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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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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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