CLEVELAND — The Redskins' first half of their preseason opener against the Browns was ugly at times, and some will choose to read a lot into how they performed.

Don't read a lot into how they performed.

Sure, you can be perturbed that Baker Mayfield was able to go nearly 90 yards in just over two minutes to start the game. That was a dreadful start for Greg Manusky's bunch.

Yeah, you can be upset with the offensive line's penalty issues and inability to truly protect Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins. Consecutive holding penalties and totally blown assignments aren't acceptable.

But you need to remember a few key things before making a huge assessment of this edition of the Burgundy and Gold, the first of which is taking note of who was wearing baseball hats instead of helmets on Thursday.

Offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, and Chase Roullier were all held out, meaning Cleveland's defense got a lot of rushes against a host of backup blockers. None of Washington's top three running backs dressed, either, and wide receivers Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson both didn't play.

On the other side of the ball, meanwhile, Fabian Moreau, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Jon Bostic were the only expected starters to suit up. Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Landon Collins, Montae Nicholson, Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar all sat.

So, in short, the Redskins were far from full strength.

In addition, Jay Gruden explained this week how the initial exhibition contest doesn't involve much game-planning for the opponent. No one was really scouting the Browns, and the Redskins full array of plays has yet to be installed.


Now, as stated earlier, it was still unsettling to see how easily Mayfield and the home offense scored. Gruden's teams too often start slow, and even though the guys who opened the game are mostly second-stringers, they needed to be sharper and have more energy.

As for Bill Callahan's group, Geron Christian and Ereck Flowers were exposed. The center and right side of the front-five will eventually return, but with Trent Williams' future looking bleaker, the left side's issues do matter. Hopefully Donald Penn and Wes Martin will be better, but perhaps Thursday was a glimpse at what's to come.

Still, those who take too, too much from the showing are doing it wrong. The problems that emerged at FirstEnergy Stadium are worth monitoring, but you can't call them season-wreckers yet.

Wait to see how the Redskins produce when their entire lineup gets significant time. Wait to see if they improve in the next few weeks and address what ailed them here. And wait before you make any grand judgements about 2019. It's tempting to, but it's also foolish.