I thought I’d take a look at a few plays that made me either grin, groan or grimace in the first pre-season game.
This is not a comprehensive look at the entire game - just some selected plays that jumped out at me.
Shaun Dion Hamilton had two plays that stood out to me in a bad way. In the first play, he couldn’t keep up with the RB out of the backfield on the first drive, and after the catch made a weak diving attempt at a tackle that missed, giving up another 10 yards.
Early in the second drive, SDH dropped an interception that hit him in the hands waist-high.
On the same play where SDH dropped the INT, McKinzy hit the QB, Drew Stanton, taking him to the ground. As McKinzy rolled and stood up, the Browns lineman (#60) pancaked him again. This is how injuries can happen. I wasn’t a cheap shot, as Settle had pushed the lineman that direction off-balance.
Perine is lined up to Keenum’s left side. This is the 1st quarter pass play that resulted in a long (46-yard?) interference penalty on Robert Davis. When the play starts, the Browns rush 5, with 4 rushers coming from Keenum’s right side, where the Redskins have only 3 blockers. Perine sees what’s happening, steps across in front of Keenum and effectively blocks the free runner. If Perine doesn’t make this block, Keenum would’ve been blown up and the big gain in penalty yards never happens.
Robert Davis all alone and tracking the ball for a touchdown. The Browns’ announcers had just finished saying that the Browns’ defense would act conservatively on this play and “just keep everything in front of them”. It’s great to see Robert Davis healthy and doing well on the field.
If the Redskins are gonna blitz and bring 6 pass rushers, they have to be able to beat the blocking and get to the quarterback. Here, they bring 6, and never get close, as the Browns Offensive Line handles the blitz easily and forms a perfect pocket for Stanton, who is able to dump the ball to the receiver (Jalen Strong) running all alone in the middle of the field.
Brown’s receiver Rashard Higgins catches the ball and Redskins DB Deshazor Everett (#22) has the chance for an open field tackle. Higgins jukes Everett out of his jockstrap and leaves him lying on the turf. Higgins ended up at the 1-yard-line.
Grin, Grin, Grin
Jimmy Moreland, the people’s corner, stopped the Browns on 3 consecutive goal-to-go plays from the 1-yard line.
Despite the great focus and concentration by the Brown’s receiver, Jimmy Moreland was the one who made the great play here in the redzone, getting his hand solidly on the pass from Stanton and forcing the receiver, Callaway, to chase it out of bounds for an incompletion. Great play by the rookie DB!!
Moreland broke up the next pass (3rd down) in the end zone as well.
Jimmy Moreland makes the tackle and forces a fumble against the ball-carrier, Hilliard, ending the Brown’s scoring opportunity and giving the ball to the Redskins offense. Cassanova McKinzy makes a heads-up play to scoop the fumble and return it, avoiding any chance of a Browns score, and avoiding Washington having to set up shop offensively inside the 5 yard line.
Grin & Groan
Cassanova McKinzy looks great on this pass rush (grin) but doesn’t quite get home for the sack (groan). You can see how low he gets as he bends around the tackle; I can’t remember the last time the Redskins had a rusher who was so effective at bending his body as he turns the corner. He gets a pressure, but the Browns complete the pass play (though short of the 1st down line-to-gain). I realize that it’s only the first pre-season game, but I’m thinking that McKinzy is gonna make it hard for the coaches to cut him.
Haskins threw a pick-6. Inside the 5-yard line, Haskins tried to tackle the DB, Mack Wilson, who returned the INT. I don’t want to see the quarterback trying to make a defensive play in preseason. Let everyone else try to tackle him. In Preseason Game 1, I want Haskins to turn and walk off the field while the DB is returning the ball.
By the way, the last question that Haskins faced in his press conference was from a reporter who asked if anyone had talked to him about that tackle. Haskins misunderstood the intent of the question and defended his effort instead of his wisdom, saying that he had been beaten by a good stiff arm and that he had done his best.
Groan & Grimace
I’ve got no idea what Zac Kerin was seeing here. At the snap, he immediately looks to his left, where there are two defenders rushing against three offensive linemen, completely ignoring #99 Devereaux Lawrence, who rushes right past him as Kerin politely steps out of his way.
Perine, who is lined up on Haskins’ left, makes a heroic effort to move to the right and pick up the free rusher, but he is steamrolled by a DL who outweighs him by 55 pounds coming at fulll speed.
Lawrence blows up Dwayne Haskins.
This is a successful pass play, and what I liked about it was Perine’s pass protection. He is lined up to Haskins’ left side, but steps up and across to pick up a rusher coming from the right, blocking him effectively and giving Haskins plenty of time to survey the field and complete the pass to Sims.
This was more a matter of really poor awareness by the Browns offensive line than a great play by the Redskins, but it was fun to watch. On the last play of the first half, the Redskins rushed two players, but Ryan Anderson, after chipping a receiver, came on a late “blitz” and sacked the quarterback, Gilbert, who had been flushed out of the pocket by a strong rush from the right side of the defense by Cassanova McKinzy.
The Redskins opened up the third quarter with Geron Christian and Wes Martin on the left side of the offensive line, and had a fairly good drive that featured several runs to the left, most of which were successful. Here’s the 2nd play of that drive, which was a run that went for 6 yards. While not flawless by any means, these guys (Christian, Martin &
Roullier Bergstrom) looked pretty good throughout this drive.
I thought Haskins showed good movement in the pocket and general mobility throughout his time on the field in Cleveland, but this was probably the highlight play. The Browns rushed five, the Redskins O-line collapsed, and Haskins spun out to his left, sprinted toward the sideline, and threw a just-a-foot-too-far-outside almost-touchdown pass. He looked very mobile on this play - certainly not the “statue” I’d been reading about all off season.
Jimmy Moreland had a career type of game on his first visit to an NFL field to play in a competitive game, but Jeremy Reaves had a good game, too. On this play, Moreland forced his second fumble of the game (again, inside the 5-yard line, preventing a touchdown). Reaves flew in, scooped the ball up and scampered up the sideline. Great defensive play!
After the game, Haskins took responsibility for this sack, saying that he hadn’t adjusted the protection. The issue here was the hit that he took from the rusher. On the live play, I thought there should have been a penalty for hitting Haskins low, but when I re-watched it, I could see that the hit was above the knee, on Haskins’ thighs. I don’t want to see any Redskins quarterback getting blown up by a free hitter like this.
I’m looking at two plays back-to-back involving Deion Harris. He gets beat for a long pass completion on the first of the two plays. You can see that he didn’t have bad coverage, but the receiver out-worked him and came up with a big play. I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it in this article, except that — on the very next play — Harris had the pass hit him in the hands shoulder-high, and dropped what would probably have been a pick-6.
Deion Harris’ bad night got worse here, as his pass defense in the end zone is... puzzling. He initially hooks the receiver’s facemask, then seems to try to move out of the receiver’s way to allow him an easy catch, and finally jumps up in the air for no apparent reason other than to fully avoid contact with the receiver in order to insure that he doesn’t disrupt the catch.
Late in the 4th quarter, 6’8” UDFA tight end Donald Parham finally got in the game, and a short pass was thrown to him head-high. What looked like a routine catch turned into a wrestling match between Parham and the ball, ending somewhat anticlimactically as a simple incompletion. Parham doubled down two plays later by getting called for holding on a 3rd down pass play.
The final bad moment that I can’t ignore was the punt return for a touchdown by Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi of the Browns. He’s got such a great underdog story that I can’t be mad.
WHAT A MOMENT— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 9, 2019
Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi returns a punt 86 yards for a TD — and the whole bench clears to celebrate pic.twitter.com/anLZ3EEgAT
Much respect https://t.co/q2T5ODGbUZ— NBC Sports Redskins (@NBCSRedskins) August 9, 2019