, it should only minorly affect the on-field quality of the Redskins defense. Adam Carriker and Stephen Bowen should be a very capable pair of starters. There are many other positions where an injury would set back the Redskins 2010 fortunes much more severely.  Losing pretty much any starting offensive lineman, either safety (get well fast, LaRon), or Santana Moss would immediately make it harder to win games.

Jenkins' injury still creates a worrisome depth issue, however. With Jenkins the line was set to provide a formidable three man rotation at end, but as it is Carriker and Bowen are going to have to carry most of the load themselves. And if one of those two starters later goes down, however, then we have a real issue. This is where Vonnie Holliday would really come in handy. Without him, one more injury means a lot of snaps going either to Kedric Golston, who frankly failed at the position last year, or a young guy like Darrion Scott or someone else who we simply don't know much about. Don't get me wrong - if Hightower's performance carries over into the regular season then giving up Holliday will have been well worth it. But what had been a position of great depth when camp opened is suddenly very, very thin.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Notes on the Redskins second preseason game

I just finished re-watching the first half of last night's preseason "win" against the Colts. 

My notes are below. For no particular reason, they are extremely offense-centric. Were I to go in depth on every play like I do in the regular season I'm sure I would have had some stuff to say about the defense, but as it is the things that jumped out at me as I was watching just happened to be on the offensive side of the ball.

- Hightower’s 54 yard run on the second play from scrimmage was a nice run, but the job was made relatively easy due to outstanding blocks. Trent Williams occupied the RDE perfectly, allowing Logan Paulsen a clean release to the OLB. Lichtensteiger gives the RDT a good shove, right into the grasp of Will Montgomery, and puts a textbook second level block on the MLB. This opens up a beautiful cutback lane for Hightower. Of course, Hightower still demonstrated very good vision and decisiveness to take full advantage of it.

- Trent Williams had his struggles in this game, but on Beck’s first pass (the seam route to Gaffney near the goal line) he adjusted his feet well to beat a spin move from Dwight Freeney.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Redskins position preview: Running backs

We are almost through the roster now.

Here again is the pre-camp depth chart prediction for the running backs:

Running Backs
Primary tailback: Ryan Torain
Fullback: Keiland Williams
3rd down back: Tim Hightower 
Backup: Roy Helu 
Notable cuts: Evan Royster, James Davis, Darrel Young

I am not generally inclined to make snap judgments off of 10 preseason carries, but it does appear at this early stage that Hightower was brought in for more than just a third down role. Given Torain's chronic health issues, Hightower might be the safest bet to lead the Redskins in carries this year. Helu is most likely going to stick on the roster due to his potential and his status as a draft pick, but he appears to be raw enough that he will probably have to work his way into playing time as the year goes on. Wild guess on how many games each of these guys will lead the Redskins in carries: Hightower 9, Torain 5, Helu 2.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Redskins position preview: Offensive line

Only a few more positions to go. The original (and out of date) projection of the offensive line depth chart was this:

Offensive Line
Starting tackles: Trent Williams, Jammal Brown
Starting guards: Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester
Center: Will Montgomery
Backup OT/OGs: Artis Hicks, Selvish Capers
Backup C/G: Eric Cook 
Backup OT: Willie Smith 
Notable cuts: Maurice Hurt

For the starting lineup, the coaches are clearly relying mostly on natural improvement from holdover players.  It's actually not an unreasonable hope. Trent Williams struggled as a rookie, but that's to be expected. He should get better simply from experience. And Brown was pretty underwhelming but he did better as the year wore on and he recovered from lingering injuries. So the tackle position should be somewhat solidified. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Notes on the Redskins first preseason game

Here are some notes from last night's preseason game. I certainly do not do preseason in the same depth as the regular season play by play breakdowns, so this is just a listing of stuff that caught my eye and is not necessarily comprehensive. Feel free to add any of your own observations in the comments.

All the usual caveats about this being just the first preseason game are in force, but I know you already know that.

This was somewhat stream of consciousness, so to impose some sort of organization I split it into separate sections for offense, defense, and special teams.

Redskins position preview: Receivers

I will be posting some notes on the preseason game after this, but wanted to get this up since I had it mostly written before the game started. So before I start rewatching last night's performance, here's another entry of the continuing depth chart review.

Here's the original receiver projection:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Redskins position preview: Quarterbacks

OK, still working through each position from my original 53 man roster projection (which is already, and expectedly, out of date).

You can see the previous postion previews here: Defensive line, linebackers, secondary.

Quarterback is the first offensive position written up so far, so obviously some positions will have to be wrapped up after the first preseason game Friday night. But such is life.

Anyway, you'll recall this was my predicted depth chart last week:
Previous position previews: Defensive line, linebackers, secondary. This is the first offensive position we've gotten to, so of course some will have to get wrapped up after the first preseason game tomorrow night. But such is life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How good can the Redskins defense be?

The Redskins defense could be really good next year. Or it could be lousy. Or it could end up anywhere in between.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Redskins position preview: Defensive backs

Soldiering on with the depth chart profiles. We've previously looked at the defensive line and linebackers.

Here's the original projection, and remember it's from last Wednesday:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Redskins position preview: Linebackers

Continuing the position-by-position look at the depth chart. We talked about the defensive line on Wednesday. As expected, there have been various personnel moves since my original 53 man roster projection last week; these were anticipated as I simply got tired of waiting for roster moves to sort themselves out in this weird abbreviated offseason. I mean, we're a few days away from a preseason game. Time to work.

Here's the original linebacker projection from last week:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Redskins position preview: Defensive line

Alright, time to get work. I'm going to start with the defense because a) I like defense and b) there were three defensive signings yesterday that happened after I posted my initial 53 man roster prediction, so we may as well start on this side of the ball and see how those change things.

As you'll recall from yesterday, this is how I originally had the defensive line depth chart shaking out:

An early attempt at the Redskins 53 man roster

It's about that time. I'm tired of waiting for the remaining free agents to sort themselves out, so I'm ready to dive into preseason and start going into the roster in depth. It's seems like as good a time as any to take my first (futile) whack at predicting who will make the 53 man roster.

I intend, as I always do, to do a more in depth look at each position group as we enter training camp and the preseason. As such, I am for now just laying out my hypothetical 53 man roster without further explanation. But reasoning did go into this, and it will be laid out in the upcoming posts.