The good, bad, and more from the Redskins 23-17 loss at Baltimore.
1. Chris Baker. He wrought havoc along the line of scrimmage. He collapsed the interior of the line of scrimmage multiple times on both run and pass plays alike. He had a sack and created pressure that nearly led to sacks. He had a pass deflection as well. He and Hatcher together have a chance to be major difference-makers in a much-improved team pass rush this year.
2. Outside LBs. Orakpo, Kerrigan, and Murphy all had their moments. Murphy in particular was impressive both with the starters and in the 2nd half. He sniffs out screens just as well as Kerrigan does. He’s got great anticipation and feel for what’s going on. He also dominated the tackle he went up against in the 3rd quarter.
3. Keenan Robinson’s speed. He will make a ton of plays this year that Fletcher could no longer make. He reminds me of some of those Cowboy linebackers of Jimmy Johnson’s teams….Jones, Edwards, Myles….sleek and fast.
4. Brandon Merriweather in the box. Merriweather is smart, aggressive, and physical in the run-game. His helmet to helmet hit in coverage was a flashback to last year but despite the penalty/injury risk he brings, he’s legit at the line of scrimmage as both a run-stopper and a blitzing pass rusher.
5. Evan Royster. He’s a very good runner, he’s versatile, he’s a keeper.
6. Andre Roberts as a punt returner. He’s been impressive as a returner throughout the preseason. He had a nice 24-yd punt return in the first quarter that should’ve been good enough to set up some pts.
7. Darrell Young. He’s going to be on this list every week. He’s been the most underrated contributor on the team and may fly under the radar again. He’s an excellent all-around fullback.
8. Jordan Reed. He only caught one pass for 7 yards but he had another catch and run on a play brought back because of penalty and he appeared to get open a bunch but wasn’t thrown to.
9. Kirk Cousins. He gets an “A” for having a much better feel for the offense and the position for that matter than Griffin right now. However, he still doesn’t throw the ball consistently. His accuracy isn’t always there and he doesn’t have anywhere near the arm strength that Griffin has.
10. Santana Moss. He’s played well when he’s had the chance thru 3 preseason games. I think he’s a lock to make the final roster.
1. Starting offense. Led by a rough outing by Griffin and the O-line, the starting offense did nothing.
2. Griffin. A bad performance across the board against a team that had 3 of its top 4 corners out of the game. He doesn’t look confident as a pocket passer unless he’s throwing the deep ball which oh by the way, he throws very well. He got picked on a throw early in the 3rd quarter to a covered Alfred Morris. It appeared that Reed was open down the seam on the play. He could’ve been picked another once or twice. His decision-making was shaky. A scramble to the sideline should’ve ended with a throw out of bounds to save the lost yardage. Instead, he ran out of bounds for a 5-yard loss.
I still believe his best success for now would come in an offense that includes enough read-option to keep him as a consistent run-threat. They ran a read-option play on their first play from scrimmage and Morris went for 19 yards. They ran it once more in the 2nd quarter and Helu was stopped for a short gain. If Griffin had kept it on that play he may still be running. For now, Griffin plays better when the read-option is part of the gameplan. It’s the way he played in college and the way he played in 2012. Enough of it helps pass protection and makes it easier for him to throw off play-action.
3. Aldrick Robinson. I’m not much of a fan. I know he can run fast and beat defenses long but his route running and hands are shaky.
1. I thought Smith’s TD pass to give Baltimore a 10-3 lead was not controlled in-bounds.
2. Chris Chester got some work at Center with Long moving into his right guard spot. Gruden said Chester is Lichtensteiger’s back-up this year at Center.
3. In talking about his confidence in the defense, Gruden said that they may have to win some “13-10″ games…especially early in the season. If we play very good sp teams and really good defense, we’ll win some games.”