I was pleasantly surprised by most of what the Redskins displayed on the field last Friday night at FedEx. Yes, this is a partially revamped 6-10 roster; I know. All I’m saying is that Washington did just about everything they should have in a week one preseason game, and did it well.
Here are a few of my observations from game one:
- The offensive line is moving in the right direction. Grossman had time, which is more than most other quarterbacks in DC in the last ten years can say. The new lineup plays more to each individuals strengths and in turn, makes the overall line stronger.
- The system is being implemented. Shanahan and his “shanaplan” relies heavily on timing, and anybody watching on Friday could see that the team was clicking on many of their drives. The team as a whole only had three penalties for the entire game totaling just 38 yards, so much for sloppy post-lockout play.
- Battle of the Graham’s ended sooner than we thought. Kicker Shayne Graham kicked himself out of a job by missing two 40+ yard field goals. It also didn’t help that his competition, Graham Gano, nailed all three of his kicks. It remains to be seen if Shanahan will bring in another kicker to challenge Gano for the spot.
- The backfield is looking better. Ryan Torain did not play due to a broken bone in his hand, but that didn’t stop the Redskins new talent from gaining yards. The recently acquired Tim Hightower ran for 44 yards on ten carries. Rookies Roy Helu and Evan Royster ran for 28 and 66 yards respectively.
- Watch out Carlos Rogers, here comes Leonard Hankerson. I don’t know how, but Hankerson managed to erase most of the training camp hype with two drops. Hankerson wasn’t alone though, Aldrick Robinson also put himself in some hot water after muffing two punt returns- which brings me to my next point.
- Brandon Banks isn’t going anywhere. Some were talking about how he had lost his “burst” after the knee surgery. No sir. Banks was burning people and breaking ankles on Friday, no way this guy doesn’t make the cut. He’s the Redskins first legitimate scoring threat on any given play in a long time.
- The secondary still has a few questions. Kevin Barnes did have five tackles and a sack, but he still looked shaky at times. Reggie Jones faired pretty well and even came up with a drive (and ultimately game) killing play on a third down pass defense with 6:15 left to go in the fourth quarter.
- Time of possession is key. The Redskins held on to the ball for 39 minutes and 25 seconds on Friday night, not bad.
I think that the competitions at wide receiver and linebacker should be fun to watch throughout camp, not to mention sexy Rexy v. the Beckster at QB. I’m excited to see how this team will perform after another week of camp against a Colts squad missing their primary weapon. Let’s hope the team can keep the upward trend going and have a few more rookies step up under the lights this Friday.