Sunday, August 21, 2011

Redskins at Colts Preseason: 2nd Look

I was a bit surprised that the offense looked as bad as it did Friday night.  You never expect things to go well when Manning is not in there, but they really took a step back from the Rams game.  In past preseasons it was easy to point towards horrid offensive line play, but this year the offensive line (both the starters and the subs) look great.

The passing game was clearly affected by the absence of Wayne.

We had pretty much all of the likely starters on defense in there early in the game, but their performance was spotty.  They gave up a long run to pedestrian running back Tim Hightower on the 2nd play from scrimmage (Gary Brackett took the wrong gap) which looked worse than it was. Bethea pulled his hamstring running him down.  Expect a few long runs given up in our first couple of regular season games as the guys get organized.

Firstly lets focus on the performance of the draft picks:

Anthony Castanzo (LT):
Castanzo started and played really well both in the run and pass game.  He may turn out to be a serviceable run blocker, but he will never be a road grater type like you see with the Ravens or Jets.  Brian Orakbo got by him to the inside a couple of times to pressure the QB, but that is no sin.

Ben Ijalana (RT):
Ben came in midway through the 3rd quarter at right tackle.  His destiny is to play right tackle for us, the only question is when.   No one got by him that I could see.  He is quite large and it is a long trip around him.

Drake Nevis (DT):
Nevis did not start but he played a lot and he played well.  He was not quite as active as he was against the Rams.  He got a lot of penetration.  I would not be surprised if he passed Molala in the DT rotation.

Delone Carter (RB):
With the Colts behind the whole game, Delone did not get too many run opportunities.  I did see him make a couple of nice pass blocks - and you know that the eye in the sky will not miss that.  He had one nice run on a draw that he broke outside.  People need to understand that this guy is not a power back, despite his size.  He has quick feet and does not run to contact like a power back would.

Chris Rucker (DB):
The stats say he had two tackles, but I can't say I noticed him.

Notes on other offensive lineman of note:

Jeff Linkenbach (LT):
Linkenbach replaced Diem at right tackle on the third series.  Last week it was Ijalana and Jeff was at left tackle.  Jeff did slide over to left tackle midway through the 3rd quarter.  He is really not large enough to be a good all around tackle on the right size as that is where you want your best run blocker.  But since he is a better than average pass protector and the Colts are a passing team - we can get by with him there if he has to play for Diem.  Of course if we look to have sufficient tackle depth, I would not be surprised if Diem got cut.

Joe Reitz (LG):
Joe started tonight and looked solid but not spectacular.

Mike Pollak (RG & C):
Pollak was not challenged much at right guard (where he started and played the first two series).  He then moved to center to replace Saturday.  Right now they are grooming him to replace Saturday, which is good for him as his lack of raw strength is a lot less of a problem there.

Jacques McClendon (LG): 
McClendon came in at left guard midway through the 3rd quarter to replace Reitz.  He looked fine and I did not see him miss any obvious assignments.  He had some nice run blocks.

Other players:

Jerry Hughes looked lost tonight.  I did not see any of his speed and athleticism, because his lack of awareness is crippling.  You can't teach athleticism, but you can train the mind.  Lets hope this happens.  He lost contain on the long run the Redskins had starting the second quarter and I saw him fall for run fakes all night and recover slowly.  At times he did not seem to compete.  Not good.

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