Redskins Vs Bills: Initial Thoughts & Observations

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Three down, one to go in the preseason for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins remain unbeaten so far, winning this one 30-7. Here are my initial thoughts and observations from the game.

  • One of the story-lines coming into the game was to see how the Redskins defense would cope against an up-tempo, no-huddle offense that the Bills run. The Redskins open their season on Monday Night Football against Chip Kelly's Eagles, who run a constant up-tempo offense. When the Redskins managed to get off the field early, they used the tempo to their advantage, giving the Bills defense little time to rest. But on the Bills scoring drive, you could see the defense were tired. In the red zone, the Bills were playing a numbers game. The Redskins wanted to cover the pass, leaving them with hat-for-hat on the inside. That's an obvious read for the Bills, who hand off up the middle and score. When defensive front is tired after an up-tempo drive, they aren't going to get much push against the run. The Redskins needed to load the box and force the pass on the outside, trusting their corners to make the play.

  • Rex Grossman had his ups and downs. Grossman ran a much more complex offense, but put a lot (too much) of trust in his receivers to go up and get the ball. He had a nice pass over the shoulder of Roy Helu Jr on a third and four to pick up a first down. He also threw a good slant to Pierre Garcon on what looked to be a packaged play for a touchdown. The rest of the offense looked to be running to the right, but Grossman came straight out of the snap to throw the slant on the backside. At the same time, Grossman threw a couple of passes behind players that really should have been picked off. Same old Rex.

  • Pat White also had some nice plays, but running a much simpler version of the offense. He hit Aldrick Robinson on a couple of good slants, as well as an intermediate post route. But in between those throws, he missed tight end Logan Paulsen on a simple quick out. His mobility was on display throughout, running the read option well. He scored on a 14-yard run from the read-option, where he showed good patience to run behind fullback Darrel Young, who had a hell of a block to lead White into the end zone.
  • Bacarri Rambo had a much better outing than his first two preseason appearances. He was much more confident tackling in space, with no hesitation. He also had a nice read on a quick slant, breaking on the ball and missing it by inches. But he did miss it, and EJ Biggers was unable to stop his receiver from picking up the first down.

  • Fellow rookie David Amerson had his worst performance of the preseason. He never got a hand on CJ Spiller on the edge. Spiller ran right by him and picked up a big gain. Later, Amerson got beat deep and gave up a clear pass interference to avoid giving up the completion, never turning his head back to locate the football. It's the first time we've seen him get beat deep so far this preseason, but its something that happened a lot to him in his senior year in college. It appear to have a negative affect on him. He hesitated to break on the ball from off-man coverage. He read the receivers stop route, started to break but then hesitated to look at the quarterback to see if the ball was coming. He was late on the ball and gave up the reception, but managed to make a good tackle.

  • Josh Wilson had a tough start to his preseason. He saw his first action of the year tonight, and the Bills went after him. He gave up a big pass interference penalty on the first play on a deep ball to TJ Graham. They went after him again with the same concept, but this time Graham was the one called with offensive pass interference. Wilson didn't have a great season last year, and with Amerson hot on his heals, he'll need to step up.

  • The new look nickel rush package got some solid pressure early on. Kevin Kolb felt pressure and attempted to escape the pocket. Rookie Brandon Jenkins managed to trip him up, despite having been blocked to the ground. We saw a few new looks from this package. I believe I saw both Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo inside on one play, but it's something I'll need to go back and check.

  • The interior offensive lineman on both first and second team units appeared to spend a lot of time in the backfield on running downs. Josh LeRibeus looked better against the pass, but was one of the more frequent guys getting pushed back on running plays in the first half. But the second unit was much improved in the second half, nobody had any particularly noticeable plays, which is usually a good thing for offensive linemen.

  • Trent Williams made one hell of a block on the 45-yard completion to Santana Moss in the first half. The Bills send a blitz from a defensive back on Trent's side. Williams already had an edge defender to block before the blitz came. But Trent managed to block the edge defender into the blitzing defensive back and ride them both past Grossman, giving him plenty of time to find Moss downfield.

  • You can tell when rookie running back Chris Thompson gets too eager. He runs with his head too far in front of his core, which makes him off-balanced. Those are the plays that see him tripped up in the backfield by his own linemen. When he is patient, he does a good job waiting for the cut back lane to develop and then bursts through the hole. His ability to accelerate to top speed is second to none on this team, and that allows him to take three or four yard runs for eight or nine yard carries as he bursts through the hole. The Redskins gave him plenty of opportunities today, including punt and kick off returns. He looked like the explosive player we expected him to be, with a nice 32 yard punt return that he caught on the run. But he also had a fumble early on, which he was immediately pulled out for. Overall, he gave a much better showing of himself and now has a foundation to build from.

  • Rookie tight end Jordan Reed is obviously still adjusting to blocking on the NFL level. He wasn't a good blocker in college, and will take some time to develop that aspect of his game. He failed to maintain blocks on the edge a number of times, forcing the running back to cut back inside earlier than they would have hoped. But he was drafted to be an athletic receiving threat, and he showed he was capable today. He made a nice grab away from his body on a third and four, doing a good job securing the pass before making sure he gets both feet in-bounds for the first down. Later, he made a nice cut inside and up the seam, making a nice catch and nearly breaking free. He was just tripped up, which stopped him from turning it into a big play, but he still managed to get the first down comfortably.

  • Finally, Chase Minnifield made some impressive plays again. Minnifield began to drop back on one play, but read the play-action as the fullback ran out into the flat. Minnifield came up and was in position to lay a big hit, had the fullback caught the ball. In the fourth quarter, the Bills had the ball inside their own 20 yard line. Minnifield was in press coverage, but quickly peeled off his man and jumped on a quick out, nearly intercepting the pass for what would have been a pick-six.

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