ES Coverage: 2012 Redskins vs Buccaneers
Redskins 30 - Buccaneers 3
Hello everyone and welcome. For this evening's game, I have enlisted the services of Jack Anderson to assist me in providing coverage. Some of you might know him from his days with SB Nation DC and some of you might know him as the guy I enjoyed abusing on Skinscast.
Either way, Jack is a bright young 'Skins fan who has always done a great job covering this team. I have no doubt he'll do a solid job of holding down the fort while I'm trying to stay awake on the sidelines during this final exhibition affair.
JACK'S PREGAME THOUGHTS
In the grand scheme of things, todayís preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers isnít going to be noteworthy unless youíre a member of Kirk Cousins immediate family.
But for us diehards, it will feel surreal.
This will be the first time since 2003 the Washington Redskins will take the field without longtime tight end Chris Cooley being a part of the organization. Arguably the franchiseís most popular player for the better part of the past decade, Cooley has played for three head coaches, caught passes from seven different starting quarterbacks and even managed to marry a former Redskins cheerleader.
With 108 career games Ė all in the burgundy and gold Ė it was understandable to see him so emotional when speaking with reporters yesterday. Heís given everything to this franchise and hasnít seen much success in return, but that lack of team success has never stopped him from offering his full effort on the field and support of coaches off it.
Players come and go, but itís not often a departure can really stick with you like this one. The last player to leave on such an emotional note for me was Darrell Green, but sadly Cooley never saw the Redskins reach the ultimate goal like No. 28 did.
So itís a very bittersweet parting for Cooley as thereís certainly some unfinished business. But on an individual level thereís no doubt that heís left mark, finishing as Redskins all-time leader in receptions by tight ends.
So thatís the biggest story in mind entering tonightís game. However, thereís still the little matter of finalizing the final 53-man roster.
With Cooley on the way out, that opens the door for Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul to make an impression. Paul hasnít had the most impressive preseason, but the coaching staff appears dead set on keeping him. Heís a hard worker, but sometimes I wonder if heíll be able to put it all together given his lapses in concentration.
The other disturbing thing is there seems to be so much confidence in a player who really doesnít hasnít actually accomplished anything at the pro level. Last year he wasnít given an extensive opportunity so I wonít knock him for his two catches on the season, but in college he never quite developed into the receiver Nebraska hoped heíd be. Either way, it appears the Shanahans are determined to find a place for him.
That being said, the running back situation is probably the biggest dilemma in my mind. Roy Helu has typically been my go-to guy if you ask me to pick a starter, but his recent inability to stay healthy amidst a crowded stable of competitors has certainly lessened my expectations.
Iíd love to get excited about Alfred Morris, but how many times have we found the guy in last few years? Weíve used so many running backs that look good for brief stretches, yet not one has managed to sustain any measure of success.
That leaves us with Evan Royster and Tim Hightower. Royster can really stake his claim with a big game and given the injury situation itís likely he could end up the starter Week One. I donít know about you, but that would leave me feeling rather uncomfortable about the running backs. I really do like Hightower, but the seriousness of last yearís injury makes me think twice about how much the Shanahans should count on him this season.
One player Iím very excited to watch is Dezmon Briscoe who is playing his former team tonight. Two preseason touchdowns donít mean much, but the kid is doing all he can to make a case on a team where receiver depth is going to be an issue.
That brings us to Cousins who can not only help himself with a strong performance, but also guys like Briscoe who will hope to form a little chemistry with him to catch the Shanahansí eye.
And of course could this be the last hurrah for Brandon Banks. Quite frankly, Iíve had enough of the sideshow act. The guy canít play receiver in this league and heís too much of an injury risk to give him a spot as a returner. Give me Richard Crawford and Santana Moss to handle the punt duties and save Banksí spot for someone more deserving.
Another offensive guy I want to see is Aldrick Robinson (heard nothing but good things about his development). Iíd also like to see some signs of progression from the reserves on the offensive line this evening.
Defensively, I see a battle for the eighth linebacker position, should the redskins opt to keep that many. Chris Wilson might have locked himself up a roster spot last week and Iíd expect Markus White to lose out on the final spot to Keenan Robinson.
Although Iím disappointed Kevin Barnes is on the way out, we knew this was coming. And if it means getting rid of another player from the Zorn era, then I can deal with that.
If Richard Crawford hasnít played his way onto a roster, then I donít know who has. The Redskins arenít exactly stocked full of talent at CB anyway so Iíd expect him to make it, but Iíll have my eye on Brandyn Thompson who should make this team with Barnes out of the picture.
Whoís the odd man out at safety? In what was considered a wide open battle coming into camp, Iím still not sure who gets the nod behind the Tanard Jackson and Madieu Williams. Iím leaning towards Reed Doughty and Brandon Merriweather.
Since notable cuts have been the topic du jour, Iíll mention Graham Gano. Always thought he had potential and itís a little disappointing to see the Redskins give up on a player theyíve spent a lot of time developing, but itís hard to pass up on Billy Cundiffís kick off numbers. They are excellent, but itís too bad to see Gano let go.
I donít know about the rest of you, but Iím ready to put this one in the books and get the season started. New Orleans is just around the corner.
With all of that out of the way, Iíll open the floor for questions.
IN THE PRESS BOX
5:00 - This is Jack and I'll be writing under murf's name today. I'll try and not screw things up as much as he would. Anyways this will be my first coverage since the end of last season so it's exciting even if it is a week 4 preseason game.
I had fun fighting through glorious DMV traffic and learned on the way that the Gray lot is now where media parking is located. Honestly, the walk wasn't too bad and quicker than the old shuttling from the mall across the street.
Caught up with murf and took in the new Redskins Reserve wine the team just released. I'm not a wine guy, but for anyone interested it'll be available at Harris Teeter starting in mid-September.
6:30 - Players on the field for warmups. I've been catching up with a few old friends and it's good to get murf's take on things. Also spoke with some of the beat guys who mentioned they were at least slightly surprised about the Cooley development from yesterday. Not a lot of love for the Cundiff signing either.
7:00 - Just got through player intros and we're ready to go. Hope all at home enjoys Antwaan Randle El's dulcet tones.
7:15 - Adam Gettis looked pretty good on several plays. He was able to get good leverage on several runs and helped give Cousins plenty of time on their first third down conversion. He did get beat on a later run, but Royster had already chosen his spot further down the line.
7:22 - Lorenzo Alexander looks like he's fitting in nicely at ILB. Solid run pursuit, also looked smooth in coverage and appears to be comfortable doing whatever the coaching staff asks of him.
7:25 - First Chris Cooley bit today. Fan holding a #47 jersey shown on the jumbotron and we get the obligatory COOOOLEY chant. Gonna miss him.
7:28 - I know it's just reserves, but the Redskins front seven looks very, very good. Controlling the line of scrimmage and getting constant pressure on Ratliff.
7:35 - Brandon Banks hasn't hurt his chances tonight. He seems to like playing TB in week 4 of preseason action apparently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znFb_xSOMZo
7:43 - Murf hits the nail on the head here: https://twitter.com/HomerMcFanboy/st...57515511242752. I'm still not drinking the NP Kool-Aid.
7:47 - Winners after the first quarter? For me I've got Banks and Royster by way of a Roy Helu fumble.
7:50 - Who would have thought Rob Jackson would be a Zorn era holdout? The dude has always brought it whenever I've watched him. Even in the regular season a la the Jacksonville game in 2010...
7:59 - Evan Royster isn't having a special game, but at this rate it might be enough to win him a week one starting gig. Also, Billy Cundiff nearly earned himself a short tenure (even by Washington's standards) as a Redskins kicker while helping make a tackle on that kick-off.
8:04 - Can we see that pressure in the regular season? The Redskins linebackers are just having their way with TB up front.
8:20 - Graham Gano on speed dial? Call him maybe? Given our skittishness in regard to new kickers, Cundiff couldn't afford to miss tonight unless it was of the 65+ yard variety.
8:52 - Really like the route running of Terrence Austin. He's more polished than some NFL regulars. Still it'll be tough for him to break onto this roster. Just not big enough.
8:56 - Well, I think Richard Crawford just made his case. What an athletic play to get that interception. The kid has done everything he can to make the team and I think that might have put him over the top.
9:04 - Nothing against Royster who's a solid back, but my eyes have told me Helu is the better back since college. Looks like it again tonight, fumble aside. Helu is quicker, faster and just an all-around better athlete with solid football sense.
Also, the wave has broken out here. Maximum intensity on Wednesday night!
9:08 - Looks like Richard Crawford is down. Not a good sign for someone who may have earned himself a spot tonight. However he did just walk off under his own power so that's a good sign.
9:14 - There goes the shutout. I'd like the point out that there are several CFL scouts sitting next to me in the press box. Usually a sign that the game your covering is of little consequence.
9:18 - For what it's worth, Briscoe badly missed his block on that big play from Banks.
9:23 - Helu with another TD. After that early gaffe, he's settled in nicely.
9:39 - Remember that time Tiquan Underwood got cut the week before the Super Bowl?
To see ExtremeSkins game photos click HERE
To listen to comments from Anthony Armstrong click HERE
To listen to comments from Brandon Banks click HERE
To listen to comments from Kirk Cousins click HERE
To listen to comments from Richard Crawford click HERE
To listen to comments from Billy Cundiff click HERE
To listen to comments from Fred Davis click HERE
To listen to comments from Kedric Golston click HERE
To listen to comments from Roy Helu Jr. click HERE
To listen to comments from Brian Kehl click HERE
To listen to comments from Josh LeRibeus click HERE
To listen to comments from Joshua Morgan click HERE
To listen to comments from Alfred Morris click HERE
To listen to comments from Aldrick Robinson click HERE
To listen to comments from Keenan Robinson click HERE
To listen to comments from Darrel Young click HERE