There were a lot more miscues in Washington's second round of Preseason action. Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and Colt McCoy each threw an interception. Alfred Morris also fumbled the ball on a botched sweep play. This game could have been a major blowout in favor of the Redskins, but these mistakes only allowed for a narrow 24-23 victory against the Cleveland Browns. The score might have been 24-17 had the Browns not successfully executed a hail mary at the very end of the game. Cleveland then went for two, but failed to convert.
Even though this one will go down as a win, the ball security of this team must be questioned. Turnovers were a huge part of the team's failures in 2013, and they mustn't let that hinder them again. Robert Griffin III must also know when (and how) to slide whenever he is in danger. He gave fans a scare when he started limping around after an awkward slide attempt. Reports later told that RG3 suffered a thigh contusion. Critics are now beginning to question whether RG3 will be able to play an entire NFL season without getting himself killed out there on the turf.
Although there were some negatives, there were also some positives (and more negatives) worth noting. Everyone has to remember that this is a time for learning for these players. These NFL teams have just started playing with their fellow teammates, and it could take some time to build the chemistry. Some players impressed, and others, not so much. Let's take a look, shall we?
Note: All stat lines are from Week 2 ONLY
Rashad Ross, 1st year Receiver: In the Preseason opener, Ross opened some eyes with a wonderful kickoff return and a long sideline reception. He put on the same performance against Cleveland. Ross managed to return the ball all the way down to around the Redskins 40 yard line, leaving the offense with excellent field position. As we all may know, the Redskins Special Teams unit was despicable last season, so seeing plays like these helps mend some of the pain. Unfortunately, Ross is part of a heavily stacked Wide Receiver corps, and he has his work cut out for him if he wishes to make the roster. If he continues his stellar Special Teams play and contributes on the offensive side of the ball, he should be able to squeak by the final cuts.
Stat Line: 1 reception, 43 yards - 42 yard kickoff return
Bacarri Rambo, 2nd year Safety: A player that faced major criticism last year, Rambo is back with a purpose. Tackling was an issue for the young Safety last season, but his 2014 form looks much improved. It was unfair for fans to expect so much from Rambo in his first year in the NFL. After all, he didn't fall to the sixth round of the Draft for nothing. After two full Preseason games, Rambo has shown good tackling, and even forced a much needed fumble against the Browns. Starting Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has high praises for the Safety, saying that Rambo has been the best player in the secondary thus far in the Preseason. This year, Rambo will most likely be backing up veteran Ryan Clark who was added to the team via Free Agency this past Offseason. However, if Rambo continues to develop and improves his techniques, we could be looking at an eventual starter for the burgundy and gold.
Stat Line: 1 solo tackle, 3 assists, 1 forced fumble
Bashaud Breeland, 1st year Cornerback: The rookie continues to impress fans and coaching staff. This week, Breeland was really laying the wood against Cleveland. He delivered some bone-jarring hits, the kind that make you cringe whenever you see them. Luckily, the players on the receiving end were okay, but Breeland managed to force a clutch incompletion on a 4th down attempt, turning the ball over on downs for the Redskins. It is little plays like this that can turn the tide of a football game, and Breeland seems to have the ability to make these plays. He plays beyond his years and looks really savvy out there on the field. The Washington secondary is a little crammed right now, but there is no doubt that he makes it past the final cuts. Breeland will be an important role player on defense for Washington this season.
Stat Line: 3 solo tackles, 2 assists
Ryan Grant, 1st year Wide Receiver: Grant finds his way onto this list for the second week in a row. This week, he managed to record his first NFL touchdown reception. It was sure to come sooner or later. The Tulane product isn't quite starter material yet, but he's playing way above the number two defenders on the other side of the field. He isn't the biggest or fastest guy around. He is a smart receiver, though, and knows how to get open and catch the ball with ease. Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Andre Roberts are the top receivers on the depth chart, but Ryan Grant isn't close behind. He will see a good amount of playing time this season if he keeps grinding like he has been.
Stat Line: 4 receptions, 44 yards, 1 touchdown
Darryl Sharpton, 5th year Linebacker: Where is he at?! The Linebacker position is stacked as always, and Darryl Sharpton isn't making any noise. There isn't enough room on the roster to carry Sharpton, Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan, etc. There has to be an odd man out. All of the other players mentioned have given reasons as to why they should be on the roster. Sharpton is a liability in pass coverage and he can't seem to get on the field due to a high ankle sprain, anyways. Things aren't going in Sharpton's favor as of right now, and if he doesn't make some good impressions soon, his chances of making the roster are very slim. Let's hope we get to see him on the field soon, for his sake.
Stat Line: N/A
Chase Minnifield, 3rd year Cornerback: It's not really what he has done, but what he hasn't done. Even though Minnifield hasn't played in a regular season game in his entire NFL career, Redskins fans like the kid and would like to see him make the roster. However, Minnifield has struggled with injuries his entire career and right now, he's done nothing to pull ahead of fellow Cornerback Richard Crawford on the depth chart. Luckily for Chase, he is still eligible for the Redskins practice squad. So, even if he doesn't quite make it this year, he has another chance next year. It isn't a time to give up hope, though! There are still two games of Preseason left; a clutch interception or forced fumble would definitely improve his stock.
Stat Line: 1 assist, 0.5 sack
To put it nicely, the Redskins played an ugly game against the Cleveland Browns. Missed opportunities were the tale of this one. The turnovers need to be corrected, especially since they will be squaring off against a tough Baltimore Ravens Defense in Week 3 on Saturday. The Redskins offense will be challenged and it will be a true test of their ability. Let's hope they can bounce back from a sloppy Week 2 performance. Hail to the Redskins!