...Linebacker London Fletcher. After watching him for one game, it's clear he'll be their best middle linebacker in some time. I loved Antonio Pierce, but he was learning the position the year he played in Washington. Fletcher knows it; his ability to avoid blockers is uncanny. And he does it without somehow getting off his path. Fletcher is fun to watch. He's like a cat who waits for his prey then pounces without hesitation.
...Rocky McIntosh. I liked his physical play, as always. He made one tackle where he first had to shed a blocker. Another time he read a pass in the right flat perfectly and stopped the tight end for a two-yard gain. Again, another upgrade over last year's starter, Warrick Holdman.
...The defensive line. I wanted to pick a couple out, but the starters fared pretty well as a group. Kedric Golston, early on, was the most impressive. He showed real strength in collapsing the pocket.
...Defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander. Already on the coach's radar, he had to climb a little higher with his perseverance, even as he lost his helmet. In the fourth quarter, Alexander had his helmet knocked off, yet he still ran across the field to help tackle the ballcarrier. Safety Reed Doughty's helmet caught the side of his face and Alexander left with a bloodied mug. Alexander also collapsed the pocket on an earlier play.
...Tight end Eric Edwards. Tyler Ecker's injury has allowed Edwards a chance to win the job. Hard to imagine Ecker earning a roster spot at this point. Edwards showed good hands, catching three passes.
...Running back Marcus Mason reversed field for one 13-yard run on the game-winning touchdown drive. Mason then scored on a 1-yard run. I like how he gets low and moves forward after contact.
...Receiver Carl Berman was another who had already caught the staffs' eye. He helped himself with a nice catch while falling to the ground. He bobbled the ball as he was falling and was grabbed in the facemask, yet he still hung on.
...Punter Derrick Frost averaged 47.3 yards per punt and dropped four inside the 20. He says he doesn't want to peak in August, but he's clearly off to a good start and has become much more consistent.
...Linebacker H.B. Blades is Fletcher's size, but he's nowhere near as fast. But he does have instincts for the position. He scraped along the line for one three-yard stop and plugged a hole for a one-yard stop. He missed a couple tackles, but he showed reason to believe he could develop into a contributor.
... Left guard Todd Wade looked like a guy who was playing his first game at left guard. Which, of course, he is. Wade was awkward in his movements, which is to be expected. Any communication problems will eventually be solved, especially when Chris Samuels returns. But what worries us is his inability to pull. He tried twice and both times his footwork was sloppy. He would either get too wide or get bumped off his path.
...Right tackle Jon Jansen did not have a good night, nor did right guard Randy Thomas. For a pair that has worked together often, they had communication breakdowns, too. Again, that can be corrected. Still, not a good night for them. Heck, the only offensive lineman worth a darn was center Casey Rabach.
...Left tackle Stephon Heyer really wasn't all that bad considering he was making his first start and was an undrafted free agent for a reason.I wouldn't say he held his own considering how much help the Redskins gave him. Yes, Jason Campbell should have recognized a corner blitz but a more experienced left tackle would have spotted it too and stopped it. Heyer did not.
...Receiver Mike Espy had a 20-yard catch, but he dropped a couple passes and, after missing a week with a bruised knee, has to do better than that to make the roster.
...Quarterback Jason Campbell is only as good as his line. And he rarely received time to throw. But he did not help himself with his inability to protect the ball and could have avoided the second sack by stepping up into the pocket. However, we refuse to judge him too harshly based on what happened up front.
...Coach Joe Gibbs. He and his coaches talked often about the need to get off to a good start and this is what they produce? Zero points with the starters? Maybe it's time to ditch the 60-minute workouts.
...Right tackle Calvin Armstrong has slow feet.
...John Eubanks is not a punt returner in the NFL.
... DT Anthony Montgomery had a couple plays where his raw power was terrific. But he's unable to sustain his play, leading to gaps along the line.
...CB Byron Westbrook recovered a touchdown in the end zone, but missed a tackle earlier in the game.
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