The good, bad, and more from the Skins 31-13 win in Baltimore.
1. Matt Jones. He stood out again. 7 carries/57 yards (8.1 per carry) with a catch and run for 17 yards. I love Alf but Jones may be the best all-around back on the team. He had the only good run with the #ones in the first half and he rolled up 37 yards on the ground on the opening drive of the 3rd qtr.
2. Jordan Reed. I hope he can play more than a few games this year….he’s a beast of a receiver.
3. Ryan Grant. He’s once again proving in a preseason that he can play. He had a drop on a play where he seemed to trip but he gets open and can make plays after the catch. Of course, the issue is the players in front him are going to get more opportunities.
4. Professional pass offense with Cousins and McCoy. Cousins and McCoy run Gruden’s offense professionally. They combined to go 30-39 for 275 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT, with no sacks. They are the only legitimate choices to play QB on this roster. Cousins should start with McCoy as the backup. Cousins knows what’s going on pre-snap and backs it up with decisiveness post-snap. 20-26 for 190 in a half is two things we haven’t seen in the preseason from a starter the last two years….plenty of pass attempts and good results. The ball gets out quickly giving WRs a chance for YAC. He’s not always perfect with his accuracy (he missed Grant on 3rd and 13) but he rarely takes sacks. His INT was a combo of bad decision/bad throw and a great play by Suggs. Cousins didn’t get much help from his run game and field position was terrible but he bounced back from a bad play which is something he struggled with last year. The TD pass may have been lucky but it also could’ve been caught by Roberts. BTW, the two things McCoy does better than Cousins is throw on the run outside the pocket and make plays when plays look dead in the water. McCoy is crafty…we saw that many times last year.
5. No sacks on 39 pass attempts. Very impressive considering the first-half offense had plenty of 2nd and 3rd and longs.
6. Preston Smith. Two sacks including the one that led to a Jeffcoat INT.
7. D-Hall improved. I thought he looked so much better than the last time we saw him in Cleveland. Here’s hoping he can get himself ready for the opener.
8. Duke Ihenacho. He’s a big hitter at the line of scrimmage.
9. Jason Hatcher. He looks healthy and looked good at times up front.
10. Keenan Robinson. He may be the best defensive player on the team.
11. Jackson Jeffcoat. Said this last week but he’s quick off the edge.
12. Rashad Ross. 6 more catches and 2 more touchdowns for him. He had a kickoff return of 35 yards and a nice punt return late in the game as well. He makes plays.
13. End of 1st-half defense. After the big kickoff return, the Skins held on 4 downs with a 4th down turnover in the end zone to boot.
14. Trey Williams. Another excellent young back. Super quick with great vision and feet.
1. First-half rush offense. Non-existent with just 27 yards on 11 attempts.
2. Special teams. Truly awful in the first half in particular. A near-blocked punt, a kickoff out of bounds with an offsides penalty on the play, and a 102-yd kickoff return allowed. There should be no patience for another sp teams disaster this year even considering injuries to key contributors Paul and Hayward. They made one nice play all night…the big fumble-forcing hit on a punt return late in the 4th quarter. The new tight end Derrick Carrier recovered it after the hit by #22.
1. John Harbaugh should’ve been penalized for running across mid-field during the first half fight. That’s exactly what Gruden was upset about.
2. Smooth two-minute offense at the end of the first half. Cousins was quick to hit the checkdown early to get them some room and went 7 for 7 on the drive.
3. Smart call by Gruden at the end of the first half backed up against their own goal line. Instead of risking a safety with a run or kneel-down, they rolled Cousins out and let him throw an incomplete pass to consume the final 3 seconds.
4. Cousins took a ton of shots but he doesn’t get tossed around like a rag doll similar to Griffin.
5. Great effort by Justin Rogers on a touchdown-saving tackle on the long kickoff return near the end of the first half.