Redskins Starter Snaps- All but two of the Washington Redskins’ starting defenders and the majority of their key defensive role players got action in Thursday night’s dress rehearsal game against the Atlanta Falcons. Shaun Dion Hamilton (chest) and Fabian Moreau were the only starters who didn’t suit up for this one.
The bulk of the first-team defense was on the field for the entire first half, which spanned 5 drives and 30 snaps.
The starters held the Falcons to 122 yards (4.36-yard average), 9 first downs, 7 points and a 17% conversion rate on third down (1-for-6). Combining those numbers with what they did against the Bengals last week, gives the first-team defense the following final preseason stats: 8 drives, 48 snaps, 162 yards, 11 first downs, 5 penalties, 50 penalty yards, 1-for-9 on third down, 1 interception, 1 touchdown return and 7 points allowed.
Falcons Starter Snaps- The Atlanta offense was also without just two of their starters (Julio Jones and Ty Sambrailo). Like the Redskins, the Falcons played their starters for the entire first half.
This is probably a good time to point out that Washington has been lucky enough to avoid at least one Pro Bowl receiver in all three of their games so far. Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, A.J. Green and Julio Jones are all among the very best players on their respective offenses, they’ve been named to a combined 20 Pro Bowls and the Redskins’ starting defense had the luxury of not having to worry about any of them this August.
Just keep that in mind before you get too excited about how good the defense has looked.
Yards- The Washington D held the Falcons to just 235 yards of total offense and an average gain of just 4.1 yards per play, both of which represent the best marks posted by the defense since they limited the Jaguars to 192 yards and a 3.9 average in Week 15 last season.
Points- After giving up 53 combined points to the Browns and Bengals the last two weeks, the Skins allowed the Falcons to score just 7 points this week. The team only limited their opponent to 7 or fewer points twice last year (6 points in Week 1 at Arizona and 3 points in Week 10 at Tampa Bay).
3rd & 4th Down- The Redskins’ defense gave up first downs on three of the twelve third-down plays they faced (25%). That’s even more impressive considering the Falcons only needed to gain 4 yards or less on five of those plays and picked up the necessary yardage on just one of them (20%). Two of the three conversions came on Danny Etling scrambles in the second half.
The Dirty Birds also went for it three times on fourth down and converted on two of those plays (66.6%). One of those conversions was the result of a fake punt run on the opening drive of the game.
Red Zone- The Washington defense allowed one touchdown on Atlanta’s two trips to the red zone (50%). The Falcons reached the red area on the first drive of the game and took a pair of snaps there before finishing off the series with a missed field goal.
Things didn’t go as well for the Burgundy and Gold the next time. Matt Ryan and company worked their way inside the Washington 20 three plays after Case Keenum’s sack-fumble and proceeded to pick up gains of 14 and 5 yards en route to a touchdown and their only points of the night.
This performance was par for the course for the 2019 Skins, who have also given up a touchdown on half of their red-zone stands in the exhibition season (4-of-8).
Takeaways- Two of the team’s three takeaways in this game came courtesy of the aforementioned fumble recoveries off of muffed punts. The offense scored 10 combined points on their ensuing drives. The other fumble they recovered was of the defensive variety, but they gave the ball right back to the Falcons with a fumble of their own before the play even ended.
Washington and Atlanta are tied for forcing the second most takeaways this summer (6).
Penalties- Redskins defenders committed three penalties for a total of 15 yards in Thursday’s game. All three infractions gave the Falcons first downs, but they failed to score on any of those series.
|Defensive Line (10 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Daron Payne *||27||44%|
|Jonathan Allen *||25||40%|
|Matt Ioannidis *||22||35%|
Jonathan Allen- Jon Allen recorded two tackles in the game, one of which ended a Matt Ryan scramble 4 yards shy of the line to gain. He was also able to generate a pressure for the first time this preseason, when he hurried Ryan into a throwaway on the final drive the defense faced in the first half.
Dating back to college, Allen has racked up at least 20 pressures and 8 sacks in each of the last three years he’s played more than five games in.
Daron Payne- The second-year nose tackle led all Washington D-linemen with 27 snaps played.
Payne didn’t fill up the stat sheet in this one, but he did make a couple of key plays on third down. He stopped Ito Smith after a gain of just a yard on a 3rd-and-2 play and hurried Matt Ryan into a throwaway on a 3rd-and-11 later in the game.
His only major mistake was a missed tackle on Smith’s 5-yard touchdown run.
Matt Ioannidis- Ioannidis teamed up with Payne to generate the aforementioned third-down pressure. That’s good, but the problem lies in the fact that it was the only pressure he was able to register on his 19 pass-rushing snaps this preseason. Ioannidis also failed to record a single traditional defensive statistic on any of his 35 total exhibition snaps. Hopefully, this quiet start won’t extend into the regular season.
Tim Settle- The Skins’ top backup on the defensive line sat out because of the knee injury he suffered last week. Settle should be good to go for the regular season opener against the Eagles.
He recorded 2 tackles (1 TFL), 2 hurries and a QB hit across his two appearances this August.
Caleb Brantley- Caleb Brantley’s injury (foot sprain), on the other hand, is more serious. It will likely end up sidelining him for the entire preseason and could linger into September.
Ryan Bee- Bee tied for the team lead in solo tackles (4), total tackles (5) and TFLs (1). On the downside, he was unable to pressure the quarterback once and after doing so twice in each of the last two games. He also missed a tackle for the first time.
JoJo Wicker- Wicker scored a hurry on the final drive of the game, and would’ve notched a 4-yard sack had the play not been wiped out by a penalty. He was not able to make any tackles, or record any traditional stats for that matter, for the second time this summer. His totals stand at just 2 hurries and a single assisted tackle.
If the team does, in fact, want to keep six D-linemen, then you have to give the edge to Bee instead of Wicker for the final spot. Yes, Bee has played almost 30 more snaps than Wicker has, but he’s also recorded 11 more tackles and scored two more pressures than Wicker has. And to top of it off, Bee has recorded a sack and a pair of QB hits, whereas Wicker has never done either in his two-year career.
Jonathan Bonner- The Notre Dame product was responsible for pressuring Danny Etling to scramble on a 3rd-and-9 play that the Falcons’ QB ultimately rushed for a first down on (10 yards). Bonner was able to make the tackle after a gain of 5 yards when Etling scrambled again four plays later.
Austin Maloata- Maloata, who couldn’t dent the stat sheet on his 20 snaps last week, was able to record a pair of tackles despite only playing 8 snaps in this contest. One of his takedowns stopped a Danny Etling scramble after a gain of just a yard on 1st-and-10.
He did, however, fail to register any pressures and committed the holding penalty that nullified JoJo Wicker’s sack.
Khairi Clark- The newest addition to the team was in for just 3 defensive snaps, all of which came in run defense. The fourth-string nose tackle did not record a tackle on any of those plays.
Clark averaged about 15 tackles, 1.5 TFLs and 1 sack per year in his four seasons at Florida. Nothing impressive to see here.
|Outside Linebackers (7 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Montez Sweat *||26||42%|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||13||21%|
Ryan Kerrigan- The longest tenured member of the Redskins’ defense both played on the fewest number of snaps (9) among the team’s starting defenders and did not crack the box score for the second straight week.
There is no reason to be concerned here, though. He only played 24 snaps in his two preseason games, which equates to less than half a regular season game’s worth of plays. Kerrigan also started slow last season (no sacks and 2 tackles in Weeks 1-3), before ramping things up in the final three months of the season (13 sacks and 41 tackles in Weeks 4-17).
Montez Sweat- The rookie first-round pick started opposite Kerrigan for the second consecutive week and played 26 snaps.
Sweat made his presence felt by almost single-handedly forcing a three-and-out on Atlanta’s third drive of the game. He kicked things off by shutting down a Matt Ryan scramble after the veteran QB gained 3 yards on the play. He assisted on the next play, which was also a rush for 3 yards, this time by Ito Smith. Sweat capped off the drive with a third-down hit on Ryan that came just as his pass fell incomplete.
I’ve spent most of the preseason telling you how athletic Sweat is, but let’s change things up and talk about his production since we just got a glimpse of what that can look like.
Sweat racked up 10 or more sacks (10 and 12) in each of his last two years at Mississippi State, which is an accomplishment that puts him in some pretty good company. He is one of just 21 Power Five players who have recorded 10-plus sacks in multiple seasons since 2000. The list is littered with NFL hits like Myles Garrett, Brandon Graham, Ryan Kerrigan, Von Miller, Jonathan Allen, Bradley Chubb and Anthony Barr.
Ryan Anderson- Anderson played 19 snaps in the dress rehearsal game. He notched 4 tackles on the night (2 solo), including a TFL and a pair of stops. The Falcons gained just 8 combined yards and didn’t pick up any first downs on the plays Anderson secured a takedown on.
He was also able to pressure the opposing quarterback (a hurry) for the third straight week, which is a feat that he’s accomplished just one other time in his career. His 6 total pressures this August ranks second on the team behind a certain other backup edge rusher.
Cassanova McKinzy- Cassanova McKinzy has been to the defense this preseason what Robert Davis has been to the offense, which is to say that he has easily been the most productive and valuable defender on the Redskins’ roster during the exhibition season.
The 26-year-old edge rusher displayed Junior Galette-like speed and bend on his way to registering game highs in both pressures (3) and sacks (2). The two sacks represented a new career mark for McKinzy, who also forced his first NFL fumble on one of them. He led all players in the game with a 90.9 PFF grade. McKinzy was able to do all of this even though his stepbrother passed away just days before the game.
I’m fine with Ryan Anderson getting his fair share of defensive snaps in the regular season, but I’d rather have Cassanova McKinzy backing up Kerrigan and Sweat in obvious passing situations than Anderson.
Marcus Smith- Marcus Smith earned a 90.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, as well. That high rating was thanks in large part to the fumble he forced when tackling Falcons running back Qadree Ollison for no gain. It was just the third forced fumble of his six-year career and his first since 2017.
The veteran out of Louisville also registered two hurries for the second consecutive game; he had not been able to generate a single pressure since Week 13 of the 2017 season and now he’s produced four in the last two weeks.
Andrew Ankrah- Ankrah assisted on a tackle after failing to record any of them against the Bengals last week. The rookie edge rusher has yet to register any pressures in the preseason despite rushing the quarterback 26 times.
Jordan Brailford- Brailford’s groin injury has kept him off the field all preseason and it threatens to prevent him from making the final roster.
Earlier today, Jay Gruden said the rookie edge rusher was still a couple of weeks away from being able to return.
|Inside Linebackers (8 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons *||29||47%|
|Jon Bostic *||21||34%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||DNP||N/A|
John Bostic- Jon Bostic led the team in both solo (4) and total tackles (5), despite playing on just 21 snaps.
He took down Austin Hooper a yard short of the marker after giving up a 2-yard catch to him on Atlanta’s first third-down play of the game. Bostic then watched as they moved the chains on a fake punt run the very next play.
Four snaps later, he was flagged for a neutral zone infraction that gave the Falcons a fresh set of downs. Bostic made up for the penalty by tackling Calvin Ridley 2 yards shy of the line to gain on 2nd-and-11, which was a major reason Atlanta punted two plays later and their opening drive finally ended after 13 snaps.
Bostic made tackles on each of the first three plays on the following series, with both of his first two takedowns coming just a yard before the line to gain. His third tackle of the drive and his final one of the night was made after he allowed tight end Jaeden Graham to catch a chain-moving 1-yard grab on 3rd-and-1.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- Harvey-Clemons started for the second consecutive week and played 29 snaps, which was actually his lowest total this preseason (39 > 41 > 29).
He was targeted on 4-of-12 coverage snaps (33.3%) and gave up a catch on each of those throws. Those four receptions gained a total of 31 yards, which is tied for the most yards he has allowed in a game. The other time he surrendered 31 yards was in Week 1 of the 2017 preseason, his first NFL game.
Surprisingly, the Falcons did not pick up a first down on any of the plays JHC allowed receptions or made a tackle on, two of which were on the same snap. He finished the game with 3 tackles (1 solo). He teamed up with Daron Payne on one of them to stop an Ito Smith rush for a gain of one on 3rd-and-2; Atlanta missed a field goal on the following fourth down.
Harvey-Clemons also registered a QB hit for the second straight week when he hit Matt Ryan on Atlanta’s first third-down of the contest. He generated pressure on just under of 25% of his rushes last season (6-of-25).
JHC did a few good things in the game, but they weren’t enough to make up for his poor showing in coverage. His 42.7 PFF grade for the game ranked last among all defenders on the team.
Shaun Dion Hamilton- SDH practiced this past week after injuring his chest against the Browns, but I guess the Redskins would rather be safe than sorry with their oft-injured starting linebacker; it is still the preseason, after all.
He has recorded at least 4 tackles in all seven of the NFL games (including preseason) he’s played more than 25 snaps in. Look for that trend to continue in 2019 if Hamilton can stay healthy.
Cole Holcomb- The fifth-round pick out of UNC did not play for the second straight week. Like SDH, he probably would’ve gone if this were a regular season game, but was held out for precautionary reasons (AC joint).
Holcomb, like Hamilton has a chance to be a tackling machine in the pros. He recorded 312 total tackles in his last three years with the Tar Heels, which is the third-most tackles by a player in the Power Five during that span (2016-2018).
B.J. Blunt- B.J. Blunt led the LB corps with 31 snaps played against the Falcons. He tied another team high with 5 tackles (2 solo), as well. Two of those tackles were made within two yards of the line of scrimmage and another one was made well short of the sticks on a third-and-long play. This was the rookie’s second straight game with at least 5 tackles and 2 defensive stops.
Blunt was the primary cover man on a third-down pass that fell incomplete and ended the first Atlanta possession of the second half.
He was used as a pass rusher once in this game and once last week against the Bengals. He racked up 11 sacks as a senior at McNeese State, so you’d think that Manusky and company would want to give him more opportunities to blitz than they have.
Marquis Flowers- The veteran linebacker assisted on four tackles in the game. He has recorded four or more total tackles in all three games with the Redskins. His first tackle was made on the Atlanta fake punt run for a first down, and the next three came on a four-play span early in the third quarter.
Flowers committed a holding penalty to prevent Ito Smith from catching a pass. At least, he didn’t surrender a catch the other time he was thrown at in the game (2nd-and-18 pass to Atlanta RB Tony Brooks-James).
He was forced to exit the game early with a strained Achilles.
Darrell Williams- The rookie inside backer played 15 snaps and recorded tackles on back-to-back fourth-quarter runs (1 solo), one of which stopped the Falcons two yards shy of the line to gain on third down. Unfortunately, his second takedown came after Atlanta converted on fourth down the following play. Those were the first tackles of Williams’ pro career.
Gary Johnson- The 23-year-old former Longhorn only played on the final defensive snap of the game for the Redskins. He rushed the passer on the play, but failed to get home. Johnson recorded 8.5 sacks in his two years at Texas.
|Cornerbacks (10 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Josh Norman *||30||48%|
|Quinton Dunbar *||29||47%|
Josh Norman- We didn’t hear much from Josh Norman in this one, but that’s not always a bad thing for a cornerback. He was held by Sanu on the first play from scrimmage, but did not show up on the stat sheet in the game.
The only pass thrown into his coverage was a deep ball that Ryan threw on 3rd-and-10 to second-year wideout Christian Blake. Blake had Norman beat, but he wasn’t able to haul in what would’ve been a reception of about 32 yards.
Quinton Dunbar- Dunbar started and played on all but one of team’s defensive snaps in the first half (29). He was only targeted once, but he allowed a 24-yard reception to Justin Hardy on the play, which represented the Falcons’ longest play of the night. Dunbar tackled Hardy after the catch and added a pair of solo takedowns on Ito Smith runs to bring his tackle total to three for the game.
Fabian Moreau- The third-year corner sat the game out with an ankle injury. It’s looking more and more likely that he will miss a game that counts for the first time since breaking his foot as a junior at UCLA.
Moreau is scheduled to have his ankle looked at by doctors on Tuesday, so we should find out more soon.
Jimmy Moreland- If Moreau can’t go in Week 1, then it will likely be rookie Jimmy Moreland, who was Washington’s primary slot defender on Thursday night, who replaces him.
Moreland did allow Mohamed Sanu to catch a pair of targets for 16 yards and a first down that set the Falcons up in the red zone, but this was the second straight week that the yardage he’s allowed in the passing game has dropped significantly (70 > 38 > 16).
He also made tackles four or more yards shy of the line to gain on a pair of second-down plays; the Falcons were unable to convert on both of the third downs that followed and were forced to punt.
So far this preseason, Moreland leads the Redskins in snaps from scrimmage (116), total tackles (13), pass defenses (3) and forced fumbles (2).
Greg Stroman- The other candidate to fill in for Moreau is Greg Stroman, who lined up in the slot 179 times last season and on 13 of his 17 snaps against the Falcons.
Stroman, who gave up 3 receptions for 20 yards and made 2 tackles against the Bengals, was not targeted and did not record a stat on Thursday night.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie- Rodgers-Cromartie did not play in Atlanta because, well, he’s just old (33-140d). The only corners on NFL rosters who are older are Aqib Talib (33-193d), Johnathan Joseph (35-131d) and Tramon Williams (36-162d).
Adonis Alexander- Alexander’s quad injury has kept him out of all three games, but he just started practicing again, so there’s a chance he’ll be able to go in the preseason finale against the Ravens.
D.J. White- White was on the field for 12 defensive snaps. He was not targeted and did not recorded any statistics for the second straight week.
Ashton Lampkin- The third-year defensive back also was not targeted and didn’t record any tackles, but he did let a golden opportunity slip through his hands in this game.
Lampkin was johnny-on-the-spot for the defense, as he was there to scoop up Marcus Smith’s fumble recovery at the 18-yard line. Unfortunately, he wasted the opportunity by allowing a Falcons receiver to track him down after a gain of 17 yards and to force him to fumble at the Atlanta 1-yard line. The ball rolled out of the side of the end zone, which resulted in a touchback for the Falcons and a turnover for the Redskins.
Lampkin did well to recover the fumble and secure the takeaway for the Redskins, but he literally fumbled the opportunity away and negated the good he had done by giving the ball away himself just three seconds later.
Deion Harris- The rookie UDFA out of North Dakota was targeted twice on 28 total and 14 coverage snaps. Both balls thrown Harris’ way ended up falling incomplete, including a deep pass on fourth down that he defended to prevent what would’ve likely been a touchdown. He did actually surrender TD passes to the opposition in Weeks 1 and 2, so this was a welcome change for the young corner.
|Safeties (6 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Landon Collins *||30||48%|
|Montae Nicholson *||30||48%|
Landon Collins- Landon Collins looked good again, in what was his second appearance as a Redskin. The star strong safety played all 30 snaps with the starters and recorded 3 solo tackles, an assist and a TFL which shutdown a Devonta Freeman run a yard behind the line. He also deflected and nearly intercepted a deep pass that was thrown in his coverage to Calvin Ridley.
Collins has made at least 3 tackles in each of his last dozen regular season games; on the downside, he allowed three or more catches in half of those games. Hopefully, he can keep the former up, while cutting down on the latter at the same time.
Montae Nicholson- Washington’s starting free safety was targeted for the first and only time this preseason, when he covered Austin Hooper on a 3rd-and-4 pass that fell incomplete. Nicholson also made his first tackle of 2019 in the game; he pushed Mohamed Sanu out of bounds at the Redskins’ 5-yard line after he had beaten Jimmy Moreland for a 14-yard grab.
Deshazor Everett- Everett did not record a stat and was not targeted over the course of his 12 defensive snaps.
The 27-year-old backup safety has led the Skins in special teams in three of his four seasons in the league (2nd in 2016).
Troy Apke- Troy Apke saw the field for 18 snaps against the Falcons, 13 of which he took as a free safety. He was not targeted in the passing game for the second straight week, but he made tackles on a pair of Qadree Ollison runs that picked up first downs (gains of 4 and 7 yards).
He has yet to miss a tackle or allow a reception on any of his 75 snaps this summer.
Jeremy Reaves- The second-year safety wasn’t targeted for the first time this preseason. He also recorded 3 solo tackles, with two of those coming within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. A fourth tackle was wiped out by an Atlanta penalty. If you include that unofficial takedown, then Reaves has made 4 tackles in all three games this August. Through three games, he leads the team in both total (13) and solo tackles (12).
JoJo McIntosh- The UDFA who played his college ball at the University of Washington was quite the active tackler on the defense’s final drive of the night. He made all four of his tackles (3 solo) on the drive in question. That’s nice, however, only one of those takedowns was made within 7 yards of the line of scrimmage and McIntosh was the primary cover man who allowed the reception on two of those plays.
He was beat by Falcons backup receiver Olamide Zaccheaus on a pair of receptions that combined to gain 19 yards and picked up a one first down (17-yarder).
ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
|All Defensive Players (41 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %||Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|B.J. Blunt||31||50%||Troy Apke||17||27%|
|Landon Collins *||30||48%||Jonathan Bonner||17||27%|
|Jimmy Moreland||30||48%||Greg Stroman||17||27%|
|Montae Nicholson *||30||48%||JoJo McIntosh||15||24%|
|Josh Norman *||30||48%||Darrell Williams||15||24%|
|Quinton Dunbar *||29||47%||Andrew Ankrah||13||21%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons *||29||47%||Ryan Kerrigan *||13||21%|
|Deion Harris||28||45%||Deshazor Everett||12||19%|
|Daron Payne *||27||44%||D.J. White||12||19%|
|Marcus Smith||27||44%||Austin Maloata||8||13%|
|Marquis Flowers||26||42%||Khairi Clark||3||5%|
|Cassanova McKinzy||26||42%||Gary Johnson||1||2%|
|Montez Sweat *||26||42%||Adonis Alexander||DNP||N/A|
|Jonathan Allen *||25||40%||Jordan Brailford||DNP||N/A|
|Matt Ioannidis *||22||35%||Caleb Brantley||DNP||N/A|
|Jeremy Reaves||22||35%||Shaun Dion Hamilton||DNP||N/A|
|JoJo Wicker||22||35%||Cole Holcomb||DNP||N/A|
|Ryan Bee||21||34%||Fabian Moreau||DNP||N/A|
|Jon Bostic *||21||34%||Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie||DNP||N/A|
|Ryan Anderson||19||31%||Tim Settle||DNP||N/A|
|Special Teams Players (45 Players)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Matt Flanagan||12||50%||Ereck Flowers||5||21%|
|Marquis Flowers||12||50%||Zac Kerin||5||21%|
|Dustin Hopkins||11||46%||Wes Martin||5||21%|
|Jeremy Sprinkle||11||46%||JoJo McIntosh||5||21%|
|Troy Apke||10||42%||Ross Pierschbacher||5||21%|
|Cassanova McKinzy||10||42%||J.P. Holtz||4||17%|
|Marcus Smith||10||42%||Craig Reynolds||4||17%|
|Jehu Chesson||9||38%||Cam Sims||4||17%|
|Deshazor Everett||9||38%||Greg Stroman||4||17%|
|Byron Marshall||9||38%||Ryan Anderson||3||12%|
|Jeremy Reaves||9||38%||Jonathan Allen||2||8%|
|D.J. White||9||38%||B.J. Blunt||2||8%|
|Deion Harris||8||33%||Landon Collins||2||8%|
|Samaje Perine||8||33%||Quinton Dunbar||2||8%|
|Nick Sundberg||8||33%||Matt Ioannidis||2||8%|
|Tress Way||8||33%||Montae Nicholson||2||8%|
|Andrew Ankrah||7||29%||Josh Norman||2||8%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||7||29%||Daron Payne||2||8%|
|Jimmy Moreland||7||29%||Steven Sims||2||8%|
|Robert Davis||6||25%||Jon Bostic||1||4%|
|Kelvin Harmon||6||25%||Ryan Kerrigan||1||4%|
|Tony Bergstrom||5||21%||Montez Sweat||1||4%|
Snaps- Marquis Flowers and Matt Flanagan tied for a team-high 12 specials snaps. Flowers, who has played on 41 of the Skins’ 81 special teams snaps this preseason, has led the club in teams plays in all three games this month. Flanagan is just one behind him with 40. Yet, surprisingly neither player has recorded a stat on special teams so far.
Dustin Hopkins- Hop bounced back from a poor performance last week with a terrific one in this game. He connected on kicks from 48, 29, 23 and 40 yards out, which represents his most field goals in a game since Week 2 of last year’s preseason (5 FGM vs. NYJ) and is tied for the third-most makes in his career. He also hit on his lone extra-point try after missing one last week.
Five of the veteran kickers’ six touchbacks were booted into the end zone for touchbacks. The only kickoff of his that was returned gained 25 yards before being stopped at the 22.
Tress Way- Way, who had punted at least 6 times in each of the last two weeks, booted the ball away just three times against the Dirty Birds. Those kicks traveled a total of 155 yards (51.7-yard average).
The opposition didn’t gain a single return yard on one of Ways’ punts for the first time since Week 12 of last season (at Dallas), but this was an even bigger deal because they have allowed 228 punt return yards combined in the last two games, which is easily the most the team has ever given up in a two-game span with Way as their punter.
He put a ball in the end zone for third straight week, after not doing so in 17 consecutive games in 2018. Way also pinned the opposition inside their 20 twice for the second week in a row.
Kick Coverage- JoJo McIntosh was the only Redskin who was actually credited with a specials tackle in the game. He shut down an Atlanta kickoff return at the 22-yard line after a gain of 25 (caught 3 yards deep in the end zone).
Way’s two punts inside the 20 were both muffed by the Falcons. Robert Davis was instrumental to the Redskins recovering the fumbles on both plays. He nearly recovered the first one, but at least secured the ball for Troy Apke to do so. His recovery on the next muff was successful, though. The offense scored a touchdown and a field on the respective drives that followed.
This means Robert Davis has either been directly or indirectly responsible for the team scoring at least 7 points in all three games this preseason. There is really nobody else on the roster who can make that claim. He was already a lock to make the final 53, this performance just makes his case even more ironclad.
Special “Teams” Athletes- Davis and Apke make for good special teams gunners because they are both absolute freak athletes.
Per Player Profiler, Davis ranks in the 95th percentile or better among wide receivers in speed score (96th), burst score (98th) and catch radius (98th).
Apke is even more athletic than Davis. Obi Melifonwu is the only safety who has posted a better SPARQ score than Apke in the last six years, and there are only three safeties in recorded history who have ever bested his blazing 4.34 forty time.
Kickoff Returns- Atlanta only scored once on Thursday night, so they were limited to just a pair of kickoffs in the game. Byron Marshall caught the kickoff after the Falcons’ only score a yard deep in the end zone and returned it 19 yards out to the 18. He would’ve added another 7 yards of field position by simply kneeling down when he caught the ball.
He didn’t have the opportunity to do so on the opening kickoff of the second half, as the ball was caught at the 1-yard line. He bobbled it, which slowed him down a bit, before he gained 17 yards and was tackled at the 18, once again.
Marshall who is averaging just 17.3 yards per return (6 returns), hasn’t yet taken a kickoff past the 21-yard line this summer.
Punt Returns- Matt Bosher punted five times, but only one of those boots was returned. Greg Stroman fielded the lone runback at the 20-yard line and returned the ball 12 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the 32.
Stroman called for a fair catch on both of the other punts that were kicked to him. He caught the ball at the 16 and 22-yard lines on those plays. Steven Sims fair caught the ball at the 15 and the 11 on his two snaps as the punt returner.
Calling for a fair catch on a ton of the punts kicked their way is nothing new for the Redskins. No team had a bigger negative differential between the number of punts they returned and the number of fair catches they made than the Skins did last season (-6). Stroman, who was Washington’s primary return man, was responsible for 13 of the team’s 23 fair catches (56.5%).
That high number of fair caught punts and Stroman’s poor return average (3.38 yards) were a big part of the reason the Redskins ranked dead last in the league in punt return yards last season. Their 110 such yards on the year was their third-worst showing in team history (worst since 1970).
*All statistics are courtesy of ESPN, NBC Sports, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Redskins.com and The Washington Post*
Which of these Redskins will finish the year with the most QB pressures?
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Shaun Dion Hamilton