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GameBlog Redskins vs. Panthers Final 23:23 EDT

GameBlog Redskins vs. Panthers Final 23:23 EDT

Redskins vs. Panthers

Saturday, August 13, 2005

During a few games last year, I experimented with the GameBlog, a running commentary throughout the game that I updated at least every quarter or so. It was fun to do and some of you seemed to like it, so it’s back again this preseason for another trial run. As to whether or not GameBlog makes the final cut and is around for the regular season depends largely on you, the reader. Please send me your comments at rtandler@comcast.net

Fourth Quarter:

Rookie Rich Parson just made a fair catch of a punt. It was the smart play, the only thing to do, but you’ve got to know that it kills an undrafted rookie free agent to have to do that. You want to be able to show your stuff.

Jason Campbell threw off of his back foot on his first pro pass and it was short. On his second play, there was a poor exchange with RB Brock Forsey and the Panthers recovered the fumble deep in Washington territory. Not sure if it was the QB’s fault or Forsey’s, but it could cost the Redskins a score.

Stephen LeFors made his first pro pass for Carolina and he short-hopped a hitch pattern. He did manage to successfully execute the handoff on the next play.

The Redskins have been flagged for a pair of questionable penalties, both on third down to give Carolina new life inside the Washington 10. A roughing the passer on Jarred Newberry gave Carolina one first down and a pass interference on Rufus Brown gave them another. Newberry was certainly late, but I’ve seen much worse not called. And Brown was holding his ground at the goal line and the receiver ran into him and drew a flag. The second call was worse than the first. I don’t think that Marcus Washington gets flagged for the first and Shawn Springs gets away with the second “infraction”.

The turnover did cost the Redskins a TD as LeFores lobbed a nice TD to a receiver in the end zone. You can’t hold them out forever.

Andy Grooms gave a classic example of outkicking his coverage as he boomed one high a long that was fielded at the 10 and returned near midfield. He showed a good leg, though.

Some sloppy tackling here in the late going with Eric Joyce missing one.

I commented about Jonathan Combs a few days ago, how he had to take advantage of every chance. He just made a few nice plays but then fumbled inside the Carolina three and the Panthers recovered.

Recapping it at 28-10 in the last few minutes: If you’re one of those who wants to see the playmakers shine, this wasn’t the game for you. Portis barely played, Ramsey wasn’t sharp, the receivers didn’t catch anything deep, Marcus Washington barely played, Sean Taylor made is presence known but he was more cold than hot. The offense never got rolling, even though most of the first team played up until the final series of the first half.

A fan of the play in the trenches, however, can take a lot out of this game. The offensive line, both the first and second units, kept the quarterbacks safe all night long. Had more talented backs than Rock Cartwright and Broughton been playing all night, there would have been some long gainers.

Combs just dropped a pass. Sorry, kid.

And the defensive line was active and generally played well. There was some good penetration and solid tackling all night long. Given that Griffin didn’t play at all and Daniels and Wynn played little

Textbook sideline catch by Kevin Dyson, keeping his toes in bounds for a first down. It took him a while to get into the game, but he’s made a couple of nice catches.

Ouch, the last play of the game, a Campbell pass bounced off of Combs’ hands and was intercepted. Heck, Betts’ job would be in jeopardy if he had a fumble and two drops in five minutes. A rookie free agent out of Texas College just can’t do that.

Third Quarter:

Chris Clemons has a pair of costly penalties with an illegal contact in the second quarter and a pass interference on the Panther’s third snap of the second half.

Warrick Holdman is playing in the first series of the third quarter and he missed a tackle that almost cost the Redskins a first down.

Antonio Brown picked up a little over 20 yards on a punt return doing a good job just picking a few spots to run towards. He took what he could get and stayed in bounds, picked up an extra 10 when others may have stepped out.

Nehemiah Broughton is in at halfback and showed some nice running after catching a little swing pass from Brunell for a first down.

Brown kept the drive he starting going with a good catch for a first down at the Carolina 25. Good throw by Brunell, too, almost sidearming it in there to the diminutive Brown.

Jeff Chandler, thank you for participating in the Redskins 2005 roster competition. Your wide-left miss of a 42-yard field goal has just eliminated you from consideration. John Hall, we’ll be hauling in the cement soon to secure your roster spot. Jeff, please pick up your parting gifts on the way out the door.

Zak Keasey just got the Redskins’ first big play on defense, a third-down sack of Roderick Rutherford. There was some buzz about the undrafted rookie free agent in the first week of camp, but it died down somewhat last week. He’s an extreme long shot, but plays like that will help him stick around.

Another third-down conversion for Brown on a good deep in pattern. Nice throw by Brunell, too.

Broughton is fighting for some tough inside yards. He looks like a keeper.

From the shotgun, Brunell beats the blitz (no coincidence there?) and converts another third-down to Mike Sellers. The pass protection has been excellent all night long and, in some cases, the shotgun is helping as neither Ramsey nor Brunell are particularly quick in getting back from center.

Again, it’s Broughton fighting inside for some tough yards near the goal line. On first and goal at the three he gets it inside the one and the next play he’s over the goal line. He’s looking like more than a third-down and short back. I’m not getting carried away here with him playing against Carolina’s third-and-higher string defense, either. Broughton is running North-South with conviction and power. He was a big factor in the 14-play, 82-yard Redskins touchdown drive.


Second Quarter:

First team offense, for the most part, still in with two and a half minutes gone in the second quarter. They’d like for Ramsey to get something going, even if it is against the Carolina second-string D.

Nope, he throws it well over Patten’s head on third and short. At least it would have been a first down if Patten had caught it.

Now, if both cornerbacks have a shot at the quarterback and that QB is, say, Donovan McNabb, it’s OK if they miss him. But both CB’s had a shot at Chris Weinke and they both missed him and he scrambled for three yards. On the next play, the corners both blitz again and linebacker Clifton Smith ends up on a receiver and it goes for a gain down to the ten. It was Jimoh who missed the tackle on Weinke on the first play and he was tentative in going after him the second time.

That sets up a TD pass to Carolina’s third-string TE Michael Gaines, who beat Khary Campbell on the play. Campbell is on the bubble and can’t afford many plays like that.

Patrick Ramsey is still in the game halfway through the second quarter with most of the other offensive starters still in. He finally connects with Patten for 11 yards on first down.

Rock Cartwright is gaining some yards, but if Portis or Betts had the holes he has there would be some long gainers in there.

I’m not sure why you leave your first-team offense in the game if you’re going to throw a five-yard pattern on third and seven, but that’s how that series ended. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the starters in for the final series of the half.

Despite his solid performance in practices, Joe Gibbs is still letting it be known that it wasn’t OK for Sean Taylor to miss all of the team’s offseason workouts. Taylor has just made his first appearance of the game with about three minutes left in the first half. He was overaggressive and got trapped inside on a long run by Rod Smart.

Campbell just put another nail in his coffin, although the play was harmless. He lat Smart get by him on a pass, but Weinke overthrew the former XFL back.

In all of the laterals after the blocked field goal, the fact that Nic Clemons was the one who blocked the kick was overlooked. After that one, you’ll hear plenty of Danny Smith’s shrill voice around the locker room at halftime, that’s for sure. You do that when there’s zero time on the clock, not with half a minute left.

Wow, Mark Brunell showed some zip in the old arm on that first pass to Cartwright. Maybe he can. . .naaaaah!

All too often last year, the Redskins would get the ball late in the first half and just sit on it and not score. It was good to see some aggressiveness and a 43-yard field goal by Hall to steal three points.

First Quarter:

That was a bad INT by Ramsey, not that any are good. He was just very tentative in throwing that ball up for Moss, a pick on an overthrow would have been much better.

I’m sure that Rod Gardner was very familiar with Ade Jimoh, having faced the Redskins backup CB on the scout team for the last two years. I have to think that Springs stays with Gardner on that play. Still, a nice play to cap off a nice drive by the Panthers.

On third and seven, Jimoh did manage to stay with Ricky Prohl and force Dellhome to throw the ball away. Of course, Prohl is about 15 years older than Ade is, so that should be a routine play for him. It’s not.

Going into the third series, still no continuity on offense for the Redskins.

Nice leaping catch by Betts to snag a Ramsey pass to get the Redskins out of a hole deep in Carolina territory. He’s going to be the third-down back and catches like that will help out a lot.

Are the Redskins learning how to sell the screen? Rock Cartwright just picked up a first off of one that actually worked the way it’s supposed to. They haven’t done much with the screen since, well, Gibbs left in 1992.

Pregame, 18:50 EDT 08.13.05

What I’ll be watching:

  • Nic Clemons: I can’t see Renaldo Wynn and Phillip Daniels going for very long tonight and the coaches will be able to give the kid a good, long look. After two years on the practice squad, he either has to make it or not. This game will go a long way in determining whether he makes it or not.
  • The punters: Joe Gibbs told me the other day that the decision as to which punter made the team would be mostly up to special teams coach Danny Smith. Andy Groom has been booming the heck out of the ball at camp and he has a slim but real shot at unseating Tom
    Tupa if he can get off to a strong start tonight. Groom has very little rope, however. One shank or one boomed through the end zone from midfield could spell doom for his chances.
  • Patrick Ramsey: Yeah, this is obvious, but it’s critical that he comes out and shows some command. I think that Gibbs will give him one or two deep shots in the three or four series that Ramsey will play and the QB has to take advantage of them.

Quick Links

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

The seven best undrafted free agent signings the Redskins have made since 2010

Every NFL training camp is different, but there are a few consistent things you can count on happening at each one each year.

At some point, for example, a star will say that he's "just excited to hit a guy wearing a different colored jersey" after about a week of practicing against his teammates. Also on the list: a coach will tell reporters that his defense plans on being more aggressive and hopes to create more turnovers in the regular season.

One of the more pleasant camp traditions, meanwhile, is that undrafted rookie who goes from stand-in to stand out and makes the team by impressing in drills and preseason contests.

But while there will be plenty of time in the coming weeks for trying to figure out who'll do that for the Redskins in 2017, let's instead look back at a handful of the players who've already accomplished that in the past with Washington. Here are the seven best undrafted free agents the franchise has unearthed since 2010.

MORE: PLAYING OVER/UNDER WITH KEY STATS FOR KIRK COUSINS IN 2017

Logan Paulsen (2010)

No one will ever mistake Logan Paulsen's film for Rob Gronkowski's, but the former UCLA Bruin held down the third tight end spot for the Redskins from 2010-2014.

His two best years came in 2012 and 2013, where he posted 25 and 28 catches respectively, scored four total times and was on the receiving end of this magical fourth-down pass from Robert Griffin III against the Giants, a play that might've just been the peak of Griffin's rookie year. Now 30, Paulsen is reuniting with Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco, continuing to exceed expectations and extending what's been a fruitful NFL career.

Will Compton (2013)

Will Compton's made a steady climb up Washington's roster since entering the league as a free agent linebacker out of Nebraska.

He was cut in his first season back in 2013 but latched onto the practice squad. He eventually debuted near the end of 2013, though, and made the 53-man squad the next go-round. 2015 was when he first started playing regularly, then last year he started 15 contests while also serving as a captain.

In 2017, he'll have to compete with Zach Brown and Mason Foster for a starting gig, but he figures to play plenty no matter the outcome and he's one of Jay Gruden's most trusted defenders. Not bad for a guy who has admitted he "wasn't confident" as a rookie:

Houston Bates (2015)

Special teams often is the avenue a college free agent has to take to make a roster, and Houston Bates is an example of one who's been there, done that. He's appeared in 24 games for the Redskins in his first two NFL campaigns and will look to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last December so he can add to that total in year three.

Before that injury, he was Washington's most active special teams player with 292 snaps in 14 contests.

Quinton Dunbar (2015)

Quinton Dunbar has not only overcome being an undrafted free agent; the former Florida Gator has also made the successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback, too.

Like his classmate Bates, Dunbar has participated often in 2015 and 2016, and like Paulsen, his biggest moments have come against the Giants. As a first-year pro, he picked off Eli Manning in the end zone to the delight of a raucous FedExField crowd, and as a sophomore, he helped complete a risky fake punt and also notched another (absolutely insane) INT in New York:

Rob Kelley (2016)

This offseason, Jay Gruden joked that Rob Kelley has worked his way up from "ninth-string" to starter. He laughed as he said it, but it may not have been that big of an exaggeration.

Kelley never rushed for more than 420 yards at Tulane, but he ripped off 704 last year for the 'Skins. Now he's the top option in a talented backfield, and while Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson are nipping at his heels for carries, Gruden has repeatedly said how much he loves Kelley. He'll be fed plenty in 2017.

Anthony Lanier (2016)

Anthony Lanier's on this list not for what he's done, but for what he's projected to do. Gruden uses not one but two really's to describe how excited he is about Lanier, and a couple of months of working with assistant Jim Tomsula might be all the lineman needs to make the jump from a project to a problem. 

Maurice Harris (2016)

Last on the list is a receiver who displayed sure hands and a knack for converting third downs in limited action last year. Maurice Harris now looks like he'll be an early option off the bench in Gruden's offense and should see the field far more often than he did in the second half of 2016.

You may not be fully sold on Harris, but it sounds like his teammates are, so don't be surprised if he breaks out and develops into another option for Kirk Cousins:

RELATED: RANKING THE REDSKINS ROSTER FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—First-down rushing, forcing fumbles

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, July 23, four days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 203 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 49 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 18
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 27
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 41

The Redskins by the numbers

5.01—The average yards per carry against the Redskins on first down last year.

I have noted this before but I took a closer look and it’s even worse. In 2016, four running backs—Isaiah Crowell of the Browns, DeAngelo Williams of the Steelers, Jordan Howard of the Bears, and Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys—gained over 100 yards against Washington on first down alone. It took Elliott two games to get there but the other three made it in one. If the Redskins don’t get this fixed (this is the second year in a row they have been last in the league here) their defense won’t get much better.

3.85—The Redskins average offensive gain per carry on first down.

This is not a very good performance here — the average is 20th in the NFL. But it does represent a significant improvement from 2015, when they were last in the NFL at 3.3 yards per carry. One difference was negative plays. Two years ago, they had 63 first-down plays go for no gain or a loss of yards. Last year they had 48 such plays. Rob Kelley, who was fourth-best in the league as a rookie last year at gaining yardage after being contacted behind the line, can claim a lot of credit.

8—The number of opponents’ fumbles the Redskins recovered this year.

A total of 17 other teams recovered more fumbles than the Redskins did last year and their recoveries were exactly half of what they were in 2015, when they had 16, the most in the league. It wasn’t surprising that their recoveries fell. The numbers crunchers say that fumble recoveries aren’t “sticky,” meaning that there tends to be a lot of variance for each team each year. And that makes sense as a lot of recovering fumbles is the bounce of the ball.

But it should be noted that the Redskins forced just 22 fumbles last year after forcing 36 in 2015. You have to get the ball on the ground to recover it and the Redskins could do a better job of forcing fumbles in 2017

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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