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Takeaway drill: present and future looked good; defense bent but did not break; no injuries; plenty to be happy about in a HoF weekend that was all about the Redskins.
Monday walkthrough: the Redskins come out strong, score immediately then play some preseason looking football before coming back from behind to beat the Colts 30-16 in Canton Ohio, the Redskins move to 1-0 in the preseason.
The first quarter started with Indianapolis electing to kick then trying an onsides. It was a strange choice for the start of preseason, seems like that's the kind of thing you leave for later in the season. Jason Campbell started the game with a short left pass to Chris Cooley on a buttonhook, then a long right run by Rock Cartwright then a 20 corner pattern to Antwaan Randle El for a touchdown to take a 7-0 Redsksin lead. Indianapolis responded with a 16 play nearly 7 minute drive but could only manage a field goal to close to 7-3 Redskins lead. Check Omnibus below, there was a lot of defensive talent out of the game for the Redskins. Jason Campbell was still under center for the second drive, he was sacked and the team had to punt. The Colts got the ball back and were driving at quarter's end, Redskins leading 7-3.
The Colts drive ended with a fourth and one turnover on downs four plays into the second quarter and Todd Collins came in at quarterback for the Redskins. Todd was 2 for 3 on his first drive, with a false start penalty on Bully McMullen (Wahoowa!), one of the eleventy receivers looking to make the team. The Colt's ensuig drive was cut short three plays later when the Indianapolis center snapped the ball over quarterback Quinn Gray's head and out of the end zone for a safety to make the game 9-3 Redskins lead. A bad Redskins drive ended with a Durant Brooks punt that was returned for a touchdown, a score that was nullified by holding on the Colts. Three plays and 44 yards later though the Colts went in for a score on Quinn Gray's 30 yard touchdown pass to Onrea Jones, 10-9 Colts lead. The next Redskins drive featured a steady dose of Marcus Mason (5 carries for 37 yards on this drive), Washington made it to the Indianapolis 21 before Shaun Suisham sent his only field goal attempt of the night wide right from 39 yards out. The Colts got the ball back with 29 seconds left on the clock and thanks to a silly pass interference play on rookie fourth round pick cornerback Justin Tryon made up 47 yards on one pass to get into position for an Adam Vinatieri 24 yard field goal at the half, ending 13-9 Colts lead.
Shaun Suisham's third quarter kickoff was touched back and the Colts, still led by QB Quinn Gray, went 70 yard on 10 plays but stalled at the Washington 10 and the Colts kicked a 28 yard field goal to extend to 16-9 Colts lead. The one and only Colt Brennan entered the game at this point and all he did was go 4 for 4 with a sack and a steady diet of Marcus Mason, ending with a 20 yard TD pass to unknown receiver Maurice Mann, tie game at 16-16. Colt was in no hurry but sure looked like a guy feeling it, he was slinging it. Jared Lorenzen, the original J-Load the 300 pound quarterback came in to the game for Indianapolis and went nine yards in six plays before the Indianapolis punted. Again with a steady diet of Colt Brennan and Marcus Mason the Redskins played out the final three minutes of the quarter, ending tied at 16.
The Redskins still had the ball to open the fourth quarter and went another eight plays, mostly Rock Cartwright and Marcus Mason ending on a 5 yard TD pass from Colt to Marcus, Redskins go up 23-16. Five J-Load passes later (two of them incomplete), the Redskins had the ball again after a punt, fourth quarterback Derek Devine now in the field for the Redskins. Marcus Mason got the ball four straight times for 33 yards before the Redskins had to punt. Again the Colts tried to move on J-Load's arm, on the first play after the two minute warning J-Load threw a pass short right to Onrea Jones, undrafted free agent signee cornerback number 40 Matteral Richardson stepped in front of the pass, intercepted it and took it 38 yards for the defensive touchdown, score now 30-16 Redskins lead. J-Load got the Colts 38 yards toward the Redskins end zone when time ran out, Redskins win 30-16.
Soapbox: I liked what I saw. It was a preseason game so we will not belabor it, simply that things seemed to go smoothly, there was no sense of being on a too big stage, no sense of jitters and as such there were no bad timeouts, no silly penalties, no clock management errors.
Final quarterback stats, as Redskins fans we need to start thinking more in terms of quarterback performance and efficiency in this new offense than in the past:
Jason Campbell: 5 for 5
Todd Collins: 5 for 6
Colt Brennan: 9 for 10
Marcus Mason is still the man, 18 carries for 98 yards and saw action in all four quarters. I am telling you people, this is the Redskins future tailback.
Durant Brooks took all the punts as near as I can tell. Don't know if this is due to his being way out front in the competition or simply wanting to see what the new guy can do on a big stage.
There is no competition (right now) for Shaun Suisham's kicker spot but there maybe better oughta be. He missed his only attempt, a 39 yarder.
Chattering class: Mike Wise at the Washington Post has a really really good column about what it means to be a Redskins fan seriously looking at a break with history, there can be no more living in the past here in the present, it's a whole new ballgame for Washington so go and have some fun. And if it all comes crashing down, well then Dan Snyder will find another patsie.
Jason La Canfora, also at the WaPo, comes crashing out of beat reporter land and into columnist land with a good piece on how comfortable Jim Zorn looked coming right out of the gate. Time will tell how he does in September and beyond, make no mistake with the football loving world (even lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery was excited for for some fucking football) watching closely Jim Zorn looked every bit the professional. Who knows, maybe this guy was ready all along, with little to no ego in tow maybe it never really pissed him off that he kept getting passed over. Jason has a pretty good point though, the workload on Jim Zorn will never be less than right now.
Omnibus: this was the Redskins first Hall of Fame Game since 2004 (op. cit.), Joe Gibbs' first season back with the team. Symmetry abounded, Joe Gibbs was back where he restarted coaching, watching the new coach start coaching here.
Two of the team's greatest players ever were honored this weekend with induction in the Hall of Fame, casting a shadow over a team built with veteran talent; there may be no Art Monks or Darrell Greens on this Redskins team, there are though at this point many players that have been with the team long enough to crack that pantheon of Redskins greats, if only the Redskins could make a deep playoff run. I'm talking to you Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels, Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Shawn Springs, Cornelius Griffin.
For all that veteran talent, all the pressure of Hall of Fame Weekend and all of Jim Zorn's supposed inexperience, the Redskins played remarkably cool headedly. We also learned that like other west coast offense practitioners before him, Jim Zorn and his staff will script the first 15 plays of each half (op. cit.).
Matt Sinclair wore the wired helmet for the defense, it normally would go to London Fletcher or presumably London's backup HB Blades. London did not play and HB just had knee surgery so don't get too used to it Matt.
That 2004 Hall of Fame Game under Joe Gibbs? Yeah that was the night Jon Jansen blew out his achilles tendon, until that point he had played every one of his 80 NFL games, since then he has missed 32 games in four seasons (ibid.). Four seasons is 64 games so 32 games = half since that injury. Jon was on the field for the first two drives along with Jason Campbell and the rest of the starting offensive line.
The Colts first 14 plays from scrimmage were run in the no huddle, another oddity of preseason play.
The Colts are carrying four quarterbacks, all name brand. Jim Sorgi started the game, he has backed up Peyton Manning the past five years, Quinn Gray was David Garrard's Jacksonville backup last season and J-Load was Eli Manning's backup in New York. Judging from last night's performance J-Load is the odd man out here.
Did not play in this game: Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Anthony Mix, Carlos Rogers, LaRon Landry, Rocky McIntosh, Rian Wallace, Londonb Fletcher, HB Blades, Jason Taylor, Erasmus James, Chris Wilson, Andre Carter, Anthony Montgomery (ibid.). That's a lot of starting or top reserve talent not in there competing.
Owner Dan Snyder had a friendly word with Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks before the game (ibid.). Ron was a quote finalist unquote for the Redskins head coaching position in January and February.
Zorn Addiction: Jim Zorn was calm cool and collected the whole game. Frankly I was waiting for him to reveal even just a little that this debut on this stage was freaking him out a little and it clearly did not, meaningless preseason game or not it was in Canton in front of all the Hall of Famers and half of Redskins Nation. I think Jim Zorn may be ready for this job.
Shooter: Jason Campbell aka Shooter looked terrific in two drives, 5 for 5 for 61 yards. He was sacked once, overall it was a great season debut.
Coltrolled: Colt Brennan looked excellent, 9 for 10 for 123 yards, he looked like a player with no awareness of where he was or what he was doing, he was just a football player. As I watched the game with neighbors last night we noted that Colt does not have the same kind of size as Shooter or Todd Collins aka Winedork. Also he throws with a sidearm delivery, combined with the size thing and could pose challenges if he ever makes it to the starting job with any team.
Washington Post recap, box score, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.
Other Washington Post photos: Jason Campbell, Colt Brennan, Rock Cartwright plowing through the Colts line, Colt Brennan again, Jim Zorn calling a play
Other recaps: Will at Hogs Haven, Bill at The Redskin Report, Tony Brown at Hog Heaven, Rich Tandler does not yet have a recap up, he has a liveblog from last night with a cool commenting widget up allowing real time commenting to look more like chatting, David Wagner at Riggo's Rag, Matt Loede at Redskins Gab (with bonus awsum pic of my man Marcus Mason), David Elfin at Redskins 360, Matt at Burgundy Army, he was there. Dan Steinberg has a lol on trying to find the game broadcast in Beijing. I imagine Lost In Translation meets Fear and Loathing.
Next up, the Redskins head home for the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills, a team no one expects to challenge for much of anything in 2008, excellent chance we get to see Gibran Hamdan in action, Gibran was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL draft by the Redskins, after spending the first ten weeks of the glorious trainwreck that was the 2003 season Gibran finally got into the game against the Eagles in the final week of the season replacing Tim Hasselbeck, the Redskins lost that game 31-7 and Gibran did not make the team in 2004.
Redskins rookie head coach Jim Zorn: Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images from here. Gibran Hamdan: Ed Wolfstein / Icon SMI from here.