Redskins.com’s Brian Tinsman takes a closer look at Thursday’s night’s preseason action between the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium:
Professional football aspirations are on the line tonight as the Redskins take the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. By Saturday night, 22 players will no longer be able to call themselves Washington Redskins, but for tonight, all the cards are on the table.
The circumstances of fourth preseason game inspire some of the best football that fans can watch all season. Unlike in years past, few Redskins are battling for a starting role, but dozens of reserves will put their best foot forward and try and latch on with the defending NFC East Champions.
Expect the cream to rise to the top.
Since arriving in Washington from Tampa Bay,
Check and check. Briscoe came alive early, catching a short pass from
PLAY OF THE GAME
Unlike most games, the play of the game came in victory formation, as the Redskins did what they came to Tampa Bay to accomplish. The Redskins avoided any major injuries,
PLAYER OF THE GAME
WHAT WENT RIGHT
--The defense did not allow a touchdown in the final seven quarters of preseason play, an impressive accomplishment for any squad against any team at any time. The only Buccaneers touchdown scored tonight was off of a pick-six.
--Rookie wide receivers
--Not only did rookie running back
-- While preseason wins technically don’t count, the Redskins went undefeated in the preseason for the first time since 1985. History has proven that there is no correlation between preseason success and the regular season, as the middle-2000 Colts regularly went 0-4 in exhibition play and the 0-16 Lions went 4-0. But the last time the Redskins went undefeated in the preseason, the team finished 10-6. Ten wins is probably enough to win the NFC East or a wild card spot.
--The last time the Redskins played the Buccaneers in the preseason, Kai Forbath was roster fodder on the Buccos, actually trying his hand at punting in that game. Fourth preseason games are valuable opportunities to look at game film, as Forbath earned consideration for a later tryout and then won the job before Week 6. Tonight, he continues to make Mike Shanahan and Co. look smart, scoring nine points and booting a kickoff into the end zone.
--Pat White had a golden opportunity to show what he could do in extended action and turned in a strong performance. While he was charged with a pick-six, he also 13-for-22 for 180 yards and rushed for an gritty touchdown on the ground. Each time he takes the field, he looks more comfortable in the Redskins offense, and has the opportunity to earn his spot, force a trade or pick his next city to play in.
--The Redskins undefeated preseason will be discredited based on the recent woes of their competition, but fans can take solace in the fact that they did not play down to the competition. The Redskins won each game rather handily (Tennessee included) and blasted the Bills and Bucs to close out the preseason.
--As part of that effort, the defense clamped down this week, at one point forcing 3-and-outs on 10 of their last 11 stands. This included the last seven drives against Buffalo and three-out-of-four to start the game tonight. This is encouraging from a defense that, at times last year, struggled to get off the field. This may not have been starters in the game, but the mentality of the defense is vicious going into the regular season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
--Not many negatives to be away from tonight’s game, other than momentary lapses in execution that allowed the Buccaneers to score nine points tonight. The touchdown was scored on a pick-six from a defender that drifted into the flats in front of a Pat White pass. Other than that, the Redskins operated with very few regrets.
--Losing receiver Dezmon Briscoe and
This is the fourth-consecutive preseason in which the Redskins have returned a punt for a touchdown. The first three were scored by Brandon Banks, who secured a roster spot with his preseason heroics, but struggled to elude regular season coverage units.
Thompson brings similar speed and shiftiness with NFL size and offensive value. If he can catch translate this success to the regular season, he brings shades of Brian Mitchell back to the position.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III tweets (via @RGIII) after the game:
“Operation Patience....Complete. Cleared. To God Be The Glory.”
For Redskins players on the bubble, all of the play has been put on tape and there is little else they can do besides wait. By 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, the Redskins will have their 53-man roster and the 2013 Redskins will embark on their first title defense since 2000.
The next time the Redskins will take the field for practice is likely to be Wednesday, following the typical Monday Night Football schedule. The next time the Redskins take the field on gameday will be Sept. 9 at FedExField for the 2013 season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Washington Redskins close out the preseason riding a high that matches the expectations the team brings into the 2013 season. Quarterback Robert Griffin III’s return to the gameday gridiron is imminent and the Redskins answered most if not all of the questions the team faced going into training camp.
How will this team work together when the regular season arrives? Will the offense and defense operate under the same systems fans grew accustomed to last year, or will adjustments dictate schematic changes?
The only way to know for sure is to tune in and enjoy the ride.