Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Feel Pretty Good About Rex

But let's not get carried away

Takeaway Drill: No serious injuries except for the one that may be, or not; second top AFC defense in as many weeks; speaking of, nice looking Redskins defense you got there, let's not talk about the offense right now.


Quick jump to


Monday Saturday Walkthrough: The Redskins suffer another injury to a key starter, impress on defense and look not all there on offense as Washington beats the New York Jets 16-11 in New Jersey to move to 2-1 in the preseason, the real games are getting closer and the house is filled with nervous laughter.

Jets won the toss and deferred, the Redskins get the ball to start the first quarter, Rex Grossman at quarterback for Washington's first drive, Rex finds Joey Galloway on the first play, then to Santana Moss for a first down, that is that though and two plays later the Redskins are punting. New York's first possession, second year pro Mark Sanchez at quarterback, Braylon Edwards catches a first down, this is a long drive than ends with a 41 yard field goal by Nick Folk, former Cowboys kicker, Redskins defense was soft, Jets take an early 3-0 lead. The Redskins get the ball for the second time, Anthony Armstrong and Chris Cooley in motion as receiver, then Santana for 29, thanks to linebacker Bart Scott for the roughing the passer call, the drive stalls in Jets territory and Graham Gano kicks a 27 yard field goal, the game is tied 3-3. The Jets get the ball for the second time, Ladainian Tomlinson gets the ball and takes the first carry 45 yards, Jets score another first down and that is the end of the first quarter with the game tied 3-3.

The second quarter starts with the Jets continuing their second possession, London Fletcher makes a great play in pass coverage and the Jets are punting. Washington's third possession starts with a long incomplete to Santana Moss from the Redskins ten to the Jets 32, 58 yards in the air, next play was nothing to Willie Parker, two plays later the Redskins are punting. The Jets get the ball for the third time, it is a three and out featuring a 55 yard incomplete by Mark Sanchez, Jets punt... but waterbug return man and aspiring receiver Brandon Banks fumbles the punt return and the Jets recover, New York's fourth possession starts on the Redskins 34 yard line, just as it looks like the Jets are about to go in for an easy score DeAngelo Hall intercepts Mark Sanchez on third and eight from the Redskins thirteen, he takes the ball 34 yards, Redskins ball. The Redskins get the ball for the fourth time, Rex strongarms it into Joey Galloway, two plays later a tipped ball stalls the drive, Graham Gano lines up and belts a 42 yard field goal and the Redskins take a 6-3 lead. The Jets fifth possession has something though I do not notice until linebacker Chris Wilson sacks Mark Sanchez and the Jets are punting. Washington's fifth possession from the Washington five yard line, Keiland Williams for nothing then Rex bobbles a good shotgun snap into the end zone, Rex kicks the ball out the back of the end zone for a safety making the game 6-5 Washington. The Redskins free kick to the Jets for New York's sixth possession, on first down Mark Sanchez passes to former Steeler and current stoner Santonio Holmes, cornerback Phillip Buchanon strips the ball and linebacker Perry Riley recovers for Washington, one play drive, upheld by replay bitches. Washington's sixth drive starts with a long incomplete to Santana, Keiland Williams catches for first down, I hadsome blah blah, Rex fumbles and the Jets recover but teh ball is awarded to Washington, it happens to be fourth down and the Redskins punt. New York's seventh possession starts with eleven seconds left in the half, Ladainian Tomlinson for fourteen and the Jets are going to try a 62 yard field goal, no good and that is the half as the Redskins lead 6-5.

The Jets get the ball to start the third quarter, New York's eighth drive, Mark Sanchez still in the game, on third and short the pressure is there and Vonnie Holliday stops Mark short and the Jets punt. The Redskins get the ball for the seventh time, John Beck in the game at quarterback, Larry Johnson at tailback, John finds receiver Terence Austin for a long first down, we would see him again on a Santana Moss receiver screen in traffic for another first down, a corner blitz on third down stalls this drive and Graham Gano kicks a 41 yard field goal, Redskins now lead 9-5, this was a good drive. New York gets the ball for the ninth time, Mark Sanchez still in the game, good pressure on the passer by the backups, there is no Jets running game apparent, this is a long drive that goes through the end of the quarter with the Redskins leading 9-5.

The Jets continue their ninth drive into the fourth quarter in scoring position and in fact tight end Dustin Keller catches a short pass and pushes it over the goal line for a touchdown, former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk misses the extra point and Jets now lead 11-9. Washington gets the ball for the eighth time, Richard Bartel in at quarterback and he goes long long to Brandon Banks to start the drive, Brandon draws the offensive pass interference and that pushes the Redskins back to their twelve yard line, Fred Davis drops a pass, an intentional grounding is not called then a give up run on third and 25 and Washington is punting from the end zone. New York's tenth drive starts on Washington's side of the field, former Redskin Mark Brunell in the game, Jeremy Jarmon blows through the line easily on third down for a sack and the Jets are punting. The Redskins get the ball for the ninth time, John Beck is back in the game at quarterback, on third and thirteen from the Redskins three Brandon Banks catches in traffic and dashes for a first down, that is pretty much it for that drive and the Redskins punt. The Jets' eleventh possession is blah blah and FUMBLE, cornerback Ramzee Robinson recovers, Redskins ball. Washington's tenth drive has Richard Bartel back in the game, he connect immediately with rookie tight end Logan Paulsen, then a fifteen yard out to Brandon Banks, then a long Larry Johnson run to the right, two plays later Larry takes a trap screen over the middle for fifteen yards and a touchdown, Redskins now lead 16-11, nice work by Richard Bartel on this drive. The Jets get the ball for the twelfth time, Mark Brunell in the game, he fumbles on first down, defensive end Darrion Scott knocks the ball loose and Kevin Barnes recovers, Redskins ball. Washington gets the ball for the eleventh time with less than two minutes left in the game, everyone is done for the night, the team uses six plays to suck out the clock and that is that as the Redskins win 16-11 to move to 2-1 in the preseason, all in all a good game.


Soapbox: Forget everything you know about the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, all that Richard Bartel - John Beck back and forth and Larry Johnson scoring big at the end of the game, that is all worthless from an evaluation standpoint. It was all about the first two quarters.

Rex Grossman was far from an embarrassment, Clinton Portis sprained his ankle, Joey Galloway caught passes, DeAngelo Hall grabbed another interception.

It is hard to evaluate this team in that period, principally because it is preseason and it is difficult to evaluate most teams objectively; we know the team is keeping a lot of stuff under wrap and nothing I see tells me this is a team destined for a failure of a season.

What I see is a team that is still coming together. New players, new system, new dynamics. Have a look at the last two Redskins games, here I am excluding preseason game one against the Bills because I have come to realize they are that hapless, and focusing instead on the Jets and Ravens, two good offenses and two superior defenses.

The run game could be better, I honestly do not think head coach Shanahan needs to see one hundred yard ground games in preseason, we all know the running game is going to be there, even if it needs to be set up by the passing game a la Andy Reid's Eagles. Let these offensive linemen line up and knock some people around for a while and they will get in a run blocking groove; it is all Clinton Portis and all others are tied at number two, it really does not matter who is backing Clinton up.

The passing game is in good shape, Joey Galloway and Santana Moss both dropped what would have been long completions, there are no Randy Mosses or Jerry Rices or Steve Smiths on this team and the Redskins are going to have do without that playmaker this season; 2010 is all about finding one or two players in that mostly undistinguished group of pass catchers that Donovan McNabb can bond with; Chris Cooley, Santana Moss and one other will get us through, and if those two guys get hurt then there are bigger problems.

Rex Grossman is still a starting caliber quarterback, I fear we will get a good long look at what he can do this season, no one should expect Peyton Manning out of Rex, he looked sharp last night and if the line can block for him he will be able to find the open man. With Rex the Redskins may not be heading to the Super Bowl in Mike Shanahan Year One, we are not talking Danny Wuerffel either.

It is all in the difference between jelling and struggling; you want to see a team that is struggling? Go and have a look at that Cowboys-Texans game from Saturday night. Dallas looked like a bunch of amateurs, you know you are having a bad night when the preseason announcers start piling on.


Chattering Class: Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post writes (op. cit.) that there are still many questions about how this team really will perform, and I agree and as I have written above I attribute this more to coming together than to falling apart.

Tracee Hamilton also at the Post loves herself some receiver Anthony Armstrong (op. cit.) and I agree, I really think the guy looks like the new Santana Moss. With the team preparing for life after Santana starting in 2011 we may have a guy the team can keep. Main question of course is, can he extend it into the regular season, and can he keep it up for sixteen games plus playoffs.


Omnibus: Uniform watch: The preferred uniform of white jerseys and burgundy pants.

Broadcasters: Kenny Albert and Joe Theismann, not my favorite, much prefer Mike Patrick teamed up with Joe.

Joey Galloway now has a stat line, catching the first pass of the game. On that possession there was a near hookup, then another on the next drive. Rex and Joey hooked up in the second quarter as well, good arm, good catch.

Willie Parker opened the game at tailback and fell right down. Next carry, second possession, also fall down, same with third. Fourth was positive yards but maybe like three yards, fifth was a fall down at the line. Sixth was in third drive and nahthing. Seventh was an eight yard carry, feels good man.

Opening defensive line: Adam Carriker, Maake Kemoeatu, Kedric Golston, is this really a starting line? Albert Haynesworth made an appearance in the opening defensive series, not officially a starter but might as well be.

Redskins second possession, first quarter, Dono on the sideline in sweats with an earpiece. Big smile as always. One possession later we see offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan talking to Rex Grossman, Dono was right there listening.

Wedge rule: Jets were penalized for having four men on the wedge on the kickoff after the Redskins first field goal, a two year old rule but first time I have seen it enforced.

London Calling: Jets second possession, second quarter, London Fletcher was out in pass coverage, stretched out 20 yards downfield to break up a pass.

Rex's Arm: Redskins third possession, second quarter, Rex tossed the ball from the Redskins ten to the Jets 32, that is 58 yards in the air. Rex can rip it. On the ensuing Jets possession Mark Sanchez ripped an incomplete 55 yards from the Jets 36 to the Redskins seven, these guys can throw it.

Working titles for gamewrap: I Feel Pretty Good About Rex;

My big takeaway from the first half is, Rex can play.

At halftime Joe Theismann was impressed by the Redskins offensive line blocking, Trent Williams appears to have recovered from last week.

During the Redskins first possession of the second half Rick Doc Walker talked to left guard Derrick Dockery, he led the interview by saying that he was quote challenged unquote to do better. Coaching?

Larry Johnson in the second half, still not looking good.

The backups actually put together a good drive, Washington's first in the second half.

On this five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Joe Theismann reminds us that as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Jim Haslett had to play every game of the season on the road.

Jets second possession of second half, Albert Haynesworth pushed the pocket back and slammed Mark Sanchez to the ground with one hand.

Chris Horton lined up at strong safety in the second half, new guy Tyrone Carter was at free safety, saw Chris take a couple of bad angles.

21st century faux pas? During a sideline interview by Rick Doc Walker with defensive end Adam Carriker, Joe Theismann asked from the booth if that was gum or chew, ie chewing tobacco in Adam's mouth. Aside from Joe being orally fixated on a young man tobacco is gauche. It was sunflower seeds Adam was chewing on.

Mark Brunell? Holy shit, I did not know New Orleans let him go and I am surprised Mark is still in the game. He did good things for the Redskins in 2005 and then it all went downhill from there.

Ooh Larry Johnson gets a good carry. In the fourth quarter. Two possessions later he showed that he can run downfield when there is no one around him. Two plays later Larry catches a screen and takes it in for a touchdown, he almost fell on the way in, I am not trying to be down on Larry, at this point Larry Johnson sucks is a meme and he needs to displace that.

Plus ten internets for neighbor Bill pointing out that third string quarterback John Beck wears legendary Redskins kicker Mark Moseley's number three. Link

Does Jason Taylor have anything left in the tank? He was out there in the fourth quarter and I never saw him spotlighted except when he was heaving on the bench.


The Mastermind: Getting pretty accustomed to head coach Mike Shanahan pacing the sidelines in that long sleeve mock turtleneck, he seems pretty calm and agitated no matter the situation, maybe that is the deal.

Number Five: Quarterback Donovan McNabb did not play with a sprained left ankle, the story was that his ankle was sprained so badly that if this was a regular season game Dono would not have played.

Silver and Back: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams had a much better night than last week against the Ravens and Terrell Suggs, Trent held well against linebackers Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor, Calvin injured his foot in this game and did not play the entire first half and former Redskin Jason Taylor appears to have nothing left in the tank, I guess this means that Trent can play well enough to stay out of the headlines against in an average matchup which I would call good progress for any rookie.

Albert the Butthurt: Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth came in to the game at right defensive end on the fourth play of the Redskins first defensive series and played about thirty snaps, lining up at nose tackle and end, he played well and now he's all smug and shit.


Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.

Next up, the final tuneup as the Redskins travel to Arizona to play the Kurt Warnerless Cardinals, Washington will travel farther for this game than any other team this season for any preseason or regular season game. Fifth (fifth!) year first round Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart was pulled nine plays into Saturday's game, head coach Ken Whisenhunt denies Matt is out of favor because Matt was not brought to the team by coach Whisenhunt which of course means Matt is out of favor because Matt was not brought to the team by coach Whisenhunt. That and he sucks.

Rex Grossman: Getty Images from here. Matt Leinart and his beer bong from here.