It’s hard to glean much from any NFL preseason game – the stakes are low, and often the tempo and crispness of the game is fractionally lower; but there are things you can look at, and over-analyze, because that’s the modern day sports arena! Here are some quick hitters about the Washington Redskins 23-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium:
1. Jason Hatcher is Legit
Arguably the season’s most important offseason acquisition, Hatcher wasted no time in establishing that he was “as advertised” in his first action of the season. On just his second play in the burgundy and gold, Hatcher bull-rushed his way to Joe Flacco for a 12-yard sack; he made Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda look pedestrian at best. Despite offseason knee surgery, and not playing in the first two preseason games, the former Cowboys’ defensive end was solid, and gave Redskins fans a glimpse of what he brings to the table, and the incredible versatility that it gives Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett in defensive packages. Hatcher also played 17 snaps, despite only being slated for 10 – a positive sign that his knee is doing well.
2. The Redskins Offense Struggled
Robert Griffin III fumbled a snap, had a QB rating of just 27.1, and threw an interception on what will be his last pass of the preseason. Alfred Morris had 29 yards on 6 carries which doesn’t sound all that bad, but 19 of them were on one rush. Desean Jackson didn’t see enough action to make any receptions, and Trent Williams seemed more interested in fighting with players and referees, than blocking Terrell Suggs. If it weren’t for two penalties on the Ravens defense, the Redskins first string offense wouldn’t even have been able to post the three points they did on Kai Forbath’s 32-yard field goal. All in all it was pretty fugly. Good thing its the preseason and it matters about as much as male nipples.
3. Brandon Meriweather Is A Caged Beast
The only problem with that caged beast, is that occasionally he forgets to mind his manners when you let him out. He snot-bubbled Ravens running back Bernard Pierce removing him from the festivities, before getting flagged for a 15-yard penalty on a blow to the head of a defenseless receiver that ended up costing the Redskins points. Bittersweet. In fairness to Meriweather, I didn’t think the hit was that bad, but he obviously has to learn that he is earmarked and learn to keep his head UP when he tackles. Still, if the Redskins could get away with fines and him never getting suspended, I’d let him keep wreaking havoc back there. Unfortunately he doesn’t do the Redskins ANY good at all watching games due to suspension. Some sort of middle ground has to be found, but Meriweather is a caged beast.
4. Nick Williams Waving His Arms
Though he is in tough against a very solid Redskins receiving corps throughout, Williams continued to impress as he tries to earn a roster spot. He caught three balls on Saturday night, including a touchdown – his second in as many games. After spending much of last season on Washington’s practice squad, the wide receiver was brought up late in the year to the active roster, and obviously Williams worked hard in the offseason to give himself his best opportunity to start there this year. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Williams has created some NFL game tape for himself, and he may be a little harder to “hide” come cut down time; especially when he’s waving his arms so effectively, and saying, “Look at me.”
5. Sit Down Starters
Coach Jay Gruden said after the game, that the starters will not play at all in week 4 of the preseason, and that the game will be reserved solely for backups. With just two weeks until the season opener, those fighting for roster spots will have an entire game to stake their claim.
Weather didn’t help a lackluster game and mood, but at least the Redskins escaped nearly injury free (Morgan Moses sprained his MCL). In games that don’t count for much, that’s arguably the most important factor.
One more before the real deal. Check out game photos at Redskins.com.