- John Keim, ESPN Washington Redskins reporter
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A few thoughts and observations after re-watching the preseason game vs. New England:
Yes, Kirk Cousins was decisive with his throws, a lot of getting to his plant step and then throwing the ball. Very decisive on his touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson. Cousins also forced a first-down throw into double coverage to Robinson, who was never open on the play -- and there wasn’t enough room to throw him open, either. On this bootleg pass, Robinson is typically not the first read.
Initially on Robinson’s touchdown pass I thought the shallow cross by Santana Moss prompted the safety to cheat to his right a little, opening the window for the throw. But it was the Jordan Reed effect instead. Reed, tight to the left, started upfield then turned out. The safety anticipated, it appears, a seam route so he took a step or two to the right to combat. That’s what having good targets can do for other receivers. Subtle.
Robinson has had good preseason games each of the past two seasons, so let’s not go overboard. But he did run good routes and, on the play-action pass that he caught deep in his own territory, his speed created an opening for yards after the catch. His speed will keep him around.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger had a good week working against Vince Wilfork in a team setting and that carried over into Thursday’s game. On consecutive run plays, Lichtensteiger got Wilfork to stand up (or he was just being lazy with his technique and did it on his own).
Robert Griffin III was fine; nothing great, nothing horrible. A few things he can learn from. Griffin did a solid job getting the ball out and not taking any hits. In fact, the quarterbacks were unbelievably clean all night in part because of when they delivered the ball. One of the slower releases by Griffin took 2.6 seconds, which isn’t bad at all; that resulted in a swing pass to the right to Roy Helu after the first two options were taken away by New England’s defense. On the throw, Griffin moved his feet better in the pocket.
Griffin threw to Robinson in the corner of the end zone after hitting his third step in his drop. Griffin got away with a dangerous throw on a swing to Alfred Morris. Griffin stared at him the whole way and the corner, who had been sinking into coverage, read his eyes. Good thing for Griffin the ball was off target.
Right tackle Tom Compton does not look ready to challenge Tyler Polumbus for the starting job; hasn’t appeared that way in practice or in the game. Compton did not give up any quarterback hits or anything, but there were a couple issues against backups -- allowing defenders to get into his body; losing the edge -- that against starters would be tough.
The rookie linemen, guard Spencer Long and tackle Morgan Moses, both had ups and downs as you would expect. Long still needs to adapt to reading defenses, and the player in front of him and anticipating their rush. Long whiffed on a swim move by one Patriot and then failed to get his hands on him on the next rush as well. He did move well, as he has shown in the past, and worked to the linebackers just fine, but he's still learning.
The same is true of Moses. When he can drive his legs he does well -- he doesn’t always do this -- but he also had awkward feet on some rushes, which would lead to trouble against starters. Didn’t get his feet around on one block, causing him to lose the defender. Still needs to play lower. Moses also can’t let his hands get too wide when engaging defenders; got him in trouble once or twice. Again, a work in progress as the Redskins anticipated. His size someday could help.
The young running backs fared well, but neither was tested in protection. Roy Helu is much more proven in the pass game right now. However, both Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk flashed Thursday, both showing the ability to make defenders miss: Redd with physical runs; Seastrunk with speed. Seastrunk did not break tackles, but he got to the outside fast enough a few times that he was rarely touched until he was tackled. Did not gain yards after contact when running inside; too upright at times. Still, both flashed more than Chris Thompson. Redd had a good catch-and-run on a screen pass.
Seastrunk hits the hole ultra-fast. At times you wonder if it’s too fast, preventing the ability to set up the linebacker for the cutback. But the Patriots’ backups were getting to the hole fast -- just in case -- and still allowing cutback lanes. Would starters react this way? Helu’s impatience results in clogged cutback lanes too often. Seastrunk will have to learn to press the hole better, especially against better defenders. But that speed…
Redd was mixed between the tackles, a couple times going down right away but then other times lowering his shoulder, falling forward and getting an extra yard or two. Redd did a good job when running around the end of lowering his shoulder and getting a couple extra yards; it was not the same as Alfred Morris in 2012 trucking a starting linebacker but it was a good start for an undrafted free agent.
A few thoughts and observations after re-watching the preseason game vs. New England: Yes, Kirk Cousins was decisive with his throws, a lot of getting to his plant step and then throwing the ball.