Insider Report: Redskins vs. Bengals

Believe it or not, there were a few good things found in the Redskins' loss to the Bengals. John Keim examines them along with the bad and the ugly.

The defender raced downfield, carrying the ball and heading toward the end zone. The running back wasn't about to let him get there, preseason game or not. So Clinton Portis sprinted as hard as he could, barreled into him and laid him out.

He saved a touchdown. But the consequences were bad: Portis suffered a partially dislocated shoulder, leaving his status uncertain for the rest of the preseason. More will be learned today after he undergoes more tests. Surgery is always an option.

That's why the final score in this game, and anything else that happened for that matter, is meaningless. Preseason games are about getting ready and staying healthy. The Redskins failed to do the latter with Portis and linebacker Chris Clemons, who suffered sprained ligaments in his knee. Running back Kerry Carter also hurt his knee, though he was no lock to make the final roster.

Those injuries overshadowed everything. The Redskins did little anyway, blitzing some but not showing much variety in coverages. The offense sputtered thanks to turnovers, a problem in the first half of last season.

The Bengals scored in the first quarter on a safety and then a 12-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Wright to Chris Henry. Shayne Graham and John Hall swapped second-quarter field goals from 37 and 38 yards, respectively.

Kelley Washington caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to complete the scoring.

The reviews:

If only: Portis didn't hustle so much. He made an incredible effort to tackle the interceptor, but that shouldn't be a surprise. It's what Portis does, preseason or no. It's a shame that he be rewarded with such an effort by suffering a shoulder injury. That hustle is why he's valuable.

Stepping it up: Look for the Redskins to really pursue linebacker Jeff Posey with Clemons hurt. Last we heard, they were optimistic about Posey signing with them. They clearly need a backup behind Marcus Washington and Posey can play the strong side, as well as be a backup on the inside and rush at end. Posey was cut last week by Buffalo.

Bad debut: Wasn't Todd Collins supposed to be a veteran presence at quarterback, someone who knows what to do? So why did he panic so much? Jason Campbell showed much more poise than Collins, who threw a dumb interception because he panicked on a screen. Then he was called for a safety when he was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. He later made a couple nice throws, but the damage had been done.

Looking better: Campbell was very, very poised in the pocket. He did an excellent job of setting his feet before he threw and stepping into the pocket.

Backup duty: Campbell had time to throw because of the second offensive line, which protected well. They didn't always face blitzes and when the Bengals stunted, it caused some problems. They didn't open many holes in the ground game and each showed flaws -- Mike Pucillo had a few times where he was too upright; Jasper Harvey's footwork on his pulls was terrible. But at least they protected OK.

Safety problems: On Collins' safety, there was a miscommunication between right guard Jasper Harvey and right tackle Jon Alston. They failed to pick up a stunt, with Alston ignoring the tackle coming to the outside. The pressure resulted in the intentional grounding.

Catch of the day: Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd, running a skinny post, made a full-bodied diving grab of a Mark Brunell pass. It's a hint of things to come.

Offensive star: Receiver Mike Espy. He made a couple nice grabs and finished with four catches for 56 yards. The coaches like his ability to make plays.

Defensive star: The first team defense played, well, like a team. But the grit started in the interior with Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a, both of whom plugged the middle and applied some pressure in limited action.

Nice move: Linebacker Marcus Washington had a terrific spin move into the quarterback on a rush.

Oops: Rookie safety Reed Doughty bit hard on a flea-flicker pass, storming up to stop the run. The Bengals ran the same play later in the game and Doughty bit again, but this time the pass went to the other side. Doughty also was called for holding on a kickoff.

Impressive collision: Rookie linebacker Rocky McIntosh took on one guard and knocked him on his fanny. McIntosh didn't make many plays, but he showed some power in those collisions.

Punting battle: Both had some good punts, but we still give the edge to Frostie. But, as usual, Frostie came up with his longest punt when he needed some finesse, booming one into the end zone from the Cincy 45. David Lonie dropped one inside the 20, but his one long punt was too much of a line drive, resulting in a 14-yard return.

Weakside battle: Warrick Holdman looked much more in sync with the defense than he did last year. It's hard to imagine him losing this job before the season opener.


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