Redskins Recap: Rookies perform well, first team offense shows signs of life

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 27: Rob Kelley
LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 27: Rob Kelley /

The Washington Redskins were finally able to notch a preseason victory. Improving to 1-2, this may have been their best performance of 2017.

Early on, this looked like another terrible performance from the Washington Redskins. The first quarter was awful. They gained only 1 total yard and couldn’t get anything going on offense. It looked like another disappointing performance from the team.

Kirk Cousins had his share of struggles early. So did the offensive line. But as the second quarter went on, the team did get a little more momentum. Thanks to some nice running from Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson, the Redskins offense was able to get moving. The line started blocking better Cousins was more accurate. They scored 13 points in the second quarter and that was enough to get them back into the game. They were able to win by a score of 23-17, thanks to a late pass breakup by Jeremiah McKinnon on a fourth and goal play by the Bengals.

Despite the win, Cousins has a lot of work to do. He went 10-for-19 with 109 yards and a pick during the contest. Cousins was guilty of overthrowing receivers on multiple occasions. Making matters worse, he did have an ugly pick-six that saw him stare down Thompson on a checkdown. His inaccuracy and inconsistency were concerning to say the least.

Still, Cousins did make some throws that reminded us of the player who looked like a franchise quarterback at times last year. He completed a nice pass over the middle to Terrelle Pryor that was fit into a tight window. Throws like that will give the team hope that he can get the job done.

Related Story: Will Rob Kelley be the starter in Washington?

In this game, it also looked like Kelley locked down the starting job. He generated 57 yards on 10 carries and had a 21-yard burst that was the key to jumpstarting the Redskins offense. He also had a touchdown run that saw him run behind Shawn Lauvao and tough it out for a few yards to reach the end zone. He is more polished that Samaje Perine, and should be a consistent runner to start the year.

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In the second half, the real story was the performance of the young cornerbacks for the Redskins. Joshua Holsey proved that he should make the team’s final roster while third round rookie showcased first round talent. Holsey had a great play where he came screaming in on a corner blitz and was able to immediately take down A.J. McCarron. Holsey was quick on the line of scrimmage and showed good coverage skills. He should make the roster as the final cornerback and backup slot man.

Meanwhile, Fabian Moreau continued to play well and could eventually challenge Bashaud Breeland for the starting role. Moreau had a really good pass breakup that saw him blanket the Bengals receiver and get in the way of the throw. He also continued to perform on special teams, which will give him an additional edge to make the roster.

Fish Smithson also had a nice play. With the Bengals driving into the red zone, Smithson read McCarron’s eyes and jumped a route to intercept a pass. He ended up returning the ball well into Bengals territory and nearly was able to break for a touchdown. Smithson is facing an uphill battle, but he has a chance to make the final roster.

On the offensive side in the second half, Colt McCoy put together a very solid performance. He lead a drive in which he targeted Derek Carrier on a couple of occasions and found the veteran for a touchdown. He also helped march down the field and should have had another touchdown, but it was dropped by Brian Quick in the end zone. McCoy finished the game 8-for-11 for 76 yards and one touchdown. He is definitely the No. 2 quarterback and should fare well if Cousins has to miss any time during the season.

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Overall, there were many blemishes in this performance for the Redskins. There were some bright spots and they did win, but make no mistake. Jay Gruden has his work cut out for him. The team has the personnel to be successful. Now, they just have to play as good as they project to be on paper.