The Washington Redskins’ first-team offensive and defensive units knew tonight’s preseason matchup against the Baltimore Ravens would likely be their final tune-up before they opened up the regular season Sept. 7 against the Houston Texans.
Those filling in roles as backups, meanwhile, knew the first round of cuts – the Redskins will cut down their 90-man roster to 75 on Sunday – are looming large; so, for many, tonight’s game could’ve been their final chances to leave an impression.
So with all of that in mind, the Redskins and Ravens battled it out under the lights on the M&T Bank Stadium turf, with Baltimore coming out on top, 23-17.
The Redskins – playing in their first road game of the preseason – moved to 2-1 with the loss.
After undergoing offseason knee surgery, defensive end Jason Hatcher – one of the Redskins’ key offseason acquisitions – had to delay his Washington debut until tonight’s game vs. the Ravens. It didn’t take long for No. 97 to make his presence known, however. On the Ravens’ second drive of the game, quarterback Joe Flacco dropped back to pass on third down, and Hatcher had no problems at all bullrushing his way through Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda and bringing Flacco to the turf, forcing the punt. Credit also goes to the Redskins’ secondary, which had tight coverage on the Ravens’ talented receivers on the play. Hatcher had 11 sacks last season for the Dallas Cowboys and earned his way to his first Pro Bowl, so the Redskins are hoping he’ll make just as big of an impact – if not a larger one – this year in Washington.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Trailing 13-3 in the third quarter, the Redskins faced a 3rd and 7 from the Baltimore 11-yard line. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, into the game with the second-team offense for the first time all night, dropped back to pass and found veteran wide receiver Santana Moss, who ran a picture-perfect slant route and caught the pass inside the 5-yard line. Moss did the rest from there to get into the end zone for the touchdown. The Redskins hare obviously very deep at the wide receiver position, but Moss has continued to show the coaches that he’s more than capable of being a contributor this season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Keenan Robinson was all over the field for the Redskins tonight. The middle linebacker out of Texas -- who is slated to take over in London Fletcher's place at middle linebacker -- made several key plays for Washington against the Ravens. He was unofficially credited with three tackles and a pass breakup, but the stats don't tell the whole story. Robinson covered the field from sideline to sideline, and is showing a ton of promise for the Redskins' defense.
David Amerson gave several quality glimpses into why the Redskins' coaches feel he can one day be one of the best cover corners in the league. He unofficially ended tonight's game with four tackles and one key pass breakup in the end zone, in which he had perfect timing extending his long arms to bat the pass away at the last second to thwart the sure score. Amerson gives the Redskins a nice compliment on the other side of the field to veteran DeAngelo Hall.
With tonight’s game now over, the Redskins coaching staff shifts its focus onto making some tough decisions.
First-year head coach Jay Gruden said the players will be off tomorrow, but some will unfortunately learn that their time with the Redskins – at least for the time being – is up.
The team will cut down its roster from 90 to 75 for its final preseason game of the year Thursday evening against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
If Gruden sticks to the NFL norm – and there hasn’t been any indication that he’d do otherwise – most of his starters won’t play in the Tampa Bay game. So the contest – and the practices leading up to it – will be one final shot for the other roster hopefuls to make their mark before the Redskins have to cut down to their 53-man roster by 4 p.m. ET Aug. 30.
The Redskins are scheduled to practice Monday and Tuesday in the afternoon and Wednesday in the morning before departing for Tampa that afternoon.
(For more on this story -- and for much more from the game -- check back with www.redskins.com.)