Clawed: Panthers Handle Redskins

It wasn't the first impression Washington wanted to make. And granted it's just one preseason game, but the Redskins' first unit showed little offensively in a 28-10 loss to Carolina on Saturday. Just as that unit did last year, and has done this summer.

Starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey threw one interception and led Washington to no points in almost two quarters of work. Mark Brunell played better than Ramsey while Jason Campbell showed enough to think he could be good -- down the road.

But the starting offense didn't produce. The protection was better, though at times Washington was blocking four men with six, leaving the Redskins undermanned on routes.

The defense, playing minus a handful of expected starters, did a nice job up front. It seemingly doesn't matter who they put on the line, they somehow maintain their point of attack. Credit line coach Greg Blache for that.

Five who helped their cause:

. . . Rookie fullback Nehemiah Broughton had a nice night. Running backs coach Earnest Byner said he wants to see Broughton move piles and that's what he did. Yes, it's nice that he scored a touchdown. But that was a well-designed one-yard run so he didn't have to do anything other than run to the right spot. What I liked more was a three-yard run earlier in the game when he was hit at the line by an end yet still plowed forward for two more yards. A paltry three-yard run, but good backs gain yards after they're hit. His pad level is lower than it was at the start of camp and that will help him.

. . . Quarterback Mark Brunell. OK, there's no QB controversy. But why not? Brunell showed more zip on his passes than almost all last year and he looked more poised in the pocket. He also composed himself before throwing, even in chaotic situations. On a 21-yard strike to Antonio Brown, Brunell was drilled as he threw the ball yet he hung in and threw a relaxed pass.

. . . Defensive lineman Aki Jones. He made two nice back-to-back plays, shedding his blocker to first make a tackle for a loss and then one for no gain. The rookie from Fordham will get more looks because of plays like that.

. . . Receiver Antonio Brown. Though he has zero career catches, he did a nice job getting open Saturday. Brown caught three passes, two of which were third down throws that resulted in first downs. Brown could be a guy who makes a big play every so often, especially if locked in man coverage by a dime corner.

. . . Linebacker Zak Keasey probably is nothing better than practice squad fodder at this point. But he made a nice read, resulting in a sack. The rookie from Princeton is a bit short and has his flaws, but he has shown enough to be intriguing.

Five who didn't:

. . . Quarterback Patrick Ramsey is the starter; so says Joe Gibbs. Now it's time he played like someone who deserves the position. Ramsey has not looked sharp this summer and that was reflected in his two quarters of action Saturday. He completed a high number of passes (eight for 12, but only 77 yards) but looked uncomfortable in the pocket. He did not always set his feet well or throw relaxed. It's almost as if the pounding he took in college and his first two years in the NFL has damaged him even now.

. . . Running back Jonathan Combs fumbled one ball and dropped two passes, one of which skidded off his hands for an interception.

. . . Corner Rufus Brown is locked in a three-way battle for a job with Ade Jimoh and Garnell Wilds. But Brown was picked on at times by the Panthers. In one case, Brown was victimized by a fade route for a touchdown, a difficult route to defend if run properly. Jimoh allowed a touchdown reception to Rod Gardner, but the ex-Redskin should have been flagged for holding and then for pushing off.

. . . Kicker Jeff Chandler missed a 42-yard field goal wide left, lessening his chances of beating out John Hall, who earlier had made his 42-yarder.

. . . Receiver Darnerien McCants is playing with an injured hand, so perhaps he deserves some slack. But he dropped two passes. For a guy who needs to be darn impressive to win a job, that wasn't a good sign.


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