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!
MORE REDSKINS COVERAGE:
- Photo Finish: Best images from preseason finale
- Ranking the Redskins: From No. 53 to No. 1
- Roster Projection: Who makes the 53-man squad?