1. Ahhhh...the ol' failed physical story. It's a tale as old as time. We're talking, of course, about center Bryan Stork and his saga. At the time of these pixels being deployed, Stork had failed his Redskins physical and will be sent back to New England. Here is one thing I know about physicals in the NFL: if you want someone to pass a physical, they pass. We have seen guys fail in one city, and then pass in the next one. It seems as if Dr. Nick Riviera is always a phone call away to help a team pass a questionable exam. I am not saying that the Redskins wanted him to fail, but I am suggesting that there was not going to be any kind of rubber-stamping on this one. Given Stork's uncertain desire to play, as well as the lack of desire to employ him on the part of the Patriots, I am betting that the Redskins were going to need a pretty convincing result to pass Stork. This is just me speculating, but after the whole "will he or won't he" show we sat through last week, the physical was shaping up to be the off-ramp for this debacle.
2. Bryan Stork was not the savior of our offensive line, so his absence hardly dooms our season, but this whole incident underscores the fact that the coaches are not content with the guys we currently have. That is not great news, but in my quest for the silver lining, here is what I found: a guy who was about to get cut from another team who has suffered from concussions and was considering retirement is not an upgrade to our offensive line. I'll take that--especially considering that in years past, a pulse was all that was required to give a guy a leg up on an offensive line job here. Kick those tires, McLovin.
3. It is somewhat lost on folks how crowded things are in the era of the 90-man rosters. Cutting down to 75, which teams have to do by Tuesday afternoon, is really not as hard as it sounds. When you live in a 53-man limit kind of world, you kind of intuitively know who those last 15 guys are--no offense intended of course. The real question front offices are asking themselves today is, "How well do we know everybody else's bottom fifteen?" The bulk of these cuts are comprised of men whose dream was always just that--a dream. Most of them will not be getting calls from other teams. Their greatest value was that they could take reps, allowing the top of the roster to stand around in street clothes. As those guys clean out their lockers, veterans assume more and more of the daily reps that will hopefully be readying them for the season. I suppose of the cuts the Redskins have already made, Willie Jefferson stands out as a guy I enjoyed watching in the preseason. My co-host on The Audible, Kevin Ricca, loved Willie and had even made some space for him on his final 53-man prediction. I'll be most excited to see who we bring in to work out this week. The hallmark of our general manager (dating back to his days in other organizations) has been to churn the bottom of his roster, so I expect to see him kick the tires of a sizable group of players cut from other teams.
4. As for the Bills game on Friday night, let's just call it like we see it: our offense lacked the crispness that we are going to need at the top of the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On one hand, a ton of starters were suiting up after having the previous game off, which made the "dress rehearsal" seem more like a far more preliminary walk through. On the other hand, the rust that was apparent on Kirk Cousins was still not that terrible to watch. His accuracy and his timing with the receivers was a touch off, but he stood in the pocket and made some decisions (as opposed to our previous starter who struggled mightily to accomplish that very thing). To me, the great failure--again--was the lack of points on those initial drives. I totally understand that play-calling is still in preseason mode, and the missed 55-yard field goal is not any reason for great disappointment, but I just get that sinking feeling that sits with me when we don't score points. That feeling is mostly associated with the dropped passes--most notably the Jordan Reed drops.
5. I have two names for you that jumped off the screen to me during that game: Preston Smith and Josh Norman. Listen, people are going to spend time, breath, ink and pixels deriding Norman's contract and whether or not he is "worth" the investment. Put simply: he is. He is an EXTREMELY talented defender on a defense that was in STARK need of talent. He has strengths and weaknesses the same as everyone else, but the Redskins defense is absolutely better off with him. He saved a touchdown on a pass intended for Sammy Watkins and demonstrated--multiple times--how his length helps him defend passes. As for Preston Smith, what can I say? He looked better than most of the players that tried to take him on. He was incredibly disruptive. On numerous occasions, he seemed to rocket into the opponent's backfield, and his tackling was extremely solid. If you're looking for a sign that Smith is on the cusp of a potentially huge year, there were about three or four of those signs on Friday night.
6. Tomorrow night on The Audible, we will be doing our 53-man roster prediction segment with Alex Rowsey, and we will be doing a general fantasy roundup. We're all in multiple leagues with multiple draft formats and multiple scoring systems, so once a year, we like to compare and contrast. Feel free to provide your worst draft night move (ever) for inclusion in our discussion. You don't need (or trust) us to give you sleepers and busts. Instead, our mistakes and missteps will guide you away from making your own disastrous decisions. One rule continues to hold true: Whiskey is the great equalizer. Any other topics you wish to bang around on this week's edition are always welcomed here.