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.
- Speaking of the same play, the passing lane probably wouldn’t have been there if the MLB and WLB hadn’t screwed up the coverage. Both got occupied by Davis on a short diversionary route. The Colts looked like they were in their basic cover 2, meaning the MLB should have sprinted downfield to cut off what is really a standard cover 2 beater route.
- Darrel Young sure looks like a legitimate fullback to me.
- On the second play of the Redskins second drive, Beck is guilty of a really weak play fake. This directly results in the MLB being not even remotely fooled and dropping right into the intended pass lane to bat down the throw.
- On a 2nd and 13 late in the first quarter, the Cots blitzed two linebackers. First, the interior linemen adjusted nicely to pick up three rushers. Then, Roy Helu quickly recovered from a wrong first step to pick up the one man who was unaccounted for.
- Trent Williams still has trouble with speed rushers. Like last year, he’ so afraid of being beat to the outside that he gets back on his heels and is easily bullrushed right into the passer. This is what ended the Redskins second red zone threat. Granted, it’s pretty rational to be afraid of Dwight Freeney. But Trent badly needs to get past this habit.
- If it weren’t for the different number, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Will Montgomery and his predecessor Casey Rabach. You expect the center to be one of the weaker blockers on the line, but that can only be taken so far. He is constantly driven into the backfield. And when he does hold the line, he can’t control his man to keep the playside gap open. He struggles enough getting off the line that he doesn't make the second level blocks expected of a zone blocking center.
- Helu’s long run happened despite the failure of multiple second level blocks. That was all Roy. Impressive.
- More on that run. Armstrong had a pretty good block driving the CB to the sideline, and the right move for Helu probably would have been to cut upfield inside of that block for a more modest gain. Instead he raced to the sideline. He put on a remarkable display of body control to stay inbounds and cut back for the big gain, but that won’t work every time. Still a good run, though - I admit I'm nitpicking here.
- Here is why Beck has an advantage over Grossman: At the first hint of pressure Grossman will throw up a panic lob for an interception, or scramble wildly and let the ball get swiped, or just fall down. Beck avoids the pressure, resets, and makes a throw.
- Despite a decent kickout by Fred Davis and a good second level block from Trent, Shaun Draughn was unable to turn the corner on his first carry because Lichtensteiger and Montgomery got completely caved in.
- Terrence Austin had a nice game, but his consistently weak run blocking is a problem.
- More Austin: His first punt return was outstanding. After that I didn’t much like his approach – too much time running sideline to sideline.