The Washington Redskins are trying to become the first NFC East Champion to repeat since 2004. However, in doing that there are a few questions that still need to be answered. Friday night, against the New York Jets, left some of those questions open. After some surprise, healthy scratches from the lineup there was a lot to be desired in the game. Here is my review of the week 2-preseason game.
The run game of the Washington Redskins needs to improve. For this team to improve on its record from 2015, the run game needs to gain consistency. It showed glimpses again on Friday night. However, it is not consistent. The offensive line is not creating holes. They are not sustaining their blocks long enough for Matt Jones and the rest of the RBs. Matt Jones is not showing the initiative needed to be the starting running back. His decision-making on the ground is not very good at this point. He is supposed to be the one to lead the Jay Gruden run game. 7th round draft pick Keith Marshall was jumped over by undrafted free agent Robert Kelley. Kelley’s quick decision making and one cut running style made the run game look productive in the second half. I would expect Kelley to get more action with Jones being injured. Keep your eye on how Head Coach Jay Gruden handles the run game going into the dress rehearsal.
Depth at WR
The Washington Redskins have one of the best wide receiver groups in the NFL. Starters DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder are already very formidable. Then you add the first round draft pick Josh Doctson to the mix and this group becomes extremely tough to defend. Also, with the speed of Rashad Ross and the exceptional route running of Ryan Grant makes this team very deep. Add in another name, Kendal Thompson. He, unfortunately, may become the odd man out due to the numbers game at WR, but keep your eye on this kid for the rest of the preseason. He would be a very strong add, but at the very least should become a practice squad player.
Depth at LB
With the surprise scratch of Will Compton, it gave Martrell Spaight and others significant playing time. Spaight made the best of a good opportunity. He ran down runners and did surprisingly well in coverage. His emergence will be a welcome addition to the LB corp. Also keep your eye on Willie Jefferson and Mike Wakefield in this mix too. Not all are going to be able to make the final 53, but these guys are making the decision difficult on the coaches.
Everett made a strong case for being the nickel or dime corner for the Washington Redskins. On Friday night, he seemed always to be around the ball. He had two forced fumbles on the night. Again, he is in a numbers crunch position. If he can play special teams, he will have an easier time at making the squad. Watch out for this kid.
Jay Gruden said that his reason for the late scratches was that he wanted to see the younger guys work. They got plenty of work. Now it is time to see if your starters are ready. Week 3 of the preseason is the “dress rehearsal.” This is the game in which the coaches set out a game plan, and the starters see legitimate action. Let us see if the Washington Redskins are ready for Monday Night on September 12, 2016.