For the Washington Redskins defense, their performance was a mixed bag. There was the spectacular play, like Matteral Richardson's interception return for a touchdown, there was solid play, like Marcus Washington and Khary Campbell stopping Colts' RB Dominick Rhodes from reaching the endzone, and then there was the NOT so solid play, like rookie Justin Tryon's interference penalty that set up a Colts field goal. While watching the game again(and again and again) though, there was some sdignificant positives to be taken from many young players that saw significant action against the Colts. Keeping in mind that there was not ONE single starter who saw the field on the defensive line. That being said, the defense as a whole, gave up 410 total yards. 5.6 yards per play, 5.6 per rush and pass. Not a good number. And Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache was NOT happy about it. "It was like three-day-old fish," he said. "Not the best."
While watching the game though, some names stood out to me. Perhaps the most notable was rookie safety Chris Horton. He started off well, recovering the onside kick on the game's opening kickoff. Special Teams coach Danny Smith had warned his players of the possibility, and Horton listened. He was far from perfect, but he made plays, and flew to the ball consistantly. In fact, this young man played with a reckless abandon one doesn't see very often from a rookie in his first game action. Rookies are often aprehensive, or lost, and Horton was neither.
Several other notables:
- Justin Tryon, yea, the guy with pass interference penalty, he seemed to handle his assignments very well. Defenisive Coordinator Greg Blache played almost the entire game in one zone defense after another. Zone defenses tend to be difficult for rookie corners to adjust to because of the diffetent use of the width of the field between the college game and the pro game.
- Linebacker Matt Sinclair, seeing action at middle linebacker, he finished with 5 tackles, and received high marks from Blache, "Matt was very solid," he said. "He handled the huddle and [the helmet communication] real well. I think Matt has had a solid camp so far. I like his competitiveness. He's a professional. He's taking care of his body and he's taking care of his study habits." Blache has also praised Sinclair on severl other occasions during camp, Sinclair may well be earning himself a roster spot
- Seventh round pick Rob Jackson also had a solid game, recording one sack and losing another due to a penalty, on himself for lining up in the neutral zone. Jackson showed some weakness against the run, but for a seventh round pick in his first ever game action, he held his own fairly well
- Newly signed linebacker Alfred Fincher, after being signed on the Thursday before the game(played on Sunday Night), Fincher impressed me with his instinctive play. He spent a lot of time around the ball, while only being credited with 1 tackle, he was in on at least four others that I saw
- Third year safety Reed Daughty, getting the job done, nothing spectacular, but showing a nose for the ball
- Leigh Torrence, only seeing limited action in order to give the younger players plenty of playing time, he may well have already solidified his roster spot
While the defense in general did not play that well "between the twenties", they did hold the Colts out of the end zone most of the evening. Points are what counts, not yaradage and each of the youngsters gave Coach Blache plenty to coach 'em up on. On to the Buffalo Bills.