When the Redskins traveled to Atlanta last Thursday night, former Washington wide receiver Aldrick Robinson got to enjoy the game against his old team. The speedy wideout had just three catches, but they went for 118 yards, good for almost 40 yards per catch.
On one play a cornerback messed up, another a safety. It didn't matter who was at fault, as the Redskins simply cannot allow to get beat by the deep pass consistently. That's the message 'Skins defensive coordinator Joe Barry conveyed this week in advance to Friday's game against the Jets.
"We gave up four explosion passes," Barry said Thursday. "That's too many, can’t do that. That's beating yourself."
Barry explained that the preseason is all about improving, and he expects his group to play better against the Jets than they did against the Falcons.
"You want to improve from Week 1 to Week 2," Barry said. "We challenge our guys all the time, let's make any offense that we're going against earn every blade of grass that they gain."
Though the Skins gave up some yards through the air, there were positives to take from the Falcons game. The team tackled well, especially for the first preseason game, and second-round rookie Su'a Cravens impressed.
"He did make some splash plays, which he’s a splash play guy," Barry said of the rookie. The defensive coordinator compared his conversations with Cravens - preaching consistency every play - to the conversations he had last offseason with Preston Smith.
"You ask me, it's no different than when we talked about Preston Smith last year," Barry said. "Don’t worry about first team, second team. Take advantage of every opportunity. Atlanta was a great example, [Cravens] took advantage of his opportunities."
While Cravens emerged from the pack in Atlanta, questions remain about depth on the defensive line. Some players carry no questions - guys like Chris Baker, Ricky-Jean François or Kedric Golston - but for others, this preseason will be important for playing time, or more importantly, a roster spot.
"We're giving everyone equal reps, we're giving everyone an equal shot," Barry said. "It is competitive. It's competitive for who is going to make this team, for who is going to be the starters."