Russell: Rough Redskins report card vs. Denver

Chris Russell
August 26, 2018 - 10:52 pm

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night was a dreadful performance in almost every way for the Washington Redskins in the “all-important” dress rehearsal for the regular season.

If the sample size provided anything – it’s that Jay Gruden and his staff have to crack the whip.

Now it’s time to hand out some report-card style unit grades (with an exception) for the Redskins 29-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Offense: D: (with one exception, Adrian Peterson) – Many on this unit had a sub-par night.  Once again, Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson did not play. They were joined by Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Cam Sims and Samaje Perine. 

Alex Smith was not very good in his limited work, playing less than two quarters. He finished the preseason with only 14 pass attempts in two games. He was (three-for-eight, 33 yards) on Friday against Denver and ultimately completely only 50 percent of his passes in the preseason with no touchdowns.

He was sacked on the second play of the game and wildly missed Vernon Davis once who was wide open down the left sideline. He also under-threw Davis on a pass that was knocked down. NOT GREAT, BOB! Or Alex, or Jay, or Bruce or Dan for that matter. The lack of work in August could come back to haunt Smith, Jay Gruden and the Redskins as we highlighted last week.

A couple of reasonably bright spots? Kapri Bibbs had a 38-yard rush. He’s on the roster. He also had two receptions for 20 yards. Paul Richardson had two catches for 31 yards.

The offensive line was average at best and the overall Redskins offense went NINE straight quarters spanning the second half of the New England opener until the fourth quarter Friday night. They were one-for-11 on third down and their red zone percentage in August is a robust 37.5 percent after two terrible years, previously.

Peterson should be the starting running back, period, for as long as his body holds up.

Defense: F MINUS: Is there such a grade? If not, I’m inventing it. The Redskins defense was brutal on Friday night. Their tackling was atrocious from start to finish. Rookie safety Troy Apke missed several, including one on a touchdown run. D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson both missed tackles in space on another touchdown run.

Overall, Washington’s defense allowed 146 rushing yards, 397 net yards, six-for-13 on third down, did not create a turnover and had one sack (by Anthony Lanier).

Another problem for the ‘Skins defense? They were beat by their own blitz. A few times on the opening drive and once on Royce Freeman’s touchdown run.

The only positive on the night? The Redskins defensive units forced five field goals by Brandon McManus who hit them all.

Special Teams: C – The Redskins usually struggle in this area the most when things go poorly, but Tress Way had a net punting average of 49.3 yards. Dustin Hopkins was one-for-one on his field goal attempts and had two touchbacks on his four kickoffs. They had no punt return game to speak of and the kick return was average to subpar as it always has been.

Coaching – F: Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff do not and shouldn’t care about the bottom line result but his team was lackluster in every way and that’s kind.

Here’s the bottom line: Alex Smith and the first-team offense better look sharp in Arizona to open the season or Gruden is going to get completely fried and every ounce of it will be justified. 


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