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Five key observations from Redskins preseason finale loss to Ravens

Five key observations from Redskins preseason finale loss to Ravens

BALTIMORE— The Redskins finished the 2018 NFL preseason on Thursday night with a 30-20 loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

With the preseason officially in the books, what did we learn from Thursday night? Who played their way off the bubble? Did the finale impact cutdown day on Saturday?

Here are my five key observations and takeaways from the Redskins’ loss to Baltimore.

1. After a rough start to the preseason, QB Kevin Hogan acquitted himself well. 

This preseason, in the first nine Redskins possessions with Hogan at quarterback they gained all of 89 yards. Then he started to get on a roll. Hogan led a late field goal drive to win the game against the Jets (saving Washington from a winless preseason, as it turns out) and then the Redskins scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Broncos with Hogan at the helm.

Tonight he was very inconsistent with some good throws and some others that were of the “what the heck was he thinking?” variety. In the former category was a deep dime to Simmie Cobbs that he threw while taking a big hit up high.

I’m not sure if Hogan will get a spot on the 53-man roster, but he will get another shot somewhere. 

2. The Quick vs. Sims wide receiver competition was not decided tonight.

If it was, then Brian Quick, who caught a four-yard touchdown pass, would win it. Sims was targeted twice and he didn’t have a catch. He almost had a shot at a circus end zone grab, but Hogan didn’t quite put the ball in the right spot.

But the roster decision will come down to the body of work that each player has put up since OTAs started. And in the case of Quick, his performance in previous seasons will come into play. In any case, the splash plays that Sims made against the Jets and Quick’s TD tonight, plus a nice catch he made on a deep ball that led him out of bounds, will factor in but they won’t be the whole story.

It may come down to who can contribute better on special teams. 

3. Shaun Dion Hamilton could be a good one. Tim Settle is good now. 

The sixth-round pick won’t get much action early this year. He is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered at Alabama last year. But Hamilton often is in the right place at the right time and those instincts will serve him well.

Settle was a force in the middle throughout the preseason as his unique combination of size and athletic ability was often on display. He played some snaps at end during the preseason, and if he can be effective there he will see a whole lot of playing time as the first D-lineman off the bench. 

4. Preseason results don’t matter but how a team plays does.

The Redskins went 1-3 in the preseason and, as noted, that doesn’t really matter. But they looked sloppy at times.

The tackling wasn't where it needs to be and they committed more than their share of dumb penalties. The stats don’t mean much, but it’s hard to look away from their 27.1 percent third-down conversion rate on offense. It’s hard to evaluate the offense, whether it’s the starters, backups, or guys trying to make the team, if you can’t move the chains. 

5. It's on to Arizona.

The games count from now on, and the Redskins’ first test is against the Cardinals in Arizona.

It’s very hard to figure out where they are right now with the starters having taken so few preseason snaps. And even if they had played the standard 70 snaps or so, we still would be in the dark about where they are. We get our first look at the Alex Smith-led offense and the defense with the revamped front a week from Sunday.

In the immortal words of Bart Scott, can’t wait!

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That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

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That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

Thanks to Antonio Brown, we have the hopes and dreams of a splashy off-season for the Washington Redskins in one tidy four-second video.

Brown, the NFL’s best receiver, is angling for a trade out of Pittsburgh.

Kyler Murray is the reigning Heisman Trophy quarterback and a projected 2019 first round pick.

During the NFC Championship game, the Steelers wide receiver tweeted out a clip of him hauling in a deep pass from the University of Oklahoma product. Yes, that’s going to draw some eyeballs, perhaps especially from fans of a team with quarterback uncertainty and lacking offensive playmakers.

Another OU standout, wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown”, joined his cousin Antonio and Murray for the workout. This isn’t the first time all three shared a field.

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The best rolled thru today, appreciate you @ab 📞

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Marquise Brown, a true speed threat, could become the first wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft.

There’s no way for the Redskins to land all three. Even two seems highly unlikely considering the two prospects are projected first-round selections and acquiring Brown would cost a No. 1 and plenty more. It’s still cool to dream. Considering the quarterback concerns with Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder entering free agency and the need for more pieces regardless, even landing one of them would work.

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Report: Dan Snyder was leading Redskins pursuit of Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams

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Report: Dan Snyder was leading Redskins pursuit of Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams

Despite speaking with a number of hot candidates on the job market, the Redskins did not make a change at defensive coordinator. Greg Manuksy will remain in that role.

That doesn't mean the team didn't try, as multiple reports showed that Todd Bowles and Gregg Williams were priority targets for Washington. 

On Sunday, a CBS Sports report from Jason La Canfora said that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was the driver in pursuit of first Bowles and then Williams. The story also points out that the Redskins owner was leading the effort, not head coach Jay Gruden.

The story says Snyder put the 'full-court press' on Bowles and offered to make him the highest paid coordinator in the NFL. 

When Bowles decided to go to Tampa and work with Bruce Arians, Snyder turned his focus to Williams. From the story:

Williams and Snyder have a strong relationship from his years serving as coordinator there under Joe Gibbs, and his previous head coaching experience, in Buffalo and Cleveland, also made him attractive. The team set up a formal visit and interview with Williams after he was let go as the Browns interim head coach, but the sides never met. 

La Canfora also contends that Snyder making aggressive pushes for both Bowles and Williams might not be good news for Jay Gruden in 2020.

The 'Skins head coach has two years left on his contract that pays him $5 million per year. Gruden has been assured he will remain the head coach for 2019, but few NFL coaches work in the last year of their deal. A 'lame duck' year for Gruden would come in 2020 unless the team and coach agree to another contract extension. 

The Redskins have not made the playoffs in the last three seasons, and have not won a playoff game in over a decade.

If Snyder is frustrated, he has reasons for it. 

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