ReFo: BUF @ WAS, Preseason WK 3
That didn’t quite go to plan did it? Not for the Buffalo Bills anyway who lost Kevin Kolb and were forced to put undrafted rookie free agent Jeff Tuel into a situation where he was unable to succeed.
For the Redskins, however, it was a different story. The running game looked more in-sync than you’d expect from an outfit in preseason, even when the backups came in and executed in impressive fashion. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant performances.
Buffalo – Three Performances of Note
In Manuel they now Trust
It wasn’t a classic display by Kevin Kolb (-0.6) but it’s a horrid shame that his career is now being called into question after another concussion knocked him out of the game. In the long term this has no real consequence for the Buffalo given that Kolb really isn’t the type of quarterback you want running that quick strike offense (for evidence see the sack he walked into on the fifth play of the game), but he did buy them some breathing time.
Now with Manuel facing a race against time to be fit for Week 1, they could find themselves in the position of starting undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel (-2.1) who didn’t have as much joy against the Redskins as he did kicking-off preseason against the Colts. You can’t blame all his struggles on him, but he failed to move the ball downfield and while he completed 10 of 15 aimed passes, none of them went further than 10 yards in the air.
The rebuild just got rebuildier.
Back to Backing Up
Not a great day for Aaron Williams (-4.4) to have a rough showing? While the team and Jairus Byrd maintain a frosty relationship, Williams didn’t exactly put forward a case for being able to fill in if Byrd isn’t game ready by the time the season opener rolls around.
He played his part in a coverage breakdown that allowed Pierre Garcon to pick up an easy touchdown, and also didn’t help his cause by missing two tackles. Often you don’t notice safeties because they’re doing their job, but you found yourself focusing too much on Williams for his 44 snaps as he struggled to make a positive impression.
If there’s some good news to take out of his this it’s that the line held their own for the most part. None was more impressive than Erik Pears (+3.0) who was perfect in pass protection and did his part in the run game.
The Bills’ rushing attack will put their offensive linemen in favorable positions as they run a lot of misdirection with interior defensive linemen getting double teamed, but Pears proved able to handle himself in one-on-one battles in a couple of exchanges (Q2, 12:41 and 5:28) with Chris Neild that saw him execute text book cut blocks to take the big man off his feet.
Washington – Three Performances of Note
Right Side Depth
With Chris Chester looked in as a starter at guard, and Tyler Polumbus seemingly at tackle, the Redskins look set on that side of the line. That doesn’t, however, mean they don’t have some questions to ponder and some depth to be very happy about.
Tony Pashos (+3.7) had an extremely impressive outing, getting an extensive workout with 55 snaps. His lone mistake (not reacting to the snap of the ball that saw his man pick up an unblocked sack) is something that is more correctable than a fundamental lack of talent. Instead, there was a lot of good from the man who spent all of 2012 out of the league, especially in the run game. When you’re as big and powerful as him then you’re a nightmare for linebackers at the second level and he demonstrated that time and time again.
But for a false start penalty Adam Gettis (+0.9) would have been the second-highest ranked linemen, as last year’s fifth-round selection got better and better as the game went on (obviously this coincided with the backups entering). Able to seal effectively on double teams, he gave up just the one pressure (to Marcel Dareus) and showed some real athleticism to get the better of Torrel Troup on a stretch play that involved a significant reach block.
Mixed Day for the Corners
David Amerson (-2.3) was so impressive back in the Redskins’ preseason opener. This week he wasn’t. As with most rookies it takes time to adjust, and getting beat for three first downs, missing a tackle, and being called for a defensive pass interference penalty isn’t how the team will want him to spend his Sunday afternoons during the regular season.
On the bright side, Chase Minnifield (+2.7) was far more impressive, albeit against weaker opposition. It’s encouraging to see him playing so well on his road back from injury, and he’s making a case for a roster spot. He allowed only one of the four balls thrown into his coverage to be complete (for 5 yards).
The Third QB, who will it be?
So we know Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins are going to make the team, but what about the competition between Rex Grossman (-0.4) and Pat White (+1.0)? Well, it may prove that it’s just for show with Grossman so familiar with Team Shanahan, but the athletic ability of White and maddening inconsistency of the incumbent make this something to keep an eye on.
The problem with White is that there are times where his arm is, shall we say, scattergun? The ball wobbles as it comes out and the wide receiver is helpless. But he did move the chains here, and his legs allowed him to run the read option attack in the way you’d expect from a poor man’s RG3. Grossman, on the other hand, delivered a couple of spectacular throws (Q1, 12:28 and 4:49) but preceded those with some spectacularly bad ones (Q1, 12:32 and 4:55). It was his career in a nutshell and why he finds himself fighting for a third-string job at this point in his career.
– Tough day for the normally impressive Stevie Johnson (-2.1). He caught four balls but dropped another and fumbled one away.
– Daryl Tapp (+2.9) looks set to continue doing a job wherever he ends up. Three defensive stops in the run game, a sack and a batted pass show he’s still got it.
– The Bills missed nine tackles to just four from the Redskins.
He looked like a man against boys at times. Tony Pashos earned this one.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled