3-and-out: Redskins-Broncos post game quick hits

Photo credit Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
106.7 The Fan Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman was in the press box at FedExField as the Washington Redskins took on the Denver Broncos for Game 3 of the NFL preseason. He combined his observations with post-game interviews to write his top-three takeaways from this week in football:
I was wrong about a lot of things. Reporting is hard. You go with what you’re told and what you see. When what you see and what you’re told changes, you report that. So here are new things that are different than the old things and I’m both sorry about it, but hope that my willingness to admit it and actually get more information makes up for it.

  1. Adrian Peterson is starting for this team at running back. He made it clear, basically with his first carry, that he’s the best back they have in the post-Guice reality of 2018. It wasn’t that I necessarily thought otherwise, I just didn’t know as the last we saw of Peterson was his lackluster close in Arizona to 2017. Jay Gruden also said Rob Kelley is the starter. Then he started Adrian Peterson and he had 8 carries for 31 yards including a couple of big gashers in the first quarter. He followed it up with a monster fourth down conversion and an 11-carry, 56-yard showing in less than a half of football.It's really hard to evaluate without data and the Redskins didn’t collect any data Friday night on Samaje Perine because he was hurt. The data on Rob Kelley isn’t good. At this point, I think it’s almost clear that Kelley and Perine are competing for the final running back spot next week. Peterson might not even have to play. I never thought this was impossible, but I would have described it as unlikely to be this clear this quickly. I might wake up in the morning and think I’ve overreacted, but I’m pretty sure I was just wrong. 
  2. The Redskins first-string stunk, but Alex Smith isn’t worried. He says the goal from the spring to now has been to be ready for the season opener. “As good as it would feel to sit up here and ‘(we) played amazing and won a game’ I mean the goal is to find out about our 53 guys that are going to make the team and then obviously be ready to roll September 9th. That’s the goal, and keeping that in mind I do feel like we’re headed down that path. I mean time will tell. The proof will be in the pudding for us. We gotta be ready to roll come September 9th.”For Gruden, his goal was even simpler: get the first string to Arizona healthy. He did that. Is that going to put off criticism if they lose in Arizona for his sixth straight season-opening loss? Nope. Not one iota. It also doesn’t mean he’s wrong. There’s no clear data on how much preseason games matter in preparing for a season, and the reality is that it is dependent on the player. What isn’t dependent on the player is that if a guy is injured, he can’t play. Tonight was bad. It was really bad. The offense couldn’t do anything outside of Peterson and the defense couldn’t do anything at all. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t fix those things and perform better in Arizona, which is still two weeks and many practices away. 
  3. This has nothing to do with the game, but I may have gone a little hard in downplaying Cam Sims. Pregame is a great place to talk to people and get a feel for some things. After talking to people, there seems to be a feeling that if they let Sims walk, he’s going to get picked up on someone else’s roster. That does not mean they are keeping him. They ultimately have to do what’s best for the 2018 Washington Redskins and that might not mean keeping a super raw, albeit hyper-gifted, receiver.This is going to come down to a numbers game. Do they keep five or six receivers? If they do, is the sixth Sims or Brian Quick. They have the same problem at receiver as they do at running back: no data. Both players missed tonight’s game with injured quads. Thursday could be huge for those guys.There are other spots on this roster that might get bolstered from the outside. Washington has a surplus at some positions while a spot like OLB looks like it could use another impact player. Could they flip Perine (as an example; I do not have any info on who could be on the block) for another young player at a position of need?Short version: this roster is far from finished, even if 85-90 percent of it is finished. There could be some unexpected moves to come before rosters are set next Saturday.

Stat of the day: The Redskins went one-for-11 on third down. To quote myself in the press box upon being reminded of that stat: “they sucked!”

It’s the preseason. Reading into that to think they are doomed would be overreacting, but it was every bit as pitiful for tonight as the statistic indicates.

Quote of the day: “Only positive I take away is it’s the preseason is where it doesn’t count. Just have to learn and have to build from it. We definitely didn’t practice up to our standard the last couple days and it kind of showed out there. It was a good wake-up call…It keeps us on our toes. Having success is a double-edged sword. You want it, but at the same time, it dulls your blade a little bit…we looked terrible out there today.” –Jon Allen

Yup. On to Baltimore.


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