Taking Stock of the Washington Redskins After 2 Preseason Games

Chuck CarrollContributor IIIAugust 21, 2011

Taking Stock of the Washington Redskins After 2 Preseason Games

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    In their first two preseason contest the Washington Redskins have looked absolutely dominant. The team outgained the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts, 867 to 336, in combined yardage.

    Certainly numbers like that give reason for the team to be optimistic.  But the Redskins have been playing on an 80-yard field for the most part, unable to move the ball inside the red zone.

    A bounty of drives stalled inside the 20-yard line leaving countless points off the board.  The only person benefiting from the team's red zone troubles thus far is place kicker Graham Gano, who is perfect on the preseason.

    Gano is among the Redskins players who took an elevator ride up in status following Friday night's performance against the Colts.  But he wasn't alone on the lift.  Here are nine other players that joined him; some are going up, some going down and some on their way out of Washington altogether.

Graham Gano: Going Up

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    Let's keep with the Graham Gano theme for now. The 24-year-old Florida State product was 3-for-3 Friday night, connecting from 26, 27 and 28 yards, respectively. 

    Overall he is 6-for-6 this preseason and in the driver's seat to retain his job after the Redskins released Shayne Graham last week.  The team signed Clint Stitser this past week to provide more competition, but he did not kick against the Colts.

    Gano and his wife also became parents for the first time this week.

    Elevator up two floors.  Again, he is in the driver's seat.

John Beck: Going Up

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    John Beck finished the night 14-of-17 for 140 yards.  He showed no ill effects of the groin injury that sidelined him for the preseason opener and looked comfortable under center.

    Head coach Mike Shanahan was pleased with Beck's performance following the game.

    “I thought he did a good job," Shanahan stated. "It was nice to get him some playing time. You get to see him in practice every day and it’s always nice to get him into game situations. It’s a good experience to run a system you’re not used to and finally get the chance to go live.”

    Elevator up one floor.

Terrence Austin: Going Up

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    Undoubtedly Terrence Austin made the most of his opportunity with Brandon Banks sidelined due to injury. 

    Austin averaged 11 yards per return on four returns with a long of 29 yards.

    He also distanced himself from Banks on the offense, where he proved to be a viable target as a receiver.  Austin had three grabs for 23 yards.

    Following Sunday's practice at Redskins Park head coach Mike Shanahan called him a "big-time player."

    Elevator up two floors.

Roy Helu: Going Up

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    It's hard to say Roy Helu didn't say hello to a roster spot following a 14-carry, 101-yard performance.

    Helu outgained projected starter Tim Hightower by 31 yards.

    It may be a stretch to say he has overtaken the ailing Ryan Torain as the team's No. 2 running back, but equally strong performances against the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers this preseason and you never know.

    Elevator up one floor.

Ryan Kerrigan: Going Up

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    Rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan notched his first NFL sack in his homecoming game. 

    The Purdue product has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches in short fashion and is expected to do big things opposite Brian Orakpo this season.

    Kerrigan has already proven his toughness this preseason battling through a knee injury.  He has one more exhibition game to go before coasting into the regular season.

    Elevator up one level.

Mike Sellers: Going Up

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    Veteran Mike Sellers is currently buried on the depth chart after transitioning to tight end.

    The good news for him is he saw some action on the goal line with the first-team offense early in the Colts game.

    He finished the game with two catches for 28 yards.

    Elevator up one level, but he really had no place else to go.

Rex Grossman: Going Down

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    Now lets take a look at a couple of players who caught the elevator going down.

    Rex Grossman didn't play all that poorly against the Colts, but Beck's performance was difficult to top.

    Overall, Grossman was 7-of-12 for 88 yards and an interception.  That stat line doesn't come close to his numbers against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he was playing with the second team this go around.

    Thus far Mike Shanahan is mum on who will start against the Ravens, but it's hard to envision it being anybody other than Beck.

    Elevator down a level.

Brandon Banks: Going Down

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    Lingering issues with his left knee has put Brandon Banks in somewhat of a predicament.

    He will sit out the Redskins' third preseason game against the Ravens, giving Terrence Austin more room to shine.

    Banks isn't battling Austin for a roster spot as much as he is his knee.  His health is critical to making the team.

    Working in his favor is a strong performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason opener, but that's about it at this point.

    Elevator down a level.

Rapping Up with the Washington Redskins Elevator

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    You could literally go through all 90 players on the Redskins roster in this format.  Some went up a level, some went down and there were even a handful of players that didn't get on the elevator at all.

    But assessing that would take all day and make for a boring read. 

    Not so boring, however, is your take. Leave a comment with your thoughts on who took the proverbial ride up or down on the escalator. 

    Do you agree with my take?  Let me know.

    And don't forget to follow me on Twitter @FNNChuck for more breaking Redskins news and analysis.