SO WHAT DID WE LEARN?

Preseason is about individual progress and players winning jobs. It's not about the final score, which, of course, is a good thing for the Redskins. Here's a rundown on who gained ground and who lost it after Friday's 27-6 loss to Atlanta.

GAINING FAST

 . . Linebacker Robert Jones continues to push Kevin Mitchell for the starting job in the middle. Jones finally is getting comfortable in this defense, which was a dramatic change from what he was used to in his first eight seasons. Jones avoided blockers and made plays. Mitchell, meanwhile, was pressing, limiting his ability to make any plays.

. . . Quarterback Sage Rosenfels started poorly, throwing an interception for a touchdown on his first pass. And he threw some ill-advised passes. But Rosenfels clearly had improved from the preseason opener, staying in the pocket more and keeping his poise. He displayed a creativity on his throws, whipping passes from all angles. For the first time, Rosenfels showed the talent that made Washington draft him.

. . . Corner Fred Smoot again was impressive. If he keeps playing this way he'll be starting early in the season. Smoot did drop an interception that would have resulted in a touchdown. But he once more tackled well and wasn't beaten. Donovan Greer had a silent night playing mostly in the nickel. Darrell Green was beaten deep once, but the pass was overthrown.

. . . Derrick Fletcher might have landed in the top spot at guard by default. Mookie Moore isn't playing well and Ben Coleman is injured. Fletcher started strong, but allowed a sack and at least two pressures. He also was slow when pulling or getting out on screens. This is a problem spot.

. . . Tackle Jon Jansen isn't in competition with anybody. But he blocked very well Friday and deserves mention.

. . . Running back Ki-Jana Carter showed explosiveness, particularly on his touchdown run (which was well-blocked by guard Matt Campbell, center Mark Fischer and fullback Bryan Johnson).

FALLING DOWN

. . . Moore showed little on offense and missed a block that led to a blocked field goal. Those kinds of mistakes lead to the unemployment line.

. . . Quarterback Todd Husak threw an interception in which the ball sailed on him. His target was wide open. Husak also appeared tentative, settling for easy passes rather than looking downfield on occasion, as if he didn't want to make another costly mistake. Give him points for playing hurt, however.

. . .Safety David Terrell was OK, but the corners receive little help from him on deep passes.

. . . The defensive line committed too many offsides penalties. They're taught to move when the ball is dragged backward. They're jumping anytime the ball is moved, a no-no.

. . .Linebacker LaVar Arrington will be a fixture in the lineup for years. That said, he's too easily blocked and hasn't made many plays. He must improve in coverage, too. Shawn Barber has played the best of the linebackers.

. . . Receiver Derrius Thompson repeated his night from the Kansas City game. He threw a nice downfield block, but dropped a pass. That's his second of the preseason.

. . . Rookie receiver Rod Gardner will be good. That's said with confidence. But he still has a lot to learn. On one running play, he jogged toward the middle of the field, thinking the play was going the other way. Problem was, Stephen Davis bounced the run back to his side and Gardner's man made the tackle. Had Gardner held his block, a huge hole might have been created.

. . . Fullback Donnell Bennett probably will start. But we haven't yet seen any reasons why.


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories