A few thoughts on the Redskins/Steelers matchup from Friday:
- It’s preseason game 1.
- It’s preseason game 1 after a long arduous NFL lockout.
Things I was looking for:
- The Redskins starters to be competitive against the Steelers starters.
- How would the Redskins 2nd, 3rd, and 4th teams look (how much depth)?
That said, let’s break down the game by quarters.
Even though the score read 0-0 at the end of the quarter, some of the Redskins new faces were awesome. Tim Hightower rocked the 1st quarter both running and catching the ball. Stephen Bowen had a sack and rookie running back Evan Royster picked up a first down on a third down play. The MVP of the quarter to me was fullback Darrel Young who made several key blocks including a huge one to spring Brandon Banks on a long return.
The Redskins didn’t score but, the offense looked much more efficient than last year.
The offensive line looked good in the first quarter and better in the second. They protected Rex Grossman extremely well and looked more comfortable in the zone blocking scheme than last year. Redskins look much improved offensively. I know this is vanilla stuff but, the throw from Grossman off his back foot to Moss for the TD was impressive to say the least.
On defense, I know everyone is in the same boat but, there has got to be more hitting in practice. Some guys on both sides of the ball weren’t tackling very well including Chris Horton who had a chance to stop the Steelers runner but missed and let him escape for a 22 yard TD.
The real goat of the first half though was Shayne Graham who I rode to last year’s fantasy football semi-finals in our league when he was on the Patriots, shanked a chip shot left then looked like he over compensated on a much longer field goal which he pushed right.
Score at the end of the half 7-7 (should have been 13-7).
NOTE: This kicking off from the 35 yard line has got to go.
I talked about depth before. One thing to note was Sean Locklear was in at tackle starting this quarter. Now while I’m not a huge Sean Locklear fan, he is a HUGE improvement over Stephan Heyer. I was also watching center Donovan Raiola as well as I am not high on Will Montgomery at the center position. Both looked good. Raiola though struggled on a couple of inside runs by Roy Helu.
I was very interested to watch Roy Helu this quarter. He struggled running inside but, on the stretch runs, he was awesome.
Leonard Hankerson right now looks like he’s behind the others. His route running on a hook looked lazy at best and looked like he wasn’t running full speed on a crossing route which caused a dropped pass. Niles Paul on the other hand made a great catch near the sideline.
Aldrick Robinson needs some more seasoning as a punt returner (otherwise God help us if Banks gets hurt) as he muffed not one but two chances.
The defense, even the 2nd and 3rd string players, looked good. The Steelers only had one possession this quarter.
Quarter ends 10-7 in the Redskins favor.
The Steelers had three possessions this quarter with two of them 3 and outs. Graham Gano hits two field goals this quarter, on from 45 which looked like it might have been good from 60. The defense bent but, it didn’t break. Good news there.
Final score – 16-7 Redskins.
END NOTES: Lots of good things to like about this game. The Redskins looked much better prepared than the Steelers did. Remember though, it was only preseason game 1.