The Redskins wrapped up a perfect 4-0 preseason with a 30-12 win over the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. Not many starters played, so the focus was more on the rookies and back ups. Here's my initial thoughts and observations.
- Rookie free safety Bacarri Rambo had a very good game in run support. Early in the first quarter he charged down and attacked the ball carrier with no hesitation. But most importantly, he wrapped up from the waist and used his momentum to help make the tackle. He also diagnosed a run to the right and attacked it early, closing off the cutback lane and forcing the running back Peyton Hillis towards the sideline, where Rambo made the tackle. He's yet to be challenged deep in coverage, so that remains to be seen. But He had one play in coverage against a tight end where he read the quarterback and broke on the out route and tackled at the waist. He couldnt stop the completion because the throw was well timed, but he did manage to keep the gain to an absolute minimum.
- Chris Thompson won himself the return job after returning a punt for a long touchdown. His speed was obvious as he ran past the defense, but the more impressive thing for me was his patience. He took a few stutter steps after he secured the punt to set up his blocks, before demonstrating the incredible burst and cutting at speed that he showed in college. He was given an outside zone play that he read well and cut back for a big gain. One extra block and he probably would have scored. Perhaps his most impressive play was in pass protection. On a third down, Thompson took on a free rusher and stood him up, allowing Pat White time to get a throw off and move the chains.
- Second year guard Josh LeRibeus had some nice moments but allowed some inconsistency to creep into his game. On Evan Royster's early touchdown run, LeRibeus was the lead blocker as a pulling guard. He managed to occupy two defenders which enabled Royster to get into the end zone for a touchdown. I have multiple plays noted down where he did a good job cutting off the backside of the run plays and got some nice push when the run came his way. But he also had a holding penalty and failed to maintain a block on the quarterback draw towards the end of the second half. Overall this was his best performance of preseason and is closer to what we all expected from him after last season.
- Tom Compton, however, really struggled. Early on he was beaten by a pure speed rush on the outside, but got away with it. Later, he completely missed on an inside move and gave up immediate pressure. On the White pick-six, Compton had no punch which allowed the defender to club his hands down with ease. The defender then ran past him on the outside, but White managed to get the throw away.
- David Amerson made his first interception in a Redskins uniform. The ball was thrown high and behind its intended target, but Amerson did a nice job locating the ball, peeling off his assignment and breaking on the ball. I liked that he wasn't content with just making the interception, he was intent on returning it to the house. While he couldn't manage that, he did put the Redskins in excellent field position.
- Receiver Lance Lewis caught the eye with some impressive plays. On offense he made a nice adjustment to catch a high pass from White. But he really stood out on special teams. The Bucs broke a return all the way back to the one. It was called back for a penalty, but Lewis chased it down all the way and made the tackle instead of giving up the touchdown. That kind of effort wont go unnoticed. He also made a good special teams tackle on a kick off return towards the end of the first half after the return man had made a few shifty moves. Desmon Briscoe left the game with a shoulder injury, it'll be interesting to see if Lewis could overtake him.
- Kai Forbath has been working hard on kicking the ball out the back of the end zone all offseason. While he didn't manage it on every kick off, he has certainly improved the distance on his kicks. He remains faultless on field goals, which will go unnoticed for the most part. But after the Bucs kicker missed an extra point, it feels nice to know the Redskins now have a kicker they can rely on.
- We got more of the same from quarterback Pat White. He played the entire game and looked better running the ball than throwing it. He was nearly intercepted a couple of times on high or inaccurate throws before he eventually turned it over. A Bucs linebacker watched White as he stared down the quick slant. White never saw the linebacker, who intercepted the pass and took it all the way back for a touchdown. White did make an impressive play at the end of the first half, scrambling as the play broke down. White broke the pocket and rolled to his right before making a big dive towards the end zone, somehow managing to hit the pylon before landing out of bounds. He wont make this team, but he's given himself a chance to be a back up somewhere else.
- Nick Williams made some nice plays in the second half. He took over return duties from Thompson and managed to break a tackle on his way to a big return. He made some good catches over the middle on fairly simple routes, but had to adjust to some badly placed balls by White. It's unlikely he makes the final 53, but he's made a good case to be a practice squad candidate.