What did we learn from the Redskins first preseason game?

CLEVELAND, OHIO - AUGUST 08: Quarterback Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Redskins passes during the second half of a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Redskins 30-10. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - AUGUST 08: Quarterback Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Redskins passes during the second half of a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Redskins 30-10. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Thankfully, preseason games aren’t an indicator on how the regular season will go. Otherwise, last night’s 30-10 loss to the Browns would be a pretty ugly indication.

All in all, the Washington Redskins didn’t really show much. 17 of 22 projected starters on offense and defense didn’t see the field, so it’s hard to get a gauge on how the team really looks. For the most part, what we did see on the field was a bunch of lows and a few highs. From the opening drive of the game, the Redskins looked underprepared, as the Browns first-team offense started the game in a two-minute drill that resulted in an easy touchdown.

After that, the offensive line depth looked pitiful and special teams gave up a late touchdown that showed the team had given up. The few bright spots for the Redskins came from Jimmy “The Playmaker” Moreland, Cole Holcomb, Dwayne Haskins’ potential, and Wes Martin.

It’s pretty simple; the offense and defense looked like it was playing without a lot of starters and the offensive line depth looked like a huge concern. The pairing of Geron Christian at left tackle and Ereck Flowers at left guard did not go as planned. Christian was getting beat like a drum early by Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett, and combined with Flowers, they each committed a holding penalty and didn’t have much success run or pass blocking.

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The offensive line depth looked pretty atrocious across the whole board. Granted, the Redskins starting center, right guard, and right tackle didn’t play. There was at least some promise from the offensive line. Rookie left guard Wes Martin looked solid out there, and his chemistry with veteran left tackle Donald Penn looked pretty good, which is at least a positive sign. The left side of the offensive line looks a work in progress, but considering everything else it’s something to build on as we get closer to the regular season. Offensive line depth does seem to be a major concern for the Redskins, and if injuries start to pile up like the past couple of seasons, it could get ugly. But as of right now we still have to wait and see what the starting offensive line looks like together before we rush to judgment.

Another position that had question marks coming into the game was inside linebacker. The proposed starters at inside linebacker, Jon Bostic and Shaun Dion Hamilton, did play in this game, but with limited action. The two starters faced the Browns first-team offense on the opening drive. The Browns made it look easy, as they started the game in the two-minute drill, which resulted in easy completions and a touchdown to start the game.

The two linebackers had a tough time covering the middle of the field, resulting in big gains. Although the two were the only defensive starters on the field, which makes it hard to judge their play, it does give cause for concern going forward, and something to watch. The bright spot came in the form of rookie linebacker Cole Holcomb, who seemed to be everywhere the ball was when he was on the field. Holcomb was relentless on the field with his motor and instincts being put on full display. It’s early, but you can see why the Redskins felt good about moving on from Mason Foster, who was the most experienced inside linebacker coming into the season. If Holcomb keeps playing like he did, he will be starting soon enough, and will be able to make an impact early for this team.

On to Dwayne Haskins. The No. 15 overall pick in this year’s draft was the most anticipated player coming into the game, and he had his ups and downs. Going by the stat line, it wasn’t a good night for Haskins, who went 8 for 14 for 117 yards with two interceptions, one of which was a pick six. Haskins looked like a rookie in his first live game action, which is to be expected, but he also showed a lot of promise that should give everyone hope moving forward.

The two interceptions can be fixed, and the thing I liked about Haskins is that his confidence never wavered. You could see it in his body language along with what he said after the game, via video on Redskins.com: “You’ve got to get over it; you’ve got to play the next series. It happened. Mad for three seconds and onto the next play”.

What really stood out about Haskins was his pocket awareness and his ability to move around. Haskins saw pressure and wasn’t fazed by it; on multiple occasions, you saw him move around in the pocket, trying to buy himself time to make a play. We also saw him scramble for a nine-yard gain, where he was able to get down and protect himself for a first down. At the end of the day, you had to like what you saw from Haskins, as he displayed all the tools to succeed in the NFL. Now he just needs time to get comfortable in the system and improve his decision-making process going forward.

The star of the night had to be seventh-round pick Jimmy Moreland, who had five tackles, two forced fumbles and three passes defended in his first NFL action. The JMU product has been making noise ever since the Redskins drafted him and tonight he was able to put that on full display. Moreland has a nose for the ball, as he seems always seems to be looking to create a turnover, which was evident with the two forced fumbles near the endzone both times. Moreland seems to be very physical in the run game, even though he is an undersized guy, and in pass coverage, he has shown he has the hips to play in space and create opportunities that were seen with the three passes defended. The more “The Playmaker” plays, the more you want him on the field, as he plays with no fear and is always targeting the football.

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While for the majority of the night was not what you wanted to see from the Redskins, there were some bright spots that can be built on moving forward. We haven’t seen the starting units yet, so we can’t judge them, but we should be able to get a clear picture over the next couple of weeks as things ramp up. The Redskins have some good pieces, and if those pieces can fit together and stay healthy, this team has the potential to make some serious noise. If not, this team also has the potential for things to go very badly. The Redskins will host the Cincinnati Bengals next Thursday at home. Look for the Redskins to show improvement, as you should get a glimpse of what the starters will look like in front of the home fans for the first time this season.