SNIDER: Redskins are back, but preseason football is still a snooze

Rick Snider
August 08, 2019 - 11:14 am

Sometimes a taste is simply vanilla.

The Redskins open the preseason at the Cleveland Browns Thursday and hopes of seeing anything tangible are slim. Head coach Jay Gruden doesn’t flash anything he’ll use in the regular season on a game that doesn’t matter.

Forget rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins throwing downfield to his former Ohio State teammate Terry McLaurin for a touchdown. Unicorns will run across the field sooner than that play is shown despite every NFL coordinator knowing what offenses can do.

The only reason anyone will watch the second half when players only weeks away from unemployment are on the field is the corner screen where the first glimpse of what interactive gambling will be one day. And, that day is coming and coming right soon.

Case Keenum and Haskins will throw a few short dump-off passes and handoff to those running straight ahead. Oh, there may be an occasional crossing route to Trey Quinn or running back Derrius Guice bouncing outside. We’ll see what left guard emerges in coming weeks and whether left tackle Donald Penn can make Trent Williams’ holdout irrelevant.

So there are some individuals that will provide glimpses of the future. Linebacker Montez Sweat is an exciting pass rusher. Seventh-round cornerback Jimmy Moreland is playing for a job. Indeed, it’s not a bad looking rookie class overall for Washington.

But the hopes of seeing some exciting offense? No way Gruden’s giving away any secrets. Not a single one. Same goes for Cleveland, which is too bad because Washington’s defense needs some preseason tests to judge whether expectations of a potential Top 10 defense are real.

The reason for the NFL’s desire to go to an 18-game regular season and two preseason games at most is proven over this first round of games across the league. They’re dull and dirty and a tease. Admission should be free rather than regular-season prices at most venues. This may be the debut of many players, but it’s the beginning of the end for the old preseason system that will surely change with the new 2021 collective bargaining agreement.

And no one will miss it.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks