RC began by discussing rookie mistakes made by Robert Griffin III on three early sacks by the Bears – sacks that generated a great deal of concern at CFA offices. Shanahan still believes, Campbell writes: “I think he’s going to get better and better. We had three sacks, and I think two of them were screens.” Beyond that, the sack fumble that looked so bad early on had a number of guilty parties in addition to Griffin. Chris Cooley completely misread the play, as did Alfred Morris. The results were catastrophic; the Redskins can’t implode like this in the regular season, so we hope they got it out of their system at the right time…
Niles Paul still appears to be struggling; however the team has a lot invested in him. Shanahan sees him in the same mold as Shannon Sharpe and even introduced the two according to this Times piece by Stepehen Whyno. We like Niles Paul and laud him for his special teams play. We’d like to see him be Shannon Sharpe. Thus far in the preseason he has not done so.
CFA was particularly concerned with the performance of the first team defense on the opening drive where they walked down the field. If everyone’s healthy Week 1 –and for right now it appears that everyone will be though there have been more than a few scares already- then we should feature an elite front seven. Perry Riley has looked particularly explosive this preseason, though he got completely faked out by Michael Bush on the Bears second touchdown of the first quarter.
The secondary however, continues to have questions that went unanswered Saturday. Brandon Meriweather has played well during training camp, so the team was relieved to learn his injury wasn’t serious. But it’s still a concern for a player who’s bounced around a lot prior to joining the team. Cedric Griffin was victimized on the first long pass to Marshall and was also beaten on a long pass to Stevie Smith last week. It’s early, but he’s going to be counted on to be our nickel back and needs to perform better to keep us from getting shredded in the passing game. At least Tandler liked the play of Richard Crawford.
Kirk Cousins was spectacular but he did it against backups. We think preseason games can be informative, however only in the sense that starters going against starters is still a game between professional football players even if the formations are vanilla. And really, that criticism of preseason play might be decreasing at least where defense is concerned. Chicago was using a number of different blitz packages against Griffin, and the Redskins have also been using various zone blitz concepts in each of the last two games.
But any success accrued when the scrubs are in must be taken with a grain of salt as any Marko Mitchell jersey owners can attest. Most of them are exceptional football players, but the majority is not at the professional level. It was great to see Kirk Cousins do so well just as it was great to see Brescoe and Robinson shine. But it cannot be carried farther then that their performance indicates they are developmental players with a nice shot to make the tail end of the roster. The idea of a quarterback controversy is nonsense. However, it is worth getting excited about Cousins as a player who could step in for 4 or 5 games and perform competently if Griffin went down.