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It could have been worse, Part 1

Aug 17, 2008, 4:40 PM EDT

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The last time the Washington Redskins played the Jets in the preseason, it got ugly early and stayed that way. Here’s my live game blog from FedEx Field on that night in August of 2006. Following the game, Joe Gibbs had the shortest press conference ever. Take a look at Joe Gibbs Anger Management.

Pregame

It’s sort of like RFK now in that they seem to have settled in to a pregame routine here at FedEx Field. You get a number from the cheerleaders, then the Redskins Marching Band performs, then the player introductions (as a team, no individuals) complete with the waving flags and the infernal fireworks. After years of trying a bunch of different things, you can set your watch by it now.

No major physical changes at FedEx either. They did something with the luxury suites, the windows are gone, probably to return when the cold weather does. I can’t see the very top level from here in the press box, so perhaps Daniel Snyder put some seats on top of that wind fence up there (hey, they’re not obstructed view).

Brandon Lloyd’s gametime decision was to wear his hat with the bill facing frontward.

First Quarter

David Frost is kicking off for the Redskins. Tyler Jones did last week, which made little sense because he is unlikely to be on the team. Frost got a decent kick and made a TD-saving tackle at midfield.

A blitz and sack on Patrick Ramsey’s first snap. You think that they knew that he doesn’t react well under pass rush pressure?

As one of our contributors here dubbed him, “Frostee the Rollman” is true to his name as he gets about 15 yards of roll off of a good bounce on a punt that will go in the books as a 56-yard boomer with no return. He’ll take it any way he can get it. Three minutes in he’s the star of the game.

Nice open field tackle by Pierson Prioleau on a quick out. Give Carlos Rogers an assist as he forced the receiver back into the middle of the field, giving Prioleau the opportunity.

Another key Redskin down long enough to cause a TV timeout, but Cornelius Griffin ran off the field so it didn’t seem to be anything serious.

Kenny Wright is playing like someone who has a chance to start on opening day. He got the sack on Ramsey on the first play, made the tackle on the second play, and just did a nice job of batting away a first-down pass attempt.

Marcus Washington looked like a bull-rushing defensive tackle as he pushed back an interior lineman and got to Ramsey just as he was releasing the ball. He havoc just waiting to happen to the other team’s offense.

If you want to see a receiver going deep in this offense, look at the numbers on the field. That’s where the one that Lloyd made a good catch on last week went and that’s where Brunell’s 28-yarder to Antwaan Randle El just went. They’re staying out of the traffic in the middle of the field and not pushing Brunell’s arm strength by going to far out to the sideline.

Danny Smith is getting plenty to get annoyed with on special teams. There was the opening kickoff that nearly went all the way, a personal foul that turned a Jet 15-yard punt into a 30-yard net and a holding call on another punt that cost some 25 yards in field position after a nice return by Mike Espy.

Everyone is talking about Betts filling in should Portis miss any regaulr-season action, but Rock Cartwright will play a key role as well. Betts hasn’t shown that he can carry a 25-30 carry load, so Cartwright will have to get some significant carries to give him a rest.

Second Quarter

Just like with the flea flicker last week, the Redskins were made to pay for their aggressive nature as the Jets got a TD on a 61-yard reverse. It was well-executed by the Jets, but someone didn’t stay home.

Jason Campbell is in the game with the first-team offense. A little bit of nerves apparent as an easy toss to Cartwright was high.

More nerves as his second pass is picked off. He tried to force it in to Thrash and it ended up right in the bread basket of a Jet. A sideline lecture by Bill Lazor on what went awry there ensued. That was a rare opportunity for Campbell, being in with the starters, he needs to take advantage of those.

The Jets are pulling out all the stops here. The reverse, an onside kick, and then a fake punt, sort of, where the punter made the decision to kick the ball after it was apparent that he wouldn’t make the first down. A three-yard net punt was the result. They should save some of this for the regular season.

A couple of solid Campbell passes lead to the Redskins’ first touchdown of 2006. With a rusher in his face after a bootleg he stopped and fired to David Patten for 15 and then he went to James Thrash for 20 as he was being getting knocked down. He was operating with the Redskins’ second-team offense against the second and third string Jet defenders.

More reason for Smith to be steamed as the Jets take back a kickoff for a touchdown. Actually, he’s looking more befuddled than angry at the moment. There will be plenty of time to dish out tirades in the film room on Monday.

Sellers was the lone back on one snap and got eight yards straight up the middle. From the same formation (with Nemo Broughton lined up at wide receiver), he carried twice more for 12 and six yards. He’ll be a fantasy stud, I tell ya.

Sean Taylor’s recognition skills are improving. On a first-down pass he closed quickly and made the tackle to keep the gain to three yards. The next play was a run up the middle and he stayed back instead of flying up to make a play that was already being made by the middle of the line.

Brooks Bollinger is running for his life and making the most of it. He ran for nine to convert a third and seven, picked up 15 more with a late hit flag and then ran for 25 more. Those things happen, but you’d like to see more out of the defensive line, which is playing with a mix of starters and backups.

Third Quarter

Maybe Al Saunders won’t run the same play twice in the same month when the season starts, but he sure isn’t hesitant to call the same thing a few times in a row tonight. We had Sellers’ three blasts earlier and then the same play to Broughton three times in succession.

It looks like the Redskins coached up Mike Rumph’s tackling skills in a hurry. He made a couple of solid open-field stops, although he’s hitting a bit high. Of course, it would be nice if his coverage would improve so that he wouldn’t have to make those tackles to begin with.

The Jets are just chewing up the third quarter. They’re converting third downs and a fourth down, getting key scrambles by Bollinger, and generally putting on a classic display of ball control. That field goal drive ran 23 plays, 76 yards, 11:58 elapsed. The Funky Four had to wait until just 20 seconds remained in the third quarter to do their thing.

Last week’s game was sloppy but it wasn’t because there were a lot of penalties. This week, the laundry is flying. There were eight accepted penalties in the first half and I think that there were at least five more on that long Jets drive. And we haven’t even gotten into the true garbage time yet.

Mike Espy isn’t doing much to strengthen the case he made for a roster spot last week. He’s dropped a couple of catchable balls and hasn’t done much on returns even though he’s been back on every New York kick.

Fourth Quarter

The night’s attendance is around 65,000. That sounds impressive until you realize that the stadium is only 2/3 full with a crowd that size.

Christian Morton seems to have played his way down the depth chart. He didn’t go in until after two players acquired just this week, Mike Rum
ph and Julian Battle, were deemed to be done for the night.

The Jets have now fumbled five times and lost none of them.

John Eubanks is another corner who is playing himself out of a job. He left his man as Kellen Clemens was scrambling out of the pocket and Clemens found Reggie Newhouse for six points.

Todd Collins now gets a chance to remove that bad taste that must be lingering in his mouth from last week. Campbell was inconsistent tonight and a good show by Collins will put some more zing into the battle for the #2 QB job.

After Robert Johnson left the game with a sprained ankle, Buck Ortega got his opportunity and he made the most of it, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth and ten. It helped that the linebacker attempting to cover him had no clue as to how to do so, but Ortega made the catch and run. You have to wonder if a 227-lb tight end has a place on the team, but you never know.

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