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ESPN: NFC East Blog (Graziano) - Observation Deck: Redskins Colts


Painkiller

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http://espn.go.com/blog/nfceast/post/_/id/29771/observation-deck-redskins-colts

This is about as fair and balanced as anything you will read on ESPN about the Redskins. Graziano is light years better than Mosely. I actually anticipate his commentary.

Some snippets. Click link for full commentary.

So that's John Beck, everybody. We've heard so much about him since Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said right after the draft that his belief in Beck was one reason he didn't feel he needed to draft a quarterback. Perhaps in order to build suspense, Beck missed the Redskins' first preseason game with a groin injury and watched his main competition for the starting job, Rex Grossman, have a solid game against the Steelers.

But he showed up and started Friday in Indianapolis and wouldn't you know it? He looked pretty good. Beck was 14-for-17 for 140 yards in the first half of the Redskins' 16-3 preseason victory over the Colts. He was cool under pressure (and he faced plenty, thanks to a poor game by left tackle Trent Williams). He showcased the quick release Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, have been talking up. And while it seemed for a while as if every play was a bootleg rollout, I actually thought that was okay for two reasons. First, it showcased Beck's speed and athleticism, which are things the Shanahans believe set him apart from Grossman in terms of upside. And second, he seemed to make good decisions at the end of those rollouts, finding his receivers, throwing accurately and not forcing throws that weren't there.

Did he dazzle? No. Did he fire the ball downfield in awe-inspiring arcs for backbreaking pass plays? No. But does he have to? Two different running backs, Tim Hightower and Roy Helu, had 50-plus-yard runs. His starting wide receivers, Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney, are more possession receivers than deep threats. This Redskins offense isn't built to in such a way that asks its quarterback to be Tom Brady. The Redskins' quarterback needs only manage the game and work the ball downfield patiently and intelligently. Beck did that while in the game Friday night.

In conclusion, I don't think anything changed on Redskins quarterback Friday. I think Beck was already in the lead, in spite of Grossman's effort last week, and has maintained that lead. If anything, he's widened it, and he showed some things Friday night that could help Redskins fans feel a little bit better about the situation.

Some other thoughts:

1. I have no idea what to make of the defense, as it was missing four or five starters and playing against a Colts team that didn't have injured quarterback Peyton Manning. This is akin to running a NASCAR race against Jimmie Johnson when Johnson's car does not have an engine. It seems clear that rookies Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins (and of course, third-year star Brian Orakpo) have the ability to get to the quarterback. The Redskins generated a bit of pass rush up the middle with the help of Barry Cofield, who's taking to his new nose tackle role. And defensively, I believe they'll look even better once they have their starting safeties. But as for Friday, tough to make any big judgments about the defense, which wasn't going up against much of an opponent.

2. Helu looks very fast, and he got a bunch of snaps in this game as fellow rookie Evan Royster did last week. Shanahan likes to give running backs "full games" when possible for evaluation purposes in the preseason. But Tim Hightower is going to open the season as the Redskins' starting running back and should hold the job until and unless he (literally) fumbles it away. He understands Shanahan's "one-cut" preference perfectly, seems to work well behind the offensive line and its zone-blocking scheme and has basically done everything right since they traded for him.

3. Trent Williams needs to be better. The second-year left tackle got flat-out beaten on a couple of those sacks and got manhandled most of the night. Now, granted, Dwight Freeney is one of the game's best pass-rushers, but in this year's NFC East, Williams is going to see a lot of those. We know he's talented, but he just needs to block more consistently.

6. A preseason game can have value for a team like the Redskins. No, the result doesn't matter. And no, you can't assume they'll look as good in real games as they have so far in two fake ones. But think about where the Redskins are right now. Nobody thinks they're any good. Everybody thinks they'll finish last. They've got people saying they could be the worst team in the league (which I seriously doubt). And while they can pretend they don't hear it, they all have the internet, and cable TV, and AM radio in their cars. And even if they don't pay attention to any of that stuff, they all have friends and relatives who undoubtedly keep them posted on it. But world-class professional athletes aren't inclined to doubt themselves, and having success -- even if it's on a micro level in a game that doesn't count -- is the kind of thing that can bolster confidence internally when nothing's happening to bolster it externally. This is two weeks in a row that the Redskins peeled the tape off their ankles and went home feeling good about themselves. And a team that's going to be an underdog in the majority of its games this year can benefit greatly from knowing what it's like to feel that way.

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Nice post and great writeup. Graziano is awesome; I too echo your sentiments Painkiller on his style. :helmet:

Didn't get to see the game (deployed in Afghanistan), but from what I heard the o-line didn't look "too" sharp and Trent did get manhandled.

Baby steps though, and I must admit, I'm a little bit apprehensive, but excited nonetheless.

Hail!

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Nice post and great writeup. Graziano is awesome; I too echo your sentiments Painkiller on his style. :helmet:

Didn't get to see the game (deployed in Afghanistan), but from what I heard the o-line didn't look "too" sharp and Trent did get manhandled.

Baby steps though, and I must admit, I'm a little bit apprehensive, but excited nonetheless.

Hail!

Wished AFN showed it, but they showed the Jacksonville game instead in the DFAC during breakfast.

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Nice post and great writeup. Graziano is awesome; I too echo your sentiments Painkiller on his style. :helmet:

Didn't get to see the game (deployed in Afghanistan), but from what I heard the o-line didn't look "too" sharp and Trent did get manhandled.

Baby steps though, and I must admit, I'm a little bit apprehensive, but excited nonetheless.

Hail!

It could just be lack of practice against the type of defense the Colts run, and to be fair to Trent he opened up the hole for Hightower's long run. We're not going to really know until we face the Giants, a baptism of fire for the "new" OL.

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Very good write-up.

Graziano is on point about everything here. Beck looks good, Gano looks good, Helu looks good, the defensive is tough to assess, Williams looks bad, and Hankerson has the dropsies. Hard to argue with anything there.

I appreciate the fair and informed perspective of this article.

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That was a good article, thanks for posting Pk. I haven't seen the game yet and won't be able to until it re-airs on Sunday afternoon but I take it TW didn't have a good night. The idea of moving TW over to RT and putting Brown back at his natural position of LT has come up and was even a thread in here about it a few weeks ago. I wonder if this is something that the coaching staff might consider if it looks like TW is still struggling against some of these super-talented DE's like Freeney? Regardless of who we have playing QB come September, they're gonna need a clean pocket and some time to be able to execute.

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Yeah, Trent didn't have a good game. If he's going to be an elite left tackle, he's going to have to be able to handle elite pass-rushers.

Strictly as a pass-rusher, Freeney may be the best defensive end in the NFL.

Trent needs to be more consistent. His talent is undeniable. Also Hightower looks to be quite the steal. Great write up from a network I expect nothing from.

I heard Okung got hurt again so Trent is still the right choice at LT to come out of that draft. :)

I see him lock down and I see him get beat, which tells me he's still got a lot of learning to do. I think he struggles mightily with the smaller, faster DEs and let's face it, as big as he is that may always be the case. I think the offseason weight loss was designed to deal with that and maybe he can shed another 5-8 pounds by November. Either way I think Trent just struggles with speedy pass rushers. It's not uncommon for o-linemen.

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Thank you for your service. Be careful over there.

:cheers:

My sentiments as well. Thank you Frankez99.
http://espn.go.com/blog/nfceast/post/_/id/29771/observation-deck-redskins-colts

This is about as fair and balanced as anything you will read on ESPN about the Redskins. Graziano is light years better than Mosely. I actually anticipate his commentary.

I totally agree. He seemed very even-handed. Was he drinking the kool-aid? No, but gave some positive points as well as negative. I appreciated his article.
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Wished AFN showed it, but they showed the Jacksonville game instead in the DFAC during breakfast.

I was sleeping at breakfast anyway lol, working night shifts...but good news for us cuz AFN is re-airing Skins-Colts at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning. I'll definitely be in the DFAC after the gym tomorrow night to catch that...can't wait to get back from this deployment and actually get to watch games real-time.

HAIL

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Fair write up..Here is points 4 & 5 which were not in OP:

4. Been a pretty good month for Graham Gano. He hasn't missed a kick yet. His prime competition for the job got cut after a miserable first game. And his wife had a baby earlier this week and he managed to make it to the game just in time Friday. Congrats, Papa Graham, and good job.

5. Leonard Hankerson caught four passes, but what people will remember is that he dropped one. He drops too many. I know, I know, that's his reputation. But every time you start to worry your being a slave to a reputation... well, the guy drops another pass. The Redskins like him and likely won't give up on him, but he's not going to see the field much this year if he can't find a way to catch the ball more reliably.

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I heard Okung got hurt again so Trent is still the right choice at LT to come out of that draft. :)

I see him lock down and I see him get beat, which tells me he's still got a lot of learning to do. I think he struggles mightily with the smaller, faster DEs and let's face it, as big as he is that may always be the case. I think the offseason weight loss was designed to deal with that and maybe he can shed another 5-8 pounds by November. Either way I think Trent just struggles with speedy pass rushers. It's not uncommon for o-linemen.

I agree, I also think Trent has one specific weakness, small quick pass rushers, which is what all the Colt's D ends are. Since there aren't many teams that make their team up with guys like that (especially in the NFC East), Trent won't have to deal with it much. But that's exactly what it looked like, he would get ready to block and when he went to make contact he would be grasping at air.

I'm glad he had to deal with it now, rather than later on, but even so, I don't think it's going to be a big problem.

But yes, he didn't look very good last night. Everyone is talking about the Freeney sack, but he also gave up one to a 2nd string guy I've never heard of who is the same type (small speedy) pass rusher.

---------- Post added August-20th-2011 at 09:17 AM ----------

Fair write up..Here is points 4 & 5 which were not in OP:

I thought that was interesting, a lot of people (Skins fans) hammered Hankerson for dropping the first pass thrown to him last night, but he had a good game after that. It was at least better than last week for him.

Good write up. I still think Graziano falls into the media obsession for the Cowboys a little TOO much, but I guess it's to be expected, and at least it doesn't affect his Skins coverage (something that definitely couldn't be said about Mosley).

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That was a good article, thanks for posting Pk. I haven't seen the game yet and won't be able to until it re-airs on Sunday afternoon but I take it TW didn't have a good night. The idea of moving TW over to RT and putting Brown back at his natural position of LT has come up and was even a thread in here about it a few weeks ago. I wonder if this is something that the coaching staff might consider if it looks like TW is still struggling against some of these super-talented DE's like Freeney? Regardless of who we have playing QB come September, they're gonna need a clean pocket and some time to be able to execute.

Jamaal Brown still has some of the lingering effects of his injury, although they have lessened this season. But Trent is more athletic, has higher upside, and is still learning, while Brown is "WYSWYG" for the most part.

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Jamaal Brown still has some of the lingering effects of his injury, although they have lessened this season. But Trent is more athletic, has higher upside, and is still learning, while Brown is "WYSWYG" for the most part.

I thought the reports were that JB was finally healthy regarding the hip(I think thats what it was), and he's a probowl left tackle. I'm just wondering if there might be certain packages, or maybe even certain games, where the two of them can switch back on forth on the line from right side to left and vice versa. I still think TW is going to be a solid LT once he gains some more experience in the position, and its possible that time outside of the position may accelerate that learning curve (you know the whole theory about stepping away from the problem can help you find the answer, etc...). Just a thought.

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I agree with everything here. As for Trent...I think it's just always going to be a thing where he struggles against speed guys. I think he'll work on it and he'll focus on his technique, and I think he'll get better and better with age, but it was the knock on him coming out of college, and I think it's kinda gonna be the knock against him in the pros. I think he's far more focus than he was last year, and he can put dudes on their butts. The guys who can get leverage on him and get around him are always going to give him problems, but I think he'll be a lot better in year two than year one. I don't think he's performed bad enough that we should consider moving him to right tackle, at least not yet. And I still think he opened up some nice holes in the running game over the past couple weeks, and I'm more concerned with run blocking right now anyway.

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I seriously hope that Trent Williams is not the next Chris Samuels. Chris was a beast 94% of the time, and the other 6%, when he was going up against the best DEs, he was owned like an old ford. And then would end up sanding, hands on his hips, looking down at the sacked QB.

Trent had a bad night last night. And not only when he was going against Freeny. But if he's going to anchor the line, he's got to be better than that.

I kindof wish Joe Bugel was still around, because I'm pretty sure he'd have some very entertaining, very choice words for Mr. Williams, and no, you would not be able to repeat them on TV.

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