Cleat Geeks

REDskins Zone: Preseason rolls on

Finally with a chance to face someone other than each other, the Redskins traveled to Atlanta for the preseason opener with the Falcons Aug. 11.

The results? A mixed bag in a 23-17 defeat.

The Good

Starting QB Kirk Cousins directed a solid first series, completing all five of his passes for 39 yards before the series was stalled shy of midfield. Washington did add a 41-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins on its second series, directed by backup QB Colt McCoy, and third-stringer Nate Sudfield directed two second-half scoring drives, albeit against deep backups for the Falcons.niles-paul

It also was good to see tight end Niles Paul back on the field, almost a year to the day of a broken ankle in last year’s preseason that sidelined him for all of 2015. He lined up both at tight end and some in the fullback position. He did leave early with a slight knee injury, although he was back for the next few workouts and should be fine moving forward.

Defensively, the Redskins shut down Falcon starting QB Matt Ryan, keeping him from completing any of his four passes. Among those lauded by Coach Jay Gruden was rookie linebacker Su’a Cravens, who finished with four tackles and put a lot of pressure on the Falcons while playing some with the second and third units. Second year linebacker Martrell Spaight, who saw very little time as a rookie, also impressed, leading the team with six tackles on the night.


The Bad

Atlanta returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown. Adding that to a field goal to end the first half, it took a one-score game to a 20-3 lead with almost no time coming off the clock. While it’s preseason, and nobody cares who wins and loses in the end, in terms of game management situations, that’s a bad turn to take and would be a killer in November.

RobertKelleyThe jumble at running back didn’t work itself out much, as five backs combined for modest numbers – 22 carries, 68 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown from rookie free agent Robert Kelley, a Tulane product. That has led to a boost for Kelley, who got quite a few second-team snaps the next few days of practice over more-heralded rookie Keith Marshall. There is still time to figure things out in who will carry the ball, but there still is plenty of work to be done.

While it’s not necessarily “bad,” the Redskins were cautious and held out a number of veterans from the game, including OT Trent Williams, WR Jamison Crowder, TE Jordan Reed and WR Reggie Diggs. Rookie first-round pick Josh Doctson remains on the PUP list with a foot injury, officially missing all of the team’s time in training camp in Richmond, Va., which ended earlier in the week.


Preseason Week 2: vs. New York Jets, Friday, Aug. 19

The circus that is Jets football comes to Washington for the second week of the preseason. They’ll bring in recently re-signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who figures to get a few more snaps than in his team’s first preseason outing. It’s another chance for the players jostling for positions in the Redskin secondary to show what they have.

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