Washington Redskins: 5 Things We Learned Through Week 3 of Preseason
With dress rehearsal now complete, the Washington Redskins have their best gauge of the roster before finishing up with their final preseason game Thursday, and then ultimately kicking off the season September 9.
From battles at specific positions, to the development of the team as a whole, the Redskins have provided yet another compelling and entertaining start to the football season.
Here's a look at what we've learned about the Redskins through a majority of the preseason.
Third-String QB Train
It only took one game for the Pat White bandwagon to receive its jump-start, as fans moronically hit the airwaves, calling in to local DC radio stations and expressing their opinion as to why Pat White should start the season in place of the rehabbing Robert Griffin III.
Said train has seemingly derailed. As most of us promised it would.
Although I once favored heading into the season with just two quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins' most recent foot sprain was enough to think a decent, deeper insurance policy is best for the Redskins.
There shouldn't be any question as to who the third quarterback is.
In addition to continuity, Rex Grossman is the seasoned veteran with the most time spent in Kyle Shanahan's offense. And while his passes may sail, and his decision-making may lead us to rip our hair out, he gives this team the best chance to win behind Griffin and Cousins.
Ideally, you don't want the third-string quarterback playing. And in most cases, he won't.
That said, Grossman is the consummate teammate, a guy that much of the locker room respects and a quarterback who has started plenty of games in the NFL, including a Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, White ranks near the bottom of the league this preseason with a quarterback rating of 54.
Because I was caught completely off-guard (and I'm assuming I'm not the only one), forgetting to mention linebacker Darryl Tapp and his surprising play so far would be criminal.
Today, I'd say Tapp is a lock. He fires off the ball, he's intelligent, and he plays with great enthusiasm. The front office landed a good one.
In addition to Tapp, I've been impressed with rookie linebacker Brandon Jenkins.
Although he's raw in terms of overall football player, there's no looking past the fifth-rounder's athletic ability and combination of size and speed.
From game to game, you can see Jenkins working on his technique and discipline. But it won't come overnight. Expect to see him as a situational pass-rusher during his first season with the potential to become a more reliable backer in coverage as the season goes on.
Fan Club Fortune
It's a little disappointing—after continuous fan club attention by myself—to see that Lance Lewis has just two catches for 20 yards through three games. Yet I still think he makes this team.
As it generally always does, Lewis' roster spot comes down to numbers. If the Redskins keep six receivers, he'd seem to be the final one. But if they only keep five—perhaps in order to retain three quarterbacks—Lewis would more than likely be left out.
It was odd not seeing Lewis on the field more against the Bills last week, especially toward the end of a blowout game where he could have received more than a fair share of snaps.
Are the Redskins keeping him on the shelf in hopes that he clears waivers on his way to their PS?
If it were up to me, Lewis gets a spot on the final 53. He has the size, he has the hands, and he's settled between the ears.
There's no question as to Alfred Morris being the solidified starter in the Redskins' backfield.
It was more about how things would shape up behind him.
Through three preseason games, Roy Helu Jr. has impressed, appearing to have completely regained his explosiveness from a year ago. Given his health and skill set, Helu's the favorite to back up Morris and serve on third down. He can run with burst, he can catch out of the backfield, and he can contribute in pass protection.
Meanwhile, rookie Chris Thompson and veteran Keiland Williams have seen the most action in the deeper half of the position.
Thompson rebounded with a few decent runs against the Bills last week after fumbling against the Steelers a week earlier.
On his more effective runs against Buffalo, Thompson stretched effectively and decisively shot his lanes. But he wasn't consistent with it. He needs to learn to be patient when approaching the line.
Williams, on the other hand, doesn't stand out much with his speed or burst, but he's a grinder. He picks his spot, puts his head down and runs hard. He's also reliable as a blocker.
Finally, my guy Jawan Jamison has carried the ball just five times in two games for 20 yards. I'm hoping he gets a bulk of the duties during the team's final preseason game against Tampa Bay. I'm not the only one that believes Jamison has what it takes to make the team.
Stacked at Tight End?
The question has yet to be answered. But the potential would seem to imply some truth.
Starter Fred Davis appears to have put his Achilles tear from a year ago in his rear view, looking fully healthy and picking up where he left off as a consistent mismatch for opposing defenses.
The Redskins were sure to re-sign Logan Paulsen over the summer, bringing back their best blocking tight end and a reliable receiver who can often catch defenses napping.
Niles Paul enters his second year at his new position, and we should expect to see improvement. At the very least, Paul is a strong contributor on special teams and a willing blocker.
But the most impressive has been rookie Jordan Reed, who has hauled in four catches in two games for 39 yards, including an 18-yarder.
Reed has a natural ability to not only catch the football, but also see the field immediately following and make a play using his unique athleticism.
Watching Reed's development throughout the season will be intriguing. With his help, the Redskins could form an extremely dangerous group of tight ends who could place constant pressure on opposing defenses.