Well, this game was certainly a tale of two halves. As much as we fans like to gripe, and highlight the negatives, there were quite a few positives that came from Saturdays game. In the post, I will take a look at the good, bad and ugly of the Redskins 33-31 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bears.
Aldrick Robinson - The second year receiver lit it up in the second half against the Bears second stringers, but keep in mind, he was also playing with the Redskins second team offense. He finished the night with 6 receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. Robinson's most impressive play came on a pass over the middle, where Cousins hit Robinson in stride, and the speedy receiver turned on the jets, leaving the Bears defense in the dust in route to a 49 yard touchdown. Aside from this play, Robinson caught everything that was thrown his way, including a diving catch on a ball thrown low on the right side of the field later in the game. If this kid doesn't make the team, I may stop watching Redskins football!
Kirk Cousins - The fourth round rookie outplayed the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, and it wasn't even close. Cousins looked sharp in route to his 18/23, 264 yard, three touchdown performance, and even though it came against the Bears reserves, there is still a lot to be taken from this offensive output. Cousins showed good pocket awareness, mobility outside the pocket, accuracy and a strong arm. He also showed the ability to step up in the pocket, and deliver the ball in the face of pressure. His leadership, intelligence and toughness stood out to me on this night. It may be too early to say this, but Gex Grossman may be relegated to third string after this outing by Cousins.
Brandon Banks - I have to put Banks in this category, as his 91 yard punt return touchdown really stood out in this game. Not much more to say here, but in a first half with little to be pleased with from a Redskins point of view, Banks was a pleasant surprise.
The entire Redskins secondary - Cedrick Griffin should be embarrassed to call himself an NFL cornerback. Hall can't tackle, Wilson can't catch, Meriweather got hurt.............anything else I'm missing? Oh yeah, we allowed Jay Cutler to carve up our secondary to the tune of 122 yards on 7/13 passing. The problem was giving up the big plays, which seemed to happen over and over Saturday night. Now, some of this can be pinned on the lack of pressure(or the solid pass protection of the Bears offensive line)by the defensive line and linebackers of the Redskins, but when it comes down to it, you have to be able to cover a simple "go route", and now allow receivers free releases at the line of scrimmage; both of which the Redskins we not successful in stopping. The only starter I am willing to give a pass to is FS Williams, who showed better range, and decent tackling.
Lorenzo Alexander - Alexander started in the absence of London Fletcher, and showed his weakness in coverage. He was consistently late in getting into his zone, and seemed to have a hard time locating receivers once he got there. He was also slow in reacting to run plays, but maybe this is just me being spoiled from watching London Fletcher over the last few seasons.
Trent Williams - TW was not horrible in this game, but compared to his performance vs the Bills, and reports of his exceptional play in training camp, Williams looked human again. Now, I am willing to give him a pass because of the foot injury, but if he plays this way against some of the top defensive ends during the regular season, we could be in for a bit of trouble.
Tyler Polumbus - I don't know what to say here. I am almost at a loss for words, and for me that is a rarity. Polumbus was just horrible in the first half of Saturday's game. He was beaten in every way possible(across his face, off the edge, bull rush, spin moves). If you can think of any more ways he was beaten, please feel free to add them, as I'm sure there are a few I have missed. Let's put it this way: The play of Polumbus so far this preseason, has all Redskins fans missing Jammal Brown.
Will Montgomery - They usually say that an offensive linemen is doing his job when you don't hear their name mentioned during the game, but such is not the case for Monty. He spent more time in our backfield that Griffin, as he was over-powered, and out of position on both run and pass plays. If the coaches can't see that Montgomery is a liability on this offensive line, then god help us when we get into regular season play.
- I though rookie Adam Gettis held his own fairly well against a pretty good Bears defense. Now he wasn't perfect(nor should we expect him to be), but he did get to the second level pretty well on multiple occasions, and showed that when he gets his feet set on pass protection, that he does a pretty good job. I would like to point out that the kid has a great motor, and never takes any plays off. Even when he misses his man(which happens to every linemen), he always seems to find someone to hit.
- I watched LeRibs for a few plays, and what stood of to me is his play in pass pro. He always keeps his head on a swivel, and is very good at picking up blitzes. His run blocking was ok, but ok is heads and tails above what Montgomery offers at this point, so as you may be able to tell, I hope he makes a permanent move to center.
- I still can't say how much I am impressed with Keenan Robinson's athleticism. He a step slow to recognize plays, but when he does, man does he get there in a hurry. I think this kid is going to be a special player for us in the future.
- We are all going to knock Perry Riley for his "oops" on the Michael Bush touchdown, but aside from that, he played pretty well in both the run game, and in coverage. He had two sacks in the game, albiet they were on Jason Campbell(and we all know JC holds onto the ball too long). I expect a very big year from Riley.
- Folks, we had a Jarvis Jenkins sighting.....maybe even two of three!
- Speaking of sightings, we also had our first Willie Smith sighting. For me, it was a mixed bag, but under the circumstances, anything looks better than Polumbus right now.
- Chris baker continued his good preseason with yet another solid preformance. Pencil him solidly into the defensive rotation this season.
- Can Niles Paul catch a cold?
- Dez Briscoe is a BIG target, with some GOOD hands. He needs to make this team.
- Samuel Kirkland(who?)and sadly, David Jones, will be amongst the first cuts this week.
- I have to guess that Richard Crawford SHOULD be our third corner. He's definitly making the squad, and I wouldn't rule out a trio of Hall, Wilson and Crawford come the regular season.
- I have to mention this just one more time: Man can Aldrick Robinson fly! Did I also mention he catches everything thrown near him(yeah, I'm looking at you Niles Paul)?
I wanted to point out one quick defensive scheme I noticed we used a few times during Saturday's game. We were in our nickel package, and we walked our two safeties up to the line of scrimmage. We took our nickel corner and put him back as a single high safety. Once I saw us use this coverage in a man-over look, and once we sent a safety, and fell into a cover 3. I really think this is showing what Haslett and Morris mean when they say we are going to see a lot of different looks in the secondary this season, and really why they value versatility in their players.
Please discuss anything you think was relevant in this game.