During pre-season games, the overall result of the game doesn’t matter nearly as much as how individuals played in the game. Now, losing by 20 points in the first exhibition game is a problem for sure, but not one that should create immediate panic. As training camp resumes Saturday, there are a few guys whose stock has risen, and a few whose stock has dropped heading into week 2 of the pre-season.
Before diving into individual play, there were a couple position groups that had bad outings against Baltimore. The offensive line struggled, each unit had their issue. From the starting unit, down to the third team, the offensive line had problems throughout the night creating a good pocket for the Redskins quarterbacks. Baltimore sent some blitzes Washington’s way, however there were instances where offensive linemen were just beat. Spencer Long had a rep with the starting unit where he simply fell in pass protection, leading to a Ravens sack on Kirk Cousins. Colt McCoy was under constant pressure as well. The offensive line struggled to create room in the ground game too, only the players and coaches know down to a tee, but there were clearly missed assignments and miscommunication among the lineman.
The young receiving corps was also an issue. Matt Hazel left his hands in the locker room before heading onto the field, but he was not the only receiver who had problems with ball security and drops. Terrelle Pryor Sr. had an opportunity in his first drive to snag a pass from Kirk Cousins. High throw? Sure, but was it catchable? Definitely. Pryor dropped his only target of the game. Outside of the drops, multiple wideouts fumbled the football, including tight end Manasseh Garner.
There were position groups that stood out as well, defensively the front seven had multiple bright spots. I mentioned a few times while down at training camp, the defense won majority of the days I was covering the team. The first and second unit of the defensive line had a solid outing.
Outside of the 18-yard run following the illegal formation penalty on Washington’s Stacy McGee, Tomsula’s tutelage seemed to be on full display. Phil Taylor was active in the trenches. He generated a pass rush on a couple of occasions from the nose tackle position, on one occasion causing Ryan Mallett to bail from the pocket leading to an incomplete pass.
Jonathan Allen’s high motor and great effort allowed him to track down Ryan Mallett for his first, although unofficial, sack as a pro. Shortly after, Allen made a solid pass rush, using his quickness to swim away from the tackle, to hone in on Mallett, but the QB just did a great job of getting rid of the ball quickly.
Among the linebackers, Ryan Anderson, Zach Brown, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chris Carter had a good performance. Anderson consistently set the edge, making the Ravens running backs bounce plays outside of the tackle. His pass rushes stood out too. On the first defensive drive for the Redskins, Anderson was able to get inside of Ravens tackle Ronnie Stanley to generate pressure on Ryan Mallett. Zach Brown's speed was on display, flying to the ball to make the tackle after Anderson set the edge on a running play. Brown also looked decent in zone coverage, recognizing and picking up the receivers who stepped into his zone. Harvey-Clemons had a terribly missed tackle in open field during the first quarter, but settled in immediately after. The former safety, in his first look at inside linebacker, showed his speed and pursuit ability. His length is what benefits him too, as he shot the gap of the offensive line a couple times, minimizing the gain. He finished the night with 6 solo tackles.
It’s important to note that this is the first pre-season game. Heading into the second week, it’s vital to know who needs to improve their game, as well as those whose status has improved after their first game.
Stock on the rise
- Ryan Anderson
- Jonathan Allen
- Phil Taylor
- Zach Brown
- Josh Harvey-Clemons
- Brian Quick - Only receiver who caught 100% of his targets, ending his night with 3 catches for 20 yards.
Stock’s on the downslope
- Samaje Perine - Fumble, dropped pass, indecision early on as a rusher. Blitz pickup has been a concern by some, inconsistent in his first outing. Rob Kelley remains the clear front runner for the starting spot week 1 vs. Philadelphia.
- Colt McCoy - Struggled throughout. Numerous under-throws, skipped a couple of passes, terrible pass on interception that was short and inside. Doesn't mean much for Nate Sudfeld, who didn't stand out during his time on the field. Made a couple of good throws to Robert Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle.
- Lynden Trail - Out of position a few times, leading to missed opportunities. Whiffed on would-be sack, that Jonathan Allen cleaned up for him, and failed to set the edge a couple of times resulting in missed tackles.
- Matt Hazel - Had a couple of drops, and a fumble (it was reversed to an interception, but coaches definitely will count it against Hazel.)
Whose performances were most notable to you? Which players stocks rose or fell in your eyes after the first preseason game? Share your thoughts in the comments below.