August 4, 2008

Skins Roll In Zorn's Debut

Jim Zorn roamed the sidelines looking cool and collected. On the field, his team reflected that look.

The Redskins won their preseason opener last night 30-16 over the Indianapolis Colts and Zorn proved he is capable of running an NFL club.

The team never appeared confused and they avoided many careless penalties and the offense put together quite a few scoring drives.

Jason Campbell was a perfect 5-5 for 61 yards and a touchdown pass on the opening drive to Antwaan Randle El. He also hooked up with Chris Cooley and Santana Moss and appeared to be comfortable and calm in Zorn's offense.

The offensive line however needs to improve in pass protection as they gave up four sacks. The line is usually up to speed come regular season so it shouldn't be much of a concern, but Campbell was sacked once in two drives.

Todd Collins had an uneventful game going 5-6 for 32 yards. He failed to lead a scoring drive and the Skins fell behind 16-9 at the half.

The final two minutes of the first half was the only time when Zorn made a serious mistake. Collins was leading a drive into Colts' territory, but the Skins let too much time elapse in between plays at one point only to see Zorn call time out. Had he called it earlier it would saved 10-15 seconds.

Yet Zorn will have four more preseason games to familiarize himself with clock management and he should improve with practice.

In the second half Colt Brennan came in and went 9-10 for 123 yards and two scores. His second TD pass to Marcus Mason gave the Skins the lead which they never relinquished.

Brennan had been unimpressive in training camp, but he showed he can play in game action. He appeared to be comfortable moving around in the pocket and avoided any big mistakes.

Brennan and the other QBs were aided by strong performances by Mason and Rock Cartwright. Mason rushed for 98 yards on 18 carries while Cartwright rumbled for 58 yards, carrying the ball 13 times.

The Redskin defense was of course missing several starters, but still played well, giving up only one touchdown late in the first half. DE Rob Jackson, a seventh round draft choice, recorded a sack and had another one taken back on a penalty. Fellow draft pick Chris Horton picked up two sacks from his safety position and recovered an onside kick.

The Colts were putting together a last second drive in order to tie the score, but Matterral Richardson intercepted a fourth down pass from Jared Lorenzen and took it all the way back for the score.

It was a great weekend for Skins fans everywhere, seeing Art Monk and Darrell Green enter the Hall of Fame and then enjoying a victory albeit a preseason one. Maybe we'll see the success translate into the regular season...Now for some quick observations.

Marcus Mason is very talented, but it will be hard for him to make the final roster. Rock is the kick returner while Betts and Portis have their spots locked up. Look for Mason to be on the practice squad again. We have to remember that he's never ran against a first string defense.

Justin Tryon played poorly. He was beaten badly on an underthrown ball and also committed pass interference on the play. I can see he has talent, but he is very raw. It will take time.

Stuart Schweigert was responsible for giving up the TD pass from Quinn Gray to Onrea Jones. The Skins were in a cover two on the play and Tryon did the right thing by letting Jones run by him after ten yards, leaving him for Schweigert to cover. However, Schweigert failed to cover him, leading to an easy TD. That's why LaRon is playing Free Safety.

The only dumb penalty of the night came from Billy McMullen. McMullen had a false start which is inexcusable for a receiver. He did atone for it later with a 34 yard catch, but there's no room for error in this stacked depth chart of wide outs.

Durant Brooks had a nice punt inside the 20 and punted the whole night. He also had a 56 yarder and another that went deep into the endzone. He had trouble holding on Shaun Suisham's 36-yard field goal, a miss. Edge in the punting battle: Derrick Frost.

Suisham has to make that field goal. He missed a similar one in Seattle last season and has been inconsistent in camp this year. He might be a weak link.

Fred Davis is not a weak link. On his first catch he dragged three defenders an extra few yards. He has power and hands.

Davis and Cooley have spots locked up, but what about Todd Yoder? He played well last night, hauling in three passes for 18 yards. JC has always liked him and he has been a good player since his arrival in 2006. Three TEs might be making this roster.

Stephon Heyer was schooled on one play for a sack and later came up limping with a sprained knee. Not a good day.

Another backup tackle, Todd Wade sprained his ankle. Let's hope these injuries cease as the real games draw closer.

Rob Jackson is going to make this team. Some veterans better be looking out. Erasmus James needs to get healthy if he wants to play for Washington.

Chris Horton looked very good. He was all over the field making tackles (5 to be exact).

Jared Lorenzen is an embarrassment to quarterbacks everywhere. Lose a few...hundred pounds, Jared.

The Colts have capable backup receivers. They all run over the middle very well. That offense designed by Tom Moore is very effective. Quinn Gray threw the ball well on quick hitters in traffic.

Alright there's the run down. Feel free to add comments on your own observations.

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