Redskins Report Card vs. Cleveland Browns

The Washington Redskins pulled out a 24-23 victory Monday night over the visiting Cleveland Browns in the team’s second preseason game. The Redskins first team offense had difficulty finding the end zone in the first half due to three turnovers and a Browns goal line stand early in the second quarter. The Redskins defense shut down the first team offense of the Browns with three, three and outs to start off the game.

Quarterbacks: Robert Griffin, III got off to a positive start on the first drive of the game completing a 23-yard pass to Desean Jackson. That play was quickly erased on a mishandled pitch by Alfred Morris. The second drive was a microcosm of last year. Griffin used his feet and his arm to move the Redskins down the field only to have the drive end with a poor pass that was intercepted by Browns Defensive Back, Joe Haden. Griffin ended the game 6/8 for 112 yards. Back up Kirk Cousins entered the game in the middle of the second quarter and continued where Griffin left off by overthrowing Aldrick Robinson for another interception. Cousins did settle in before the half and led the Redskins on a nine play, fifty-six yard touchdown drive. Grade D+

Running Backs: Alfred Morris’ start to the game was a dubious one as he fumbled away his first opportunity on the Griffin pitch. Morris quickly made up for his mistake with several pounding runs through the Browns’ defense. Roy Helu failed to pick up pressure from Browns linebacker, Barkevious Mingo causing Griffin’s first interception. Evan Royster had a nice 24-yard catch and run leading to his two yard touchdown before halftime. Grade C

Receivers: This group was the best of the night. Desean Jackson showed his speed and cutting ability on his 23-yard reception on the first drive. Andre Roberts solidified his spot as the third receiver adjusting well to an underthrown Cousins pass for 48 yards. Santana Moss showed he still has it with a spectacular 24-yard screen pass. For the second week in a row the stand out receiver was rookie, Ryan Grant, who made an outstanding over the shoulder catch for a touchdown in the third quarter. Aldrick Robinson and Nick Williams also played well. Head Coach Jay Gruden has some tough decisions to make with this unit. Grade A

Offensive Line: An up and down performance for the O line. At times they gave the quarterbacks decent protection but faltered other times picking up the Browns’ exotic stunts by allowing two sacks. The unit failed to score on four plays inside the three yard line. Too much penetration on the outside zone plays led to multiple negative gain carries. Grade C-

Defensive Line: The starting unit looked solid and provided a great push up field against the Browns’ passing game. Against the run they held Cleveland in check for most of the night, though they allowed Ben Tate to gash them at times. Grade B

Linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo showed why they are Pro Bowl caliber players. Kerrigan led the way with two sacks and Orakpo applied the pressure on the Cleveland quarterbacks multiple times. Rookie Will Compton made a case to make the team with five solo tackles. Grade B+

Defensive Backs: Though the Browns receiving yards were low, the Redskins DBs struggled in coverage. Thanks to a poor performance by both Browns quarterbacks, Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, who consistently threw behind, over, and low to wide open receivers. A bright spot was Safety Bacarri Rambo. His hit on Browns tight end MarQueis Gray caused a fumble that led to the Redskins first touchdown of the game. Finally, allowing the Browns to complete a Hail Mary at the end of the game was unacceptable. Grade C-

Special Teams: The kicking competition between Kai Forbath and Zach Hocker was unsettled last night. Hocker again held the edge in kickoffs as he blasted two out of the end zone for touchbacks. Forbath easily made a 26-yard field goal. The punting competition was lackluster as both Robert Malone and Blake Clingan had one punt each. Rookie Rashad Ross provided the only excitement of the night on the special teams with an electrifying 42-yard kickoff return. Grade B-

Overall: The Redskins continue to have growing pains as the offense adjusts to Jay Gruden’s new system. Defensively the glaring weakness is the secondary. On special teams, the kicker and punter positions still remain wide open. This Saturday’s match up with the Baltimore Ravens will provide a great opportunity to see what direction the Redskins will go during the regular season. Grade C+

Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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