LANDOVER, MD — The Redskins' Week 3 preseason dress rehearsal did not go according to plan. 

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 29-17 loss to the Broncos at FedEx Field on Friday night. 

1. You have to wonder if Alex Smith played long enough in the preseason.

Alex Smith had played just one series of football against another team prior to tonight, and he looked like it.

Smith completed three of eight passes for 33 yards, taking a sack in the process. He also missed open receivers and threw into coverage. His preseason tally was about 38 snaps, this for a quarterback in his first year in this offense.

We will see how it goes but if Smith gets off to a slow start Jay Gruden will be open for a lot of well-deserved criticism for not preparing him enough in the preseason. 

2. On the other hand, perhaps Adrian Peterson showed that maybe you don’t need a whole lot of preparation to play well. 

It took Adrian Peterson just a few carries to get going.

In the Redskins’ second possession he found some running room around left tackle and scampered for 13 yards (and, yes, scampered is the appropriate term for the 33-year-old’s run). That was in the midst of seven straight carries for Peterson, good for 30 yards.

On fourth and short in the second quarter he bounced it out to the left side, did a little stop and go to make a tackler miss, and picked up 15 yards.


Friday night was a promising start for the Peterson experiment. 

3. The first-team defense didn’t look like it had played enough football. 

The starting defense did not look as quick or as prepared as the Denver offense. They were a step slow in coverage, especially Josh Norman, who got beaten twice for 40 yards on a Broncos touchdown drive. The tackling was sloppy, an issue that was evident on 27- and 24-yard touchdown runs.

After allowing just six first-half points in their first two preseason games they gave up 17 tonight. 

4. The Redskins did get through the preseason mostly healthy, with one big exception. 

Well, if you’re going to play your starters sparingly your goal is probably to prevent injuries and the Redskins suffered just one major injury to a player expected to be a major contributor. That, of course, was the torn ACL suffered by Derrius Guice.

Other than that, the Redskins will enter the regular season healthy. A cautionary note about this topic is that we aren’t sure how players who were injured last year, like Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson, will play. But the outlook is good. 

5. The Redskins will need to play much better when the games start to count. 

Preseason results don’t matter but the quality of play does. The Redskins had a few good series on both sides of the ball by the first and second teams but no consistency.

Jay Gruden said that his top goal was to get the starters through the preseason healthy. As noted, that was accomplished but perhaps at the price of getting the team ready to play. The Redskins aren’t the only team that went light on their starters during the preseason and it will be interesting to see how those teams perform in the first few weeks of the season. 



Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.