This is my first "fan post" so forgive stylistic or other shortcomings, but I felt it was time to brave the Hogs Haven world by more than the odd remark on someone else's post.
To start, the obvious winner from Thursday was the Skins. And I don't mean by just the score. Yes, they won the game, but first and foremost they survived without any major injuries that would challenge their already thin offensive/defensive line, linebacking crew, etc. Add in the bonus of seeing some of their younger players flash promise and talent and there's not much to walk away upset about.
Yes, the defense allowed way too much room for the Titan's rushers, first stringers included, but let's focus on the positives for a minute.
In no particular order... Kirk Cousins
. Anyone still debating the worthiness of taking him with that 4th round draft choice last year? Hmm? Didn't think so. He was in complete control, moved efficiently within the pocket, didn't lock onto receivers with his eyes, threw no picks, only missed one pass overall (a drop) and hit Davis for a TD to boot. Not a bad two drives worth of work. If RGIII is unavailable at all this season, I think everyone will be comfortable moving forward with Kirk.
Helu showed quicks with his runs (too quick initially - he didn't allow his blocks to set up effective cutback lanes at first) and strong legs to get the tougher 3-4 yard carries as well. We didn't get a chance to see him catch passes out of the backfield, but assuming his hands haven't suddenly turned to stone, I think we all remember his effectiveness in that area. It's good to see him healthy again. He's solidly 2nd string and also the 3rd down RB on the roster. All other RBs better make their marks soon cause they're all fighting for simple depth/roster spots now. Regular season playing time is going to be scarce between AlMo and Helu.
Hankerson caught the ball well, even over the middle, was pretty wide open most of the night, and showed the burst of acceleration off that WR screen to propel him into the endzone for his one score. The fact he can play all 3 WR positions is a huge plus and while Robinson has garnered more press from TC updates, I believe Hankerson will have the bigger impact in the regular season.
Amerson showcased his intutive ball skills on the very first play from scrimmage, using his speed and length to break out of zone coverage and undercut a pass route. He broke up the pass, but he needs to catch those balls when he has the chance. Otherwise, his press and man coverages were solid and he even showed his physicality on the edge, taking on blockers and turning runners back to the teeth of the defense. Solid debut.
Crawford is proving to be more than just a pest in the defensive backfield. He always seems to be around the ball and I don't care what the replay officials did or didn't see, that was an interception in my book. He didn't get a chance to showcase his punt return abilities as coaches wanted to see how others would fare, but his coverage skills are more advanced than last season. Don't see how he doesn't stick on the final 53.
Which brings me to Minnifield. Damn if he isn't going to make decisions difficult for the coaches this preseason. Tight coverage, physical tackling... He simply won't clear waivers if coaches try to stash him on the practice squad. Unless he suddenly regresses or reinjures his knee, it looks as if we'll be carrying 6 DBs into the regular season.
I could talk about the pass rush with Orakpo or Kerrigan, but I'm just going to talk about Jenkins in this piece. He absolutely overwhelmed the RT a couple of times. His quick jump off the snap, good use of hands and leverage allowed him to consistently get close to the QB. Others reaped the sack stats, but if he keeps showing like this, nobody is going to be wondering when Jackson gets back from his suspension. Yes, I know his responsibilities were limited and he didn't have to drop into coverage much or play in space, but the kid has a natural knack for rushing the passer. Those guys don't come along very often and you USE them when they do.
Those were the guys I wanted to focus on for this piece. I could have easily added a few more, but I hope you all liked it. Now bring on preseason game #2!