Once again, the Washington Redskins offense got off to a slow start, as the team went three-and-out on their first 3 drives and threw a pick six on their next series. However, the tide began to turn following that costly interception.
The Redskins would go on to score 10 points over the course of their next two drives. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but this is an offense that had yet to even move the chains or score a touchdown against a starting defense in the preseason up until that point.
Washington's starters finished the preseason with 13 points, 9 first downs and 174 yards of offense on 56 snaps against opposing starters. Those are very poor numbers, but they don't even do the ineffectiveness of the first-team offense justice.
- Six of the points came on field goal drives in which the offense was working with very short fields and failed to pick up a first down.
- All nine of the first downs came in one quarter against one of their three opponents.
- They averaged just 3 yards of offense per snap. When you substitute snaps with plays, the denominator will drop a little bit because plays that are negated by penalties will no longer count; but you are still looking at under 3.5 yards per play.
- The first-team offense went three-and-out on 8 of their 11 drives (73%) against opposing starting defenses and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on another drive. They only scored a touchdown on 1 drive (0.9%).
The defense will almost certainly improve this year, but it is highly unlikely that such an improvement will be anywhere near enough to make up for this kind of offensive ineptitude. The Redskins' offense must recapture at least the majority of its 2015 and 2016 form if this team hopes to have any shot at making the playoffs in 2017.
Note: * - Denotes starters in the following tables
|Quarterbacks (3 Players)|
|Kirk Cousins *||40||62%|
Kirk Cousins- Kirk Cousins finished the preseason with 83 snaps and 44% offensive snap share, both of which hover right around his career average. His playing time has this August has not been unusual; what has been different is his performance.
Sunday's game against the Bengals was another down showing for Cousins, who threw a pick six, was sacked twice (a career worst in the preseason), did not score and moved the chains on just 4 of his 19 pass attempts. Cousins also posted poor efficiency numbers across the board with a 52.6 completion percentage, 5.74 yards-per-attempt average and a 47.9 passer rating, which was his lowest preseason QB rating since his NFL debut in August of 2012.
His preseason completion percentage (56.8%), yards per attempt average (5.68), touchdown percentage (2.3%) and passer rating are all career lows for Cousins in the NFL's exhibition season. Of the 30 starting quarterbacks to play in the preseason (excludes Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco), Cousins currently ranks 27th, 24th, 25th and 22nd in those categories respectively.
Colt McCoy- Outside of a sack-fumble, McCoy had a solid day against the Bengals. McCoy completed 8 of his 11 passes for 76 yards, 5 first downs and a touchdown. He completed 72.7% of his passes, averaged 6.91 yard per throw and posted a game-high 121.8 passer rating.
Nate Sudfeld- Sudfeld did not take a snap in this contest, but Jay Gruden said that the plan is for Sudfeld to play the entire game on Thursday in Tampa Bay.
|Wide Receivers (12 Players)|
|Terrelle Pryor *||38||59%|
|Jamison Crowder *||35||55%|
|Zach Pascal||ST Only||N/A|
Terrelle Pryor- Pryor was only able to catch 1 of the 4 passes that Cousins threw to him; however, at least that catch came on a 17-yard first down on third-and-long.
He dropped a pass for the second time this preseason, with this drop coming on the play before Kirk Cousins threw a pick six. He was also responsible for a first-down negating illegal shift infraction.
Pryor is leading all Washington wideouts with 70 snaps and has been targeted 7 times (3rd most on the team), but he only has 2 receptions for 28 yards (29% catch percentage) to show for it.
Jamison Crowder- Crowder caught 2 of his 3 targets for a pair of first downs and 24 yards. The Redskins scored on both drives that Crowder had a catch on. His 13-yard screen reception helped to set up the first-team offense's only touchdown in the game. Crowder caught the only other touchdown scored by the starters this preseason.
Ryan Grant- Ryan Grant was not targeted on his 22 snaps in Sunday's game. Grant only has caught 3 passes for 24 yards and a first down on his 65 preseason snaps.
This is the first time that Grant has ever had fewer than 8 receptions and 92 yards through the first three weeks of the preseason. I don't think it's a coincidence that he's playing more with the starters this year and that his numbers are much lower.
Maurice Harris- Harris returned from injury and got some work with the starters, but failed to impress. He wasn't able to make a first-down reception on his lone target and negated a first-down run by Samaje Perine with an illegal block. Harris is no longer a lock to make the team.
Brian Quick- Brian Quick caught 2 of the 3 passes thrown in his direction for 19 yards and a first down, but he dropped his third target in the back of the end zone on third down. That was an untimely mistake for Quick, who has only caught 5 balls for 39 yards on his 60 preseason snaps. He'll likely need to more than double that yardage total this Thursday against the Buccaneers if he hopes to find himself on the roster.
Matt Hazel- Matt Hazel caught both of his two targets for first down receptions and a total of 25 yards. Both catches came on third down.
Other Wide Receivers- Josh Doctson was held out as a precaution. Robert Davis only saw the field on one play after leading the team in snaps and a number of receiving categories through the first two weeks of the preseason. Jamari Staples and James Quick did not play in the game, while Zach Pascal only got work on special teams. Levern Jacobs' injury has prevented from seeing any action so far.
|Tight Ends (7 Players)|
|Vernon Davis *||21||33%|
|Niles Paul *||19||30%|
|E.J. Bibbs||ST Only||N/A|
Jordan Reed- The focal point of the Washington offense, Jordan Reed, took his first snaps of 2017, after recently being removed from the PUP list. Reed caught a pair of 6-yard receptions on his 4 targets in the contest. The Redskins finished each drive that Reed was targeted on with a field goal.
He didn't start or receive as many snaps as the team's other top tight ends, but it was certainly good to see Reed on the field again.
Vernon Davis- Davis got the start for third consecutive game. He caught both of his targets for a total of 21 yards, with one of them coming on a key 12-yard first-down reception on the first-team offense's only touchdown drive of the game.
Niles Paul- Paul was out there on the first offensive snap for the second time this preseason, and he caught a pass for 5 yards on that play. That's certainly a great start, but it would've also been nice to have heard from him after that. Nevertheless, Paul's versatility makes a him a lock for the final 53-man roster.
Jeremy Sprinkle- Sprinkle dropped his lone target in the game. Jay Gruden has sung his praises, and specifically mentioned his hands, but Sprinkle has only recorded 1 reception for 5 yards thus far.
All indications are that he will make the final roster, but Derek Carrier is making himself harder to cut and it is fairly unlikely that this team will keep 5 tight ends.
Derek Carrier- Carrier led the tight end corps in snaps for the second time this preseason. He recorded both of the Skins' first-down grabs (13 yards and 9 yards) on their lone second-half touchdown drive, with the second catch coming on a touchdown pass from Colt McCoy. Carrier was Pro Football Focus' highest graded offensive player on the team in this game (79.9).
Derek Carrier is older, smaller, more expensive and under team control for a shorter time than Jeremy Sprinkle is, but Carrier is also a far better athlete and receiving threat. The team will have to either cut Carrier, cut Sprinkle or keep 5 tight ends. None of those three options are ideal, but it's also comforting to know how good the Redskins' depth at this position is.
Other Tight Ends- After only receiving a single snap's worth of work last week, Manasseh Garner got on the field for 9 plays against the Bengals. He was not targeted and has yet to catch a ball for this team. E.J. Bibbs' offensive snap total continued to decrease. He went from 5 against Baltimore, to 1 against Green Bay to none in this contest. Bibbs hasn't been targeted once this year. Both Garner and Bibbs have no shot of making the team.
|Running Backs (6 players)|
|Robert Kelley *||18||28%|
Rob Kelley- Kelley finally broke out of his slump with an impressive overall performance against the Bengals. After totaling just 21 yards, 1 first down and no touchdown on 15 opportunities (carries + targets) through the first two games, Kelley busted out on Sunday with 57 rushing yards, 2 first downs, a rushing touchdown, 1 reception and 3 receiving yards. Kelley led the game in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage (60) and averaged 5 yards per opportunity.
He forced two missed tackles and averaged 2.4 yards after contact, after only forcing 1 miss and averaging 1.4 yards after contact in the team's first two preseason games. Kelley also rushed for positive yardage on all 10 of his carries.
Chris Thompson-Thompson rushed 3 times for 9 yards, with one of his runs resulting in a first down. His biggest impact came on a 27-yard catch and run on a screen pass from Cousins, which was the longest play of the game. He has now caught a pass of 20 or more yards in back-to-back games.
Chris Thompson is one of the few Redskins that has looked good in all three preseason games. His 99 yards from scrimmage lead the team.
Samaje Perine- After leading the Redskins in yards from scrimmage last week, Perine cooled off in this contest. The rookie out of Oklahoma was only able to muster 5 yards on 5 carries, was stuffed in two short-yardage situations and failed to pick up a first down or receive a target for the first time as a Redskin.
Perine got a few snaps with the starters, but the bulk of his work came with the second-team offense.
Mack Brown- Mack Brown stepped in after Samaje Perine departed and rushed 3 times for 13 yards (4.3 Y/A). Brown hasn't played poorly, but he's yet to show anything close to what he did in 2016, when he led the NFL in preseason rushing yards. He's currently up to 26 rushing yards, after posting a total of 227 last year.
The preseason finale in Tampa Bay will be big for Brown. He rushed for 149 yards and a score in last year's preseason finale against the Bucs.
Matt Jones- Jones fell behind Mack Brown in the rotation and was the last Redskins running back to receive a touch in the game. He ran the ball 3 times for a total of 5 yards and 0 first downs. On his 7 rushes and 23 snaps this preseason, Jones has totaled just 8 yards (1.1 average) and has yet to run for a first down. His biggest contribution came as a receiver, with 2 receptions for 10 yards (0 first downs).
With Kelley and Thompson finishing their preseasons healthy, Jones chances of making the roster are all but officially dead in the water.
Kenny Hillard- Kenny Hillard was given two more token snaps to bring his total to three this August, but has still yet to receive a touch of any kind. He is nothing more than a camp body.
|Offensive Linemen (16 Players)|
|Trent Williams *||40||62%|
|Shawn Lauvao *||40||62%|
|Chase Roullier *||40||62%|
|Brandon Scherff *||40||62%|
|Morgan Moses *||40||62%|
First-Team Offensive Line- The script was flipped this week, as the starting O-line struggled in pass protection, while excelling in the running game.
Both Chase Roullier and Trent Williams allowed a sack. Williams and Shawn Lauvao were called for a false start and a holding penalty respectively. Brandon Scherff allowed one of the five hits on Cousins. That play came on a third down, and the pressure led to an intentional grounding penalty.
The running game, however, was much improved, as the starters ran the ball for 77 yards, 4 first downs and a touchdown on 17 first-half carries (5.1 average). Those are all preseason bests by far for this group. In fact, those totals more than tripled their yardage, first down and rushing average numbers from the first two preseason games combined.
Second-Team Offensive Line- Ty Nsekhe, Kyle Kalis, Tyler Catalina and Vinston Painter played on the second-team line again. The only change to this group was that Ronald Patrick replaced Chase Roullier at center.
The Skins were only able to move the ball 19 yards on the ground in the second half behind that combination.
In the passing game, Vinston Painter allowed a third-down sack-fumble. That play was a big hit to Painter's already shrinking chance of making roster.
Chase Roullier- The common denominator for the team's rushing success may be Chase Roullier, who started in this game, after working with the second team in last week's impressive run-blocking effort by that unit.
Rouillier had Pro Football Focus' third best running-blocking grade at this position this week and is the site's highest graded center this preseason (82.3).
Other Offensive Linemen- Isaiah Williams replaced Tyler Catalina later in the game and got 11 snaps of work.
Arie Kouandijo's chances of making the team continue to diminish. He only received 1 snap on Sunday, after making it onto the field 22 times against the Ravens and 12 times against the Packers.
John Kling, Kendall Pace, the injured Spencer Long and the newest Redskin, Lucas Crowley, did not appear in any capacity against the Bengals.
ALL OFFENSIVE SNAPS
|Offense (44 Players)||Offense (continued)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Kirk Cousins *||40||62%||Matt Hazel||14||22%|
|Shawn Lauvao *||40||62%||Tyler Catalina||13||20%|
|Morgan Moses *||40||62%||Jeremy Sprinkle||12||19%|
|Chase Roullier *||40||62%||Matt Jones||11||17%|
|Brandon Scherff *||40||62%||Samaje Perine||11||17%|
|Trent Williams *||40||62%||Isaiah Williams||11||17%|
|Terrelle Pryor *||38||59%||Mack Brown||7||11%|
|Jamison Crowder *||35||55%||Manasseh Garner||5||8%|
|Derek Carrier||25||39%||Robert Davis||1||2%|
|Colt McCoy||24||38%||Kenny Hillard||1||2%|
|Ty Nsekhe||24||38%||Arie Kouandijo||1||2%|
|Vinston Painter||24||38%||E.J. Bibbs||ST Only||N/A|
|Ronald Patrick||24||38%||Zach Pascal||ST Only||N/A|
|Brian Quick||24||38%||Lucas Crowley||DNP||N/A|
|Kyle Kalis||23||36%||Josh Doctson||DNP||N/A|
|Ryan Grant||22||34%||Levern Jacobs||DNP||N/A|
|Maurice Harris||22||34%||John Kling||DNP||N/A|
|Vernon Davis *||21||33%||Spencer Long||DNP||N/A|
|Niles Paul *||19||30%||Kendall Pace||DNP||N/A|
|Robert Kelley *||18||28%||James Quick||DNP||N/A|
|Jordan Reed||18||28%||Jamari Staples||DNP||N/A|
|Chris Thompson||16||25%||Nate Sudfeld||DNP||N/A|
*All statistics are courtesy of CSN Mid Atlantic, ESPN, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Real Redskins and Redskins.com*