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‘Skins Beat The Yinz

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 13, 2011 – 5:19 pm

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How much does winning a preseason game matter?  While the record won’t reflect the performance and critics will say that it doesn’t mean much, the consensus in both locker rooms last night was that it did.

Redskins center Will Montgomery said of matching up against their defense:

“There are some Pro Bowlers on their defensive front.  I don’t think they were ready for a team like us.  The way we run outside zone is different from most other teams.  Other teams like to run more inside stuff.  I think they might not have been ready for waht we were going to do.”

“We’ll enjoy this for the next 24 hours.  We’ll get in the cold tub tomorrow.  We still have camp though.  So we’ll be back to work in a couple days.”

Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman on the offense clicking in the first half: 

“Any time you start the season backed up on the 1-yard line and get it all the way down to the [defense’s] 10, that’s a good start.  We got in a rhythm and pretty much played consistent throughout the first half.”

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin expressed disappointment in his team’s preparation and showing:

“Injuries aside, it is not the kind of performance that we were looking for or hoping for tonight.  Quite frankly, we got out-played in just about all areas–blocking, tackling, running, throwing and kicking.  Their team was better prepared tonight than us.”

Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor gave some insight into his team’s reaction:

“Coach let us know.  The expectations are so high.  We came out and knew what we needed to do and we didn’t do it.  From a defensive standpoint we are going to make some corrections.”

The mostly commonly used phrase in Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan’s press conference was, “I was pleased with the effort.”

Preseason games don’t count for the record books, but it’s just posturing to think that they don’t matter at all.  Especially for a young team like the Redskins, any opportunity to analyze the roster is time well-spent.

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Special Teams Coming Into Focus

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 13, 2011 – 1:19 pm

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Going into training camp, it was a little murky as to who would serve as specialists in the special teams.  Long snapper Nick Sundberg seemed like a lock, but punter, kicker, and the return jobs were up in the air.

This last week has provided ample clarity to the various battles.

Kick/Punt Returner:  I wouldn’t always make this one category, but the same man was dominant in both facets last night.  Brandon Banks had two returns last night for a total of 77 yards.  That made him a bigger offensive weapon in the return game than anyone else on the field last night.

Terrence Austin also played well in limited opportunity, returning one punt for 19 yards.

Read more »

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Chris Neild Uses His Cloak Of Invisibility

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 13, 2011 – 12:24 am

You guessed it: no photo available.

The old cliche is that 3-4 linemen don’t register the big stats, but instead tie up blockers for the linebackers to make plays.

Chris Neild personified that tonight, seeing playing time in the second half but without registering any numbers on the official stat sheet.  But don’t think that that deterred the seventh round rookie–on the contrary.

“It’s always a challenge at first, but you gotta adjust,” he said.  “That’s the name of this game, it’s just straight from the start, you gotta be ready for anything. I think I did an okay job today, and all that matters is the ‘W’ at the end.” Read more »

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Fourth Quarter In The Rear-View

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 13, 2011 – 12:02 am

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According to you, the fans, Rex Grossman and Evan Royster were runaway players of the game.  That’s who I would have picked as well, but voting in your own poll is lame.

And according to my old psychology professor, it’s also unethical, but I digress.

The Redskins executed in the fourth quarter and put the game away with a late Graham Gano field goal.  Final score, Washington 16, Pittsburgh 7.

It’s easy to say that preseason games don’t matter when the team loses, but it’s hard not to smile when they win.  The Redskins came out of the gate fast tonight and never really wavered on either side of the ball.  The most telling statistics of efficiency are prolonging drives on offense and forcing the opposing offense off the field.

Tonight the Redskins dominated the time-of-possession battle nearly 2:1 (39′ 25” vs. 20′ 35”), including holding the ball for over 11 minutes in the fourth quarter.  The Redskins defense held the Steelers to 2-for-12 on third or fourth down conversions, and shut those out until the third quarter.

Not to pour cold water on anything, but the Redskins did benefit from mismatches versus second and third stringers, but looked good against those groupings.  There weren’t any huge disappointments because the players played well as groups.

Frankly, I’m pleasantly surprised at how well the Redskins played, given how many new faces were out there and the complexity of the offensive and defensive schemes.  There were five total penalties in the game, which is practically unheard of in a normal preseason game, much less the first one this year.

Now I’m sure that coaches will go back and find a lot of things to tweak and change, but a win for this group has to feel good.  This bucks the trend as traditionally being the worst game for fans to watch.

If this is the worst that they look this year, then Redskins Nation have a lot to look forward to.

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