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Stock Report: Fitzpatrick, Heinicke impress in strong preseason start

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Washington QB Taylor Heinicke

FOXBOROUGH, MA. -- The Washington Football Team played their first preseason game in two seasons, and when the action mattered, Ron Rivera's squad looked pretty good. 

At halftime, Washington held a 7-6 lead with some solid performances from both sides of the ball. In the second half, with a litany of players on both teams that are unlikely to make actual NFL rosters, the level of play fell off.

That's not what matters here though; what matters here is how the starters and contributors looked. That's what we will examine:

Stock Up

  • Chase Young - The dude is a monster, and the world knows, but the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year reminded everyone how good he can be on an early hit of Patriots QB Cam Newton. Young beat offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson with speed and agility and exploded towards the QB and the football. The play was whistled an incomplete pass, but in a real game, a review might have changed things. This is obvious, but Young looks poised for a huge season. 
  • Starting offense - In an effort not to single any one player out, considering it was a condensed performance, the presumed starting offense looked somewhere between solid and good. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed five of eight passes for nearly 60 yards, Terry McLaurin caught two passes for 25 yards and Logan Thomas hauled in one pass for 24 yards. It was tidy, efficient and gave real signs that this offense could jump out of the NFL's basement and at least into the middle of the pack across the league. 
  • Sam Cosmi - The rookie right tackle deserves individual accolades because he played much more than the other "starters." Cosmi played most of the first half and looked poised for the bulk of his work. Can he get better at identifying defensive shifts and finding linebackers on the second level? Sure. But for a rookie in his first NFL action, Cosmi looked like he belonged, and that's a big deal for a team that needs him at right tackle. 
  • Taylor Heinicke - Can't say much more than he's a gamer. Heinicke completed nine of 15 passes for 86 yards and led Washington on a 12-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in the team's only first-half touchdown. Always with a flair for the dramatic, Heinicke's best play came in the red zone. It was third-and-10 and Heinicke scrambled around before finding undrafted rookie running back Jarett Patterson for an 11-yard gain that brought the ball to the 2-yard line. Washington would score three plays later. Speaking of Patterson, he deserves an honorable mention for a team-high 70 total yards in his first NFL action, 40 yards on 10 carries and 30 through the air.

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Stock Down

 
  • Dustin Hopkins - Washington's place kicker missed two field goals in the first three quarters of the game. That's not good. Rivera re-signed Hopkins this offseason after a strong finish to the 2020 season, but the strong finish only came after a subpar start to the year where Rivera publicly debated bringing in kicking competition. Something to watch here. 
  • Ricky Seals-Jones - The veteran tight end is fighting for a roster spot and a touchdown catch in the second quarter might have really helped his cause. Heinicke hit RSJ on the left side of the end zone but he couldn't haul the pass in. Granted, it appeared Seals-Jones was held on the play, but the TD would have stood out when the coaches watch the tape. As it appears, Thomas, Temarrick Hemingway and John Bates all appear ahead of Seals-Jones on the roster. 
  • Jamin Davis - The first-round pick certainly hasn't been bad, but he hasn't flashed yet either. He had one tackle in about a quarter's worth of work. Hardly reason to worry but it would be great if Davis put some good work on tape to build towards the regular season.