At first glance, tonight’s game was going to leave Redskins fans with the same bitter taste in their mouths that they’d experienced after the first two preseason games. On the opening drive, Kirk Cousins’ offense picked up the first down on 3rd and 1, only to have it called back for an illegal shift, and they couldn’t move the sticks on 3rd and 6.
The defense certainly looked better than the sluggish offense: Zach Brown and Mason Foster, especially Foster, continued to look strong against the run. Deshazor Everett, who was on the field with the starters tonight, showed quick closing speed, and Bashaud Breeland had his strongest showing of the preseason. The defensive unit, which could finally celebrate the return of linebacker Junior Galette and which suffered an early exit by defensive lineman Phil Taylor (left quad injury), even managed to force rookie Joe Mixon to cough up the ball. The offense, though, couldn’t do anything with it. After Cousins, who was sacked twice in his first five passes, and the offense went backwards from the turnover, Dustin Hopkins came onto the field to put the Redskins’ first points on the board.
The second quarter started the turnaround, however. After Vontaze Burfict intercepted Cousins for a pick six, Cousins rallied to lead the offense on a 10 play, 75 yard drive that running back Robert Kelley capped off with a touchdown. Gruden seemed to open up the playbook a little, including reverses and screen passes. Chris Thompson broke loose on a 25 yard play. Crowder and Pryor got involved. Things were starting to click, albeit later than you’d want to see, for the first team offense.
In the second half, several young players continued to push for their spots on the roster. Rookie Josh Holsey showed continued improvement in pass coverage. Fabian Moreau is earning the reputation of being a steal in the draft; aside from his overall physicality and athleticism, he proved his ability to keep his head. After nearly being beaten for a touchdown, Moreau didn’t panic and forced his hand in the way for a pass breakup. Matrell Spaight seemed involved in everything, and Quinton Dunbar and Pete Robertson also made their presences felt.
On offense, Colt McCoy, appeared comfortable in his backup role, In spite of a strip sack, due largely in part to Vinston Painter being pushed around easily by Cincinnati. He scored on a 9 yard touchdown pass to tight end Derek Carrier, and he got both wide receivers Brian Quick and Matt Hazel involved in the passing game. Matt Jones, Mack Brown, and Samaje Perine lined up behind McCoy with Brown earning the most yards, 13, on three carries.
Which rookie will you be watching most closely in the preseason finale later this week?
This poll is closed
Someone else (Tell us who and why in the comments!)