For the first time this season, D.C. was able to welcome the NFC East Champion Washington Redskins into FedEx field as they took on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Redskins fans had an opportunity to see their quarterback Robert Griffin III on the field before the game. We saw it all running routes, throwing passes, Sprinting down the field. He looks ready to go, even Dr. James Andrews had to smile and laugh himself.
The Redskins held off the Steelers 24-13 but the injury bug struck. Kirk Cousins goes down and out with a foot sprain; Aldrick Robinson suffered a bruised left thigh when he was hit hard by DaMon Cromartie Smith late in the second quarter. Leonard Hankerson, meantime, has a right knee injury and Barry Cofield has a hurt hand. In the fourth quarter, running back Keiland Williams left with a knee injury. The good thing about these injuries? They are nothing serious.
What We Did Learn: Defense
First thing I notice about the Redskins defense is the front seven was on fire. Cofield and the gang brought some serious pressure making Big Ben and that offensive line look awful despite missing linebacker Brian Orakpo (bruised thigh), cornerback Josh Wilson (offseason shoulder surgery) safety Brandon Meriweather (knee). The defense was able to push the Steelers offensive line backward at the point of attack. I thought the rookies played fairly well especially when the front seven put pressure on Ben.
Where Can They Improve?
First area of improvement is penalties, the Redskins had seven fouls for 72 yards and three of them we personal foul calls on the defense. They have to cut down on the free yards and free first downs we are giving the opposing offensive team. Against good teams they will make you pay by getting points from those second chances. Second they have to tackle better in the secondary. I mainly see this from the newbies David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo. They have to wrap up and drive threw the defender. Last but not least they have to play the zone coverage’s better giving the safety the proper help. They had a problem on a few plays where the corner was not deep enough creating a void and hanging the safety out to dry. These things will be easy to correct and should allow the defense to be ready for Week 1.
What We Did Learn: Offense
Well, Cousins left the game early with a foot injury but Rex Grossman came out and put on a show in relief. Grossman went 10/16 for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He moved the offense up and down the field and dropped some dimes out there. I thought the Redskins receivers played well and they showed that it’s not just about Garcon and Moss. Robinson, Josh Morgan and Hankerson showed they will play a huge part in the redskins passing game. The offensive line played well generating holes for the running backs and protected Grossman and Cousins very well.
Where Can They Improve?
The offensive line can in prove in there communication, as we saw on the play where Keiland Willams fumbled there was a missed blocking assignment that allowed the defense to get deep in the backfield disrupting the exchange between Grossman and Williams. The Redskins can also improve on converting third downs. The Redskins were 22-percent on third down and that has to improve if you want to be able to sustain drives and get scores.
Overall you have to be pleased with the effort that was giving by the Redskins. It started a little sloppy for the offense and defense with penalties and three and outs. In the end they got it together and managed to put together a pretty decent showing. Mike Shanahan has the Washington Redskins on track and focused on the goal of starting the season off right against the Eagles. You just see this team very hungry and playing together on both sides of the ball. I hate to be the coaching staff who are making the cuts because the ‘Skins have a lot of talented players on this team.