Updated: May 11
Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. Saying the team’s overall performance versus Denver was lackadaisical would be an understatement. The tackling was poor, the effort at times was missing and the Redskins simply looked flat. If history has taught us anything it’s that the preseason has little bearing on a teams ultimate success. The truth is nearly half the roster will be on the street in two weeks.
Franchise players such as Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder, who all sat out, are the core players on the Redskins offense. There were bad plays and horrible miscues most of the night, making the game hard to watch. Offensive lineman John Kling stood out for his underwhelming performance. The other backup lineman didn’t fare much better, but Kling, in particular, looked lost. In a one minute stretch he blew two assignments leading to incompletion from a QB pressure & a sack on McCoy.
As for Alex Smith, he looked hesitant with his reads all night. Its important to remember that fans will not see exotic playcalling or diverse packages until the regular season kicks off. Teams don’t routinely tip their hands in the preseason; this is done in an effort to limit the available film for opposing teams. Smith will be utilized in play action, zone read and most importantly RPO. None of that was shown with Smith versus Denver, so expect to see a different looking offense in week #1.
Rookie 4th round safety, Troy Apke looked overwhelmed and weak at the point of attack. Although he did make a few plays, overall he spent the game missing tackles and taking bad pursuit angles all night. The former Nittany Lion will have to earn his stripes on special teams, which will be the best way to utilize his speed this year.
There were a few bright spots in the loss though. Nose Tackle, Daron Payne looked unblockable for the second week in a row. Having Allen, Ioannidis, Settle and Lanier in a rotation could lead to big things for this defense. Coach Jim Tomsula has created a group of grinders that seem to have developed chemistry. Allen & Payne played together at Alabama as Skins fans know and have started something special. John Allen’s attitude of “Just be bad asses” will hopefully spread amongst the entire team. Unfortunately, the group will have to wait a few more weeks to have the reins removed.
Fabian Moreau made a few nice plays and had a nice pass breakup. He’ll be counted on if Norman takes a step back this season. Supplemental draft selection, Adonis Alexander looked the part of an imposing DB, but was visibly slow in his breaks. Alexander will most likely be a frequent game day inactive. The former Hookie will have a semi-redshirt year with Coach Gray getting his star pupil from Virginia Tech back.
The wide receiver pair of David Kidsey & Simmie Cobbs were third string quarterbacks Kevin Hogan’s primary targets who both scored touchdowns. All three are unlikely to make the team, but Cobbs looks the most likely to stick on the practice squad.
In a game full of missed tackles and miscues, the Redskins newest signee dominated the headlines. All-Pro Adrian Peterson and presumed week #1 starter didn’t disappoint. On his first carry as a Redskin, he rumbled for a 7 yard gain. He later followed that run up with a 13 yard scamper as well as a long gain on 4th and inches. The play would be the polarizing play of the game. With Denver’s defense stacking the line, Peterson only needed a few inches for a 1st down. As he took the handoff and observed the defense zeroed in on the center of the line, AD bounced the ball outside for a long gain. Those are the types of short yardage run plays Washington has been lacking for years.
The loss of Guice could be an opportunity for Gruden to focus on a more balanced attack. Guice is a running back who is still learning the intricacies of NFL defenses, so counting on him to dominate immediately would have been a tall order. On the other hand, the 33 year old Adrian Peterson looked like the most season ready player on the field, versus Denver. Having vets like Peterson and Thompson will only help this offense grow. For now, Peterson might be the lame-duck running back until Guice returns in 2019. That doesn’t mean that AD has to be similar to his predecessors, Larry Johnson and Shaun Alexander, that also came to Washington late in their careers. Although both backs were great, they clearly had nothing left when they signed with the Redskins. On the flip side, Peterson looked impressive, albeit in a meaningless preseason matchup.
After being a non-factor in New Orleans last season, the Redskins look prepared to give Peterson the keys to Burgundy and Gold run game with Thompson primarily used as the Redskins 3rd down scat back. Peterson will finally have an offense cast around him that will force defenses to tip their hands at times and respect this offense. Otherwise, Peterson will be running downhill on opposing safeties with ease. The question will be, how does Gruden put aside his desire to air it out when his team is behind? If Gruden’s dedication to the run versus Denver was any indication of things to come, Redskins fans could be in for an exciting season.
Thanks for checking out The Burgundy and Gold Report. With the preseason finale next week, the Cardinals game is creeping up. Stay tuned for more analysis and breakdowns.
Written By Adam Aniba
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