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Preseason Week 1: Observations

Below are some of my observations of the Redskins' first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. For this game, most of those observations/criticisms are about specific players. I don't plan for this to be a regular thing throughout the rest of preseason or into the regular season, but here goes...

Offense:
*Roy Helu - Seemed to warm up as the game went on (though that may have been facilitated by a change in the level of competition), made decisive cuts, showed decent agility, and broke more tackles than I would've expected. Averaged 4.4 YPC and also had one more fairly impressive long run called back on a hold.

*Hankerson's score - It's the same receiver screen that Kyle has run every preseason. I did like Hankerson going airborne to get the TD, but other than that, nothing much to see here.

*Logan Paulsen - Played at least three quarters and was his usual reliable self. The one-handed catch was impressive, and his blocking (as opposed to Niles Paul's) didn't draw my eye because of any mishaps.

*Aldrick Robinson - That drop was UGLY, and he did his best to drop the sideline catch too. Hands, hands, hands.

*Leribeus - Pass pro was bad; he got spun around several times Jammal-Brown-style, and that from an interior position. Also got called for holding in pass pro. Not a good game for him.

*Adam Gettis - his feet were in the right place, and Helu made the best of his blocking, but Gettis is getting stood up and bent backwards the same as he was last preseason. It was particularly evident on one first-quarter run to the right. At this point, I'm wondering about both his upper-body and core strength; his feet are in the right place, but he's having a lot of trouble exerting force above the waist.

*Pat White - As a fan of the Redskins, I was pleasantly surprised that he won the game at the end, though he was playing against third- and fourth-string players when he did so. It was nice, but I'm not taking that as any sign of suddenly improved play.

*Kevin Matthews - Had trouble making reach blocks in the running game and got stood up and knocked into the backfield at the snap on a Royster run at the end of the 4th quarter. Seemed decent (or at least not awful) in pass protection, though.
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Defense:
*Kerrigan & Orakpo's sacks - Kerrigan got his rushing from LDE with his hand down (either Jenkins or Tapp was lined up on his left shoulder), powering through either the RG or the backup RT. Orakpo got his on Michael Roos, though, who is a very good pass-blocker, and I think that the TE tried to chip him as well before going into a route.

*Shonn Greene's scoring run - Tennessee caught the defense in both a bad formation and a bad play call. Gomes and Amerson were the last two men on the end of the line AND the defensive line slanted left. The TE crashed down on Gomes, the tackle pulled outside and Amerson had to go low on him to take out the lead blocker, and though I didn't see whether he was initially blocked, Rambo didn't get across quite in time to save the TD. The long runs between the two end men on the LOS bothered me, though, as we saw some of that last season.

*Chris Baker - played a lot of snaps at both end and nose tackle. Didn't stand out for good or bad, but that's often the role of our linemen anyway.

*Phillip Merling - good bull rush on the pass deflection, even if it came against a backup QB and O-line

*Richard Crawford - had good, good coverage on the post into the endzone, and I think that he had that pick. Nothing stood out to me about his play in the slot, one way or the other.

*Chase Minnifield - Got turned around on a curl and missed the tackle, made a downfield tackle on a screen, hit a RB on a crossing route but didn't bring him down, had good close coverage later in the game when Tennessee ran a screen to the other side of the field.
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Special Teams:
*Unless Keith Burns was saving his schemes for the regular season, which may well be, I miss both Danny Smith's coverage units and Lorenzo Alexander in particular. Punt coverage was bad, and guys didn't wrap up on either kick coverage unit.

*On one of the second-half punts, the returner called the blockers off and let the ball roll. One of the Redskins players still ran up and only missed tagging the ball live because a Titans player dove on it and killed it a split second before. The broadcast had a microphone pointed right at the play, and I heard both the "Let it go, let it go!" call and one of the Redskins players telling the guy that "You f***ed up!"... I love those on-field mikes.

*Skye Dawson - Did an excellent Bad Brandon impression, right down to the jersey number. Fumbled a ball as he was going to the ground, fielded a punt on the fly that he never should've touched, and ran backwards on a punt return. I would not be surprised to see someone else get his return snaps in the next game.

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