The Redskins won't go winless in the 2019 preseason. On Thursday night, the team took down the Falcons 19-7 in their third exhibition contest of the year.
The biggest news of the night, unfortunately, is the concussion Jordan Reed sustained in the first half. The star tight end has had numerous head injuries in his career and as of now, it's unknown if he'll be ready to play Week 1 against the Eagles.
Aside from that tough blow, though, Jay Gruden learned plenty of important things about his roster. Here are five of the biggest takeaways.
1) Derrius Guice should help this offense right away
After his promising performance, the running back tweeted out a handful of happy emojis — and for good reason. He got the chance to play for the first time in more than a year, but he sure didn't run like someone who's been out of football for that long.
In Atlanta, Guice broke plenty of tackles, showed a sweet combination of patience and burst and found a way to pick up yardage when there wasn't much to pick up. In all, his 11-carry, 44-yard evening indicated that he has the potential to really elevate Jay Gruden's offense.
2) This team has to be especially careful with its turnovers
Case Keenum's first half fumble put the defense in a difficult spot and led to the Falcons' lone touchdown of the game. Those are the kind of mistakes he and the Burgundy and Gold can't afford much of this year.
In 2018, Alex Smith may not have lit it up with his right arm, but he did a fantastic job at limiting his turnovers. Between Keenum, Dwayne Haskins and maybe Colt McCoy, there probably will be a spike in giveaways in 2019.
Now, if those signal callers can keep that spike to a minimum, maybe the Redskins can put together a playoff-caliber campaign. If not, things will be ugly, because they simply don't have the firepower to make up for lost possessions.
3) Landon Collins looks like a force on the back end
The expensive safety popped with some run stops as well as a terrific read and near-interception of Matt Ryan on Thursday. Afterward, he gushed about how well he and Montae Nicholson are meshing on the defense's last line.
If you like picture-perfect form tackling, then you're going to like watching Collins go to work all season long. He and Nicholson could become one hell of a duo for Greg Manusky.
4) Cassanova McKinzy may be a sneaky good pass rusher
Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat are the headliners at outside linebacker, but don't overlook McKinzy. The 26-year-old posted two sacks and also jarred the ball loose on one of those takedowns.
Much like what they'll need to do on the interior defensive line, it'll be necessary for the Redskins to rotate Kerrigan and Sweat so they aren't worn out by November. Maybe McKinzy can be that third threat and a specialist on third downs for the unit.
5) There are a lot of useful receivers, but no true No. 1
Cam Sims put together his best stat line of the preseason and Kelvin Harmon showed up as well. Then you have Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn and Terry McLaurin who figure to see tons of snaps on the outside, plus Robert Davis, who's had the best August of all the wideouts.
As mentioned earlier, there isn't an abundance of big-time playmakers on offense and that includes the receivers, where no true No. 1 exists. Maybe, just maybe, there are enough good targets, though, to keep defenses off balance and provide the QB multiple places to go in passing situations.
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