The Redskins were back in action Thursday night, and while the total game may have proven to be lackluster, there are some bright points to be pointed out. Truly, fans around the league know that the last game is generally the worst, especially following major marquis injuries such as the ones to Vick and Pennington. It follows then that the Redskins would salt away their best and look to the backups to see what could be observed.
The rushing attack was not pressed while the coaches were attempting to sort out the receiving and quarterback spots. It seemed Betts, Watson and McCullough were thrown in as an afterthought Thursday night to keep some of the blitzes off the quarterback. McCullough had a stand out night for 3 shining examples of the little things counting. He had a very good special teams effort, tackling a return player about to break free. He also recovered a fumble that occurred when the center to Rob Johnson snap didn’t work correctly. Last, he had a tremendous block of a blitzing linebacker that just folded the linebacker in half. Had he missed the block, Johnson would have been on the ground as he was looking the other way. Watson had a nice reception, but was otherwise unremarkable as was Betts. Trung, of course, had the night off to protect him for the season.
In the first half, Ramsey was in the lineup, but barely. He tossed an interception that wouldn’t have happened had it not been for pass interference, and fortunately the referees agreed. After a two series stint during which most of the plays were runs, he was replaced by Danny Wuerffel. Danny provided the most action in the third quarter when he and Patrick Johnson hooked up 4 times in a row leading to the Redskin’s one touchdown. Wuerffel looked sharp with most of his incompletions coming as a result of floating the ball over receivers’ heads. Rob Johnson replaced Wuerffel in the 4th quarter and had problems. While his passes were crisp, the backup linemen allowed pressure through. The center to quarterback snap was bobbled once, recovered by McCullough. Johnson then was hit from behind while running to escape pressure and lost the ball again, this time for good. McCants and Patrick Johnson looked particularly sharp receiving the ball.
The line played well in most instances with backups being cycled in and out very frequently. With Smith on the bench, Regan Upshaw delivered reasonably good pressure in his stead. The most impressive thing about the defensive line Thursday night was watching the new acquisitions Lional Dalton and Martin Chase penetrate the backfield, tackle backs behind the line and stop the Jaguars even on a 4th and inches. The linebackers, minus Arrington and Trotter, had a good showing with Marshall turning in a sack and Pierce not only causing a fumble, but recovering it as well. The defensive backs, minus Champ Bailey and after the first series, Fred Smoot, played very well for young backs. Ade Jimoh had very good coverage on most plays, especially considering he came in against starting receivers in the first half and still made plays. Todd Frantz has some good hits, and “Iffy” Ohalete was very good in coverage as well. Rashad Bauman did well with covering and both young cornerbacks were rarely caught out of position. David Terrell provided the major disappointment of the evening by allowing a touchdown run to go right past him and into the end zone. Mostly the play was very good with most completions by the opponent to check down receivers and short routes.
Special teams: Much better coverage tonight, with a couple of shorter kicks giving what might be misconceived as a long return. Punt coverage was tight, and other than one 39 yard punt, Barker had a good night. Hall converts on 3 of 3 including a 46 yard kick that had 55 yards range on it, and the returns on both kickoff and punts, while not stellar, showed improvement. The one drawback was Hall kicking it out of bounds on a kickoff. There has been a major improvement to this date in the Redskins special teams, however, and fans can maybe breathe a little easier now.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Rich Hilts