Washington Redskins: 5 Positive Takeaways from the 'Skins' First Contest
When the Redskins took the field last Thursday, it had been a culmination of 152 days of waiting for fans since the blockbuster trade that brought over the draft pick from St. Louis that assured Washington the quarterback that they had been clamoring for, Robert Griffin III.
While his debut was short, there was a lot of promise. Even amidst the snoozefest of a 7-6 game, there was plenty to take away.
Since we don't like to focus on the negatives when there is a season of so much hype coming, here's a detailed look at some of the positives that the Redskins' faithful have been waiting to see.
1. Let's Start with the Obvious
There was a reason that people were excited about a meaningless preseason game.
The hype around Robert Griffin III has been about as subtle as an air horn in a library. After hearing some negative reviews from training camp practices, all fans wanted to see for themselves what Robert Griffin III could do.
Although we didn't get to see him toss absolute dimes fifty yards down the field as we had seen in his college career, we were treated to efficiency. Efficiency is good enough after two decades of mediocrity.
The lost fumble was cringeworthy, but other than that, Griffin looked sharp, calm and ready to go. It was a nice reassurance of the investment that had been placed in the rookie.
The stat line reads: 4/6, 70 yards, 1 Touchdown, 0 Interceptions
Ask any Redskins' fan if they would accept that in the first two drives from their quarterback, and they wouldn't just accept it, they would pay for it.
Even though it's just one preseason game, the most positive thing you can take from the game is the fact that Griffin looked good. Not great. Good.
But after Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, Mark Brunell, and Patrick Ramsey, good is good enough for a rookie.
2. The Grossman Experiment Looks Like It's Finally over
It feels strange to root for one quarterback as if there was no tomorrow, and then hope the other one slips up so badly that he looks like he's on oil-covered ice. It also feels just as strange to put an awful performance by a Redskin in the positive section.
That was the scenario, however, last Thursday when Rex Grossman took the field. Every Redskins' fan was anxiously awaiting an outing by Grossman that was so bad that there would be absolutely no reason for Coach Mike Shanahan to even consider playing him again. Ever.
Just the simple thought of playing Grossman (other than injuries) would be inexcusable. I'm guessing that Shanahan was the only one who was disappointed.
Just like Griffin, Grossman's stat line speaks for itself: 2/10, 22 Yards, 0 TD's or INT's
That was also against the backup defense.
3. Clear Emergence in the Starting Wide Receiver Department
Lost in the shuffle of the RG3 deal, there were a couple of big money signings in the receiving corps that were overlooked.
Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon each signed five year deals with Garcon getting a huge $42 million contract. So far, so good.
Morgan had four grabs for 49 yards, while Garcon added 58 yards on three catches and looked like the big-play receiver needed to pair up with Griffin.
The only negative was the flip that Garcon did into the end zone for the only touchdown of the game. But Redskins' fans don't care if you drive a Volkswagen into the end zone, as long as you get there. Just save it for the regular season.
With the receiving corps being so jumbled, it was nice to see that Morgan and Garcon set themselves apart early and had good chemistry with Griffin and Cousins.
Brandon Banks and Niles Paul are going to need more production if they want to see the field come September. But even if they don't, there is hope at the top of the depth chart.
That's a nice thing to say, isn't it?
4. DEFENSE! Clap, Clap. DEFENSE!
I don't care if it is preseason, regular season, postseason, scrimmage, a game of Madden NFL, whatever. If you only give up six points in one contest, you're probably going to win.
The defense only gave up 219 yards and there was a good pass rush from beginning to end. Four Redskins left Buffalo with a sack on the stat sheet (Bryan Kehl, Chris Neild, Markus White, and Ryan Kerrigan).
Granted, only one of them is expected to start. But it was great to see that the defense already had high expectations, and appears to have some depth.
The secondary also appeared to be ahead of schedule in the development process. It held the Buffalo Bills' quarterbacks to 119 yards and 14 completions on 34 passes, and added an interception from Richard Crawford.
If this can keep up the entire season, there's no reason that the Redskins can't get into the playoffs before Griffin even enters his prime. The 3-4 defense is finally starting to settle in, and with Bryan Orakpo and Kerrigan coming off of the ends, this could get very exciting.
5. No Sacks? Wait, What?
Breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Robert Griffin III didn't get sacked once. Neither did Kirk Cousins. Not even Rex Grossman.
It's been stated a million times, but here's number one million and one: The Offensive line will need to protect the huge investment of Robert Griffin III.
There's also been a depth issue thanks to an excruciating amount of injuries to the offensive line for the last few years. It was nice to see that the backups could be serviceable in the event a starter were to go down.
If Griffin can get time to stand in the pocket to deliver those beautiful signature deep passes, then Garcon will have a big year, and Morgan could have a big year. Heck, if that happens, even Logan Paulsen has a chance of making the Pro Bowl (don't count on it, though).
Again, it has only been one game. One meaningless preseason game. One meaningless preseason game that ended 7-6. But if you aren't excited, check your pulse. This is going to be fun.