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Redskins vs. Bengals GameBlog

Redskins vs. Bengals GameBlog

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Seen on the way in, the perfect solution for those of you who have the dilemma of picking a player’s jersey to wear. This fan had what looked like your standard replica jersey, except there were four numbers sewn to the back: 28, 17, 81, and 33. A good way to pay tribute to four Redskins legends.

On the first play, Ladell Betts drove the pile for a gain of five, again showing the power that he’s been exhibiting during camp. The Redskins have a solid 1-2 punch at running back

Ramsey’s lack of calm in the pocket and touch on the ball on the first series gets him a smattering of boos as he left the field after the first series. Who said that the NFL fan, circa 2005, isn’t rational?

Not good for Andy Groom to airmail a punt from his own 48 about 8 yards deep into the end zone. It would have been a great kick from his own 20. Midfield is a great spot for a punter to pooch it and Groom lacked that touch.

Lemar Marshall had great technique on the opening play, waiting for Rudi Johnson on an off-tackle for no gain.

Betts is a North-South runner. He lost one yard when he tried to go wide on second down. While he has some speed, he needs to use it after going through the hole straight ahead, not moving laterally.

Groom booms one 50 and hangs it up there for the coverage, who tackle the returner for a loss of one.

Another example of a runner who needs to stick with North-South is Cincy’s Rudi Johnson. On one play he kept trying to bounce a run outside and wound up with a bigger and bigger pack of Redskin tacklers in front of him every time. He wound up losing 10.

A horrible throw by Palmer leads to Carlos Rogers’ first NFL interception (not that it counts, this being preseason). Rogers showed some speed during his 30-yard return, but unrefined running skills. He appeared to have clear sailing up the sideline.

Rollout, throwback, reminiscent of Mark Rypien in his prime, from Ramsey to James Thrash for a Redskins TD from 25 yards out. Is that the one play that Ramsey needs to get it going? The first player out to congratulate Ramsey with a high-ten was Mark Brunell.

Thrash celebrated the touchdown by lining up on the kickoff team and sprinting all the way into the end zone to make sure that the returner kneeled down for a touchback.

Carson Palmer has had two nice scrambles for first downs, but I’m not so sure that Marvin Lewis is all the excited about it. The #1 overall pick a couple of years ago is wearing a knee brace, having missed the last three games of last year with an injury to that joint. Not only that, but Carlos Rogers nearly took his head off just before Palmer went into the slide move on the first scramble.

Second Quarter

Derrick Dockery just made a Bengal cornerback disappear when pulling on an off-tackle by Betts. The massive guard didn’t pancake number 34 as much as simply engulf him.

Yep, it just took one. Ramsey couldn’t have gone up and placed the ball in Daveid Patten’s hands any better on a 46-yard hookup deep into Bengal territory. Patten had half a step and Ramsey put the ball just beyond the defender’s reach.

That is followed up by a bad interception, with Ramsey throwing in the end zone to a tightly-covered Kevin Dyson. He got a little too cocky, perhaps.

They’ve got Carlos Rogers covering Chad Johnson, who is still in the game midway through the second quarter. Johnson beats him with a move to the sideline to pick up a first. Next play, Rogers is on Houshmandzadeh, who drops a TD pass. After that, he’s on Kelly Washington, who again beats Rogers and this time the receiver caught the ball for a 45-yard TD (who put on one of the most obnoxious dance displays ever, going on for about 15 seconds to celebrate a touchdown in an exhibition game).

Following the point after, Gregg Williams met Rogers at the sideline and offered him some advice that seemed to be neither particularly friendly nor particularly harsh. LaVar Arrington came over offered Rogers some words of encouragement.

Antonio Brown didn’t seem to exhibit much in the way of being able to make tacklers miss against the Panthers last week. Tonight, he’s showing a nice ability to chance both direction and speed to elude tacklers.

The good and the bad from Ramsey again. Drops in a nice one to Patten for 33 yards and then throws another horrid INT. After the pick, Ramsey and the other QB’s huddle with Bill Musgrave, looking at what likely was a high-level snapshot of the play.

Palmer had another chance to scramble, but he wisely threw the ball 15 yards out of bounds. It appears that Lewis had a little chat with him.

The Bengals aren’t holding much back on offense—five WR sets, quick-pitch plays, a little swing pass where the receivers cleared out the left side and Palmer dropped it into a running back, a shovel pass for a touchdown--the works.

For most of the second quarter it has been the Bengals’ first offense against the Redskins’ second defense and Washington’s first offense against Cincy’s first defense.

Kelly Washington caught a three-yard pass from Palmer. Fortunately, it was inside the two-minute warning and he had to get lined up, so we were spared the dance that surely would have ensured otherwise.

Groom did do a nice job of holding for John Hall on a field goal try that was just like an extra point. The ball was a bit inside, but Groom handled it and got the ball down in plenty of time.

Third Quarter:

Some dumb football by the Redskins early in the third. Khary Campbell made a nice hit to force a fumble and Clifton Smith, rather than falling on the ball, tried to scoop it up at about knee level. He never got the handle and ex-Redskin Larry Moore recovered the ball. After that, Chris Clemons hit John Kitna when the quarterback was almost on the far side of the wide white stripe that is the sideline. Combine those two and instead of Washington driving for a score Cincinnati has a first down near midfield. That’s the stuff that drives all coaches, particularly Gibbs, absolutely crazy.

Gibbs went for it on fourth and one at the Bengal 31, figuring that his first-team offensive line should be able to push back the Cincinnati backups on the line. A defensive tackle got penetration, though, and Cartwright never had a chance and lost four.

After that initial boomer into the end zone, Groom has been booming them from better spots on the field, just launching one 52 yards. He’s still a long shot to make the team, but he’ll be playing in the NFL somewhere soon.

Omar Stoutmire had a good chance at a highlight-reel hit on a pass over the middle, but he ducked out of it and allowed a first-down completion. He’s a veteran who needs to make those plays if he wants to snag that last safety spot.

Ade Jimoh has made a couple of nice open-field tackles, but he just can’t blitz to save his life. Last week he missed the tackle on the quarterback, tonight he seemed to have an open lane to Craig Krenzel but instead looped outside and never got near him as the quarterback converted on third and eight.

Fourth Quarter:

The Redskins are getting killed on third downs. Through three quarters the Bengals are 11 of 16 on third down conversions.

Brunell made a good arm pass to Antonio Brown. With a defender preventing him from stepping into the throw, he zipped the ball in to Brown for 12 yards.

Manny White lined up at fullback and made a classic lead block to move Broughton from the Bengal nine down to the three. White kicked out the linebacker trying to fill the hole and Nemo cut right off of his butt and rumbled down to the three. Broughton scored on the next play.

Robert McCune made an excellent little play on a run up the middle. He got into the backfield and had nobody between himself and Kenny Watson. Instead of going for the kill, he stood his ground and let Watson make his move and got just enough of a hand on him so that the rest of the defense could gang tackle Watson at the line. It won’t show up on the stat sheet or on ESPN, but it was a smart play.

Three straight drops, by Elliott, Combs, and Farris kill a promising drive to tie the game up. Can’t blame Brunell for that one.

Ramsey had more positive plays than Brunell on the night, but the two interceptions were killers. The first one looked just like the Philadelphia game at FedEx last year when he just threw into coverage in the end zone. The second one was just an awful throw. Still, he averaged over 10 yards per attempt on the ones he got to the guys who were wearing the right-colored shirts.

Antonio Brown is going to be dragging tonight. In addition to handling all of the return duties in the first half, he’s been lined up at receiver virtually every play since early in the second quarter. It seems like they’re trying to make sure he picks up the finer points about

Broughton just put a damper on an otherwise great evening by fumbling away the Redskins’ last chance to tie it up.

Gibbs was visibly agitated about the turnovers during his post-game press conference. There was an edge to his voice that has rarely been heard in public. The audio clip will be up in a little while.

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!