The Washington Redskins opened their 2015 preseason by coming back to beat the Cleveland Browns on the road by a score of 20 to 17. It was the team's sixth consecutive win in a preseason opener.
Washington has actually done quite well in exhibition games since that streak began in 2010, as the team has amassed a record of 16-5 in that time frame (.762 winning percentage). However, as we all know preseason success doesn't always translate into regular season wins. It certainly has not for a Redskins franchise that's posted a lowly .350 regular season winning percentage in that same span.
Wins don't mean anything in the NFL's exhibition season. What is important is how the individual players perform and how much opportunity they are getting to prove their worth in the first place.
- The Redskins offense was on the field for a total of 66 snaps. The first-team offense was in for 27% of those snaps (18 snaps). That is the highest number of total snaps and by far the highest snap percentage that Washington's offensive starters have played over the course of the last four preseason openers (2012-2015).
- I personally feel like Jay Gruden should've left Griffin and the starters out there for one more series. However, when you consider that RG3's eight attempts were tied for the second most he's ever had in a preseason game and were the most he's ever had in a preseason opener it's hard to be upset about it. Griffin's 18 snaps were also a career high for a preseason opener.
- I don't want to come across as too enthused here though, because Gruden and company really do need to continue to get Robert Griffin more work in exhibition games. Griffin has ranked in the bottom five in preseason attempts among quarterbacks that have gone on to start the majority of their team's regular season games in each of the last three seasons (nine or more regular season starts).
- Eighteen different QBs have started the majority of their team's games in all of the last three seasons. If Griffin qualified for this group, his average number of preseason attempts of 25.5 would rank dead last in this cohort of well established quarterbacks (his average does not include the 2013 preseason in which he did not play).
- Cleveland's starters outscored the Redskins' starters 7 to 3.
- Tight end Chase Dixon led the way on offense with 44 snaps. He was followed by backup linemen Spencer Long, Josh LeRibeus, Arie Kouandjio and Willie Smith who each tallied 41 snaps.
- Reggie Bell and Andre Roberts were the team's primary slot receivers on the night. Bell and Roberts ran 92% and 50% of their routes from the slot. Roberts led the team in yards per route run with a mark of 5.92, which also happens to be the best average in the NFL so far (three target minimum).
- Just a thought, but with the Redskins desperate to add a tight end amid a barren free agent market, perhaps Scot McCloughan will look to swing another trade with former partner in crime John Schneider. The Seahawks added the great Jimmy Graham in the offseason, so maybe they'd be willing to part with athletic freak Luke Wilson, the oft-injured Anthony McCoy or former undrafted free agent Cooper Helfet.
- Also, don't be surprised if you see Darrel Young in more of an H-back role this year to help make up for the losses at the tight end position.
- The offensive players may have seen more action than usual in this one, but Joe Barry's defense did not follow suit. The defensive starters only played on 10 out of 56 snaps for a snap percentage of 18%, which is the second lowest such percentage in a preseason opener for the team in the last four years.
- Matrell Spaight led the defense in snaps by quite the margin against the Browns. With 46 snaps (82%), he had eight and fifteen more snaps than the defenders with the second and third most respectively, fellow rookies Kyshoen Jarrett (38 snaps) and Preston Smith (31 snaps). PFF credited Spaight and Smith with a team-leading four defensive stops each.
- Bryan McCann, Justin Rogers and Kyshoen Jarrett were Washington's top slot defenders against the Browns. McCann took 77% of his coverage snaps from the slot, while Rogers and Jarrett saw 46% and 36% of their coverage work inside respectively.
- Terrance Knighton started the game, but he only played on half of first-team defense's snaps (5 snaps). True 3-4 nose tackles just don't get as much playing time in today's NFL where the new base offense is the 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE and 3 WRs). The size and conditioning of these behemoths definitely has something to do with it as well.
- Linebacker Trevardo Williams did not play in the game and was just waived by the team. LB Sage Harold was signed to the roster in a corresponding move. It will be an uphill battle for Harold, Jackson Jeffcoat and any other potential outside linebacker additions to make a roster that may very well have the most talented group at the position from top to bottom in the entire NFL.
Special Teams Takeaways
- The Redskins' special teams group saw 24 total snaps in the game.
- Martrell Spaight was a busy man on Thursday night. The Razorback rookie also led the Redskins in special team snaps with 13. Fellow draft picks Preston Smith and Kyshoen Jarrett tied for the third most "teams" snaps with 10.
- Niles Paul is probably the best special teams player on the roster. Paul's single special teams snap in this game was both his first and last such snap of the preseason and of all of 2015.
- Rookie kicker Ty Long out-snapped incumbent and seemingly entrenched returning starter Kai Forbath by a count of 5 to 4.
*All statistics courtesy of NFL Gamebooks, NFL GSIS and Pro Football Focus*
|Special Teams (59 Players)||Special Teams (59 Players)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Deshazor Everett||15||50%||Darvin Kidsy||4||13%|
|Pete Robertson||15||50%||Anthony Lanier||4||13%|
|Adonis Alexander||12||40%||Ondre Pipkins||4||13%|
|Troy Apke||12||40%||Dante Sawyer||4||13%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||12||40%||De'Veon Smith||4||13%|
|Vontae Diggs||11||37%||Phil Taylor||4||13%|
|Kenny Ladler||11||37%||Jonathan Allen||3||10%|
|Zach Vigil||11||37%||Tony Bergstrom||3||10%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||10||33%||Darius Hillary||3||10%|
|Danny Johnson||10||33%||Ziggy Hood||3||10%|
|Fish Smithson||10||33%||Prince Charles Iworah||3||10%|
|Greg Stroman||9||30%||Ryan Kerrigan||3||10%|
|Nick Sundberg||9||30%||Daron Payne||3||10%|
|Tress Way||9||30%||Preston Smith||3||10%|
|Jerod Fernandez||8||27%||Tyler Catalina||2||7%|
|Matt Flanagan||8||27%||Casey Dunn||2||7%|
|Martrell Spaight||8||27%||J.P. Holtz||2||7%|
|Ryan Anderson||7||23%||Kyle Kalis||2||7%|
|Dustin Hopkins||7||23%||Timon Parris||2||7%|
|Robert Kelley||7||23%||Isaiah Williams||2||7%|
|Trey Quinn||7||23%||Geron Christian||1||3%|
|Ranthony Texada||7||23%||Garrett Hudson||1||3%|
|Kapri Bibbs||6||20%||John Kling||1||3%|
|Quin Blanding||6||20%||Shawn Lauvao||1||3%|
|Mason Foster||6||20%||Morgan Moses||1||3%|
|Fabian Moreau||6||20%||Demetrius Rhaney||1||3%|
|Montae Nicholson||6||20%||Chase Roullier||1||3%|
|Jeremy Sprinkle||6||20%||Brandon Scherff||1||3%|
|Cassanova McKinzy||5||17%||Tim Settle||1||3%|