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Things I Think I Think I Know

By Mark Solway | August 21st, 2012

Does my title confuse you? I am calling this things that I think I think I know, because they are preseason lamentations, and reaching solid conclusions from such vanilla observances, can often be sticky. They are things that I know that I saw, I just don’t know how much weight that can be granted, given the overall practice nature of the NFL’s preseason.

1) Kirk Cousins has a future in the NFL. He put on an impressive performance on Saturday night against the Bears, tossing three touchdowns, and shredding the Chicago defense time after time in the second half. Pretty impressive for a guy seeing his first real NFL game action. He looked poised and comfortable, and really seemed to have a firm grasp of his reads, and the Redskins offense.

2) Robert Griffin III has an even brighter future in the NFL. If you don’t think so, then open your eyes and look around – his superstar quality is already everywhere – and spreading. Griffin had a much tougher stat-line on Saturday night against the Bears for a reason – he played against NFL starting caliber players. Don’t misconstrue that hiccup as being anything more than just that.

3) There IS a quarterback controversy in D.C. It just isn’t between RGIII and Cousins. If Cousins can continue to impress, and be brought along slowly, he may challenge Rex Grossman for the backup position. Will that make the peanut gallery happy and sate your need for QB dysfunctionality? To be clear, even that won’t be any time soon, because Mike Shanahan is not going to go into the NFL season with two unproven entities at quarterback.

But maybe it fills some dark need deep inside some of you to think that Cousins is at the heart of SOME sort of quarterback controversy in Washington.

As for an RGIII and Cousins QB controversy? ABSOLUTELY nothing to see there… carry on.

4) I like Richard Crawford a lot. Considering how little I like the look of our secondary right now – that sticks out like a sore thumb. But wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I didn’t at least point out that I’ll need to see him play against guys much higher on the depth chart to what he’s been playing against in the first two games, before I’m impressed enough to start saying words like ‘starter’?

That’s one of them there rhetorical questions.

I would be. And I do. But the SMU product has impressed me to no end so far, let alone for a 7th round pick.

5) Niles Paul makes my football brain hurt. Allow me to explain – when my football brain envisions a wide receiver trying to make a transition to tight end, it envisions issues with tougher blocking assignments, and tougher passing lanes, not with catching the ball. My football brain figures that catching the ball should come naturally to the former receiver. Paul has struggled with drops in the preseason, at least until the second half against the Bears he had.

He finally found a bit of a comfort zone on Saturday, and his four receptions (including a touchdown), might prove the confidence boost he needs to step up to that level in the first half of games, as opposed to in the second half of games.

I also think that people who feel Paul won’t be given a ton of opportunity to take hold as a tight end, are kidding themselves. I think he has a spot on the roster regardless of where his transition is at, come cut down day.

6) Our offensive line is still an issue. That seems like an obvious statement given Redskin Nation’s obvious penchant for jumping off deep ends after tough outings, but that isn’t what this is about, nor do I ever (hopefully) have such a short sighted view of things. The offensive line struggled in the first half against the Bears, and that’s obviously concerning given that we’re trying to groom a franchise quarterback. It was a patchwork line-up for sure with Trent Williams, Maurice Hurt, Will Montgomery, Adam Gettis and Tyler Polumbus starting (from left to right); and they struggled against the front four of the Bears. Sure it bears mentioning that the performance was without Chris Chester or Kory Lichtensteiger in there, as long as you concede back, that it’s just a few weeks before the regular season starts, and COHESION is a huge part of an offensive line’s success.

In all likelihood this depth issue would have been addressed head on during the offseason, were it not for that little cap penalty. It wasn’t addressed except via the draft, and instead, the Redskins head into the regular season hoping that Kory and Chris can get better and get back into the line-up. Obviously then, the line-up will improve exponentially when you improve 2 of the starting 5. There is definitely some youthful talent in the Redskins o-line stable, but unfortunately, most of it isn’t quite ready to start NFL games just yet.

7) Aldrick Robinson got his ass off of the fence. It’s been on it for all of 2011 and the start of 2012, but he showed far too much talent on Saturday to not move permanently into the Redskins top 5 receivers in my opinion. Anthony Armstrong may be an equal deep threat, but not from the sidelines in civies while he’s injured, and nobody else on the roster has the deep speed that Robinson does. I expect we might get to see Mr. Robinson against stiffer talent next week to see if he fares as well. If he continues to impress, I think he can we pencil him in at number five.

8 ) Brandon Banks is going to be really tough to cut, but if Mike Shanahan is true to his word, then how could anything else happen? Banks 91-yard return against Chicago, marked the third preseason in a row that Banks has reached the end zone on special teams, but Shanahan vowed that wouldn’t be enough in 2012. He firmly stated that Banks would have to earn a slot at wide receiver to justify his roster slot. Banks didn’t even line up at receiver on Saturday night that I saw; he wasn’t credited with any pass targets on the game sheet.

9) I love London Fletcher. When he’s no longer my middle linebacker, I will weep. Fletch sat out because he ‘wasn’t feeling well’ and apparently whatever he had was contagious because he passed it right on to me by not taking his place in the Redskins’ defense. It’s not a very good gauge of anything considering that the decision was made just before game time, but it seems apparent to me, we don’t have a London Fletcher waiting in the wings to take over for London Fletcher. Then again, who does?

10) I know less than I think I do, because I only have 9 things. But it seemed way cooler to have ten.

Up next is a game that many even outside of Washington have circled on their preseason calendars – RGIII v Luck I – or Washington vs Indianapolis if you want to be technically correct. Strange kickoff time of 4:00pm SATURDAY afternoon on this one – so finish that ‘HoneyDo’ list early, so that you can get to your armchair and suds in time.

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Categories Posted In | Washington Commanders |

3 Responses to “Things I Think I Think I Know”

  1. Hi Mark! Great points! I agree on most everything but think Banks will be around this season. The Skins NEED to keep playmakers and aren’t they pretty stacked at WR anyway? And seriously, what’s with the 4pm start time? I need to get my mommy chores done then kick the mother in law out. Sheeshhh.

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  3. Agreed Banks is an amazing return man however teams dont kick to anyone with that dangerous and he becomes a wasted roster spot…i think hes gone…regrettable