Saturday, August 27, 2016

Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins Recap
















by Waleo (@UrbanSportScene)

In the third preseason game, The Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-16.  Every team’s goal is to win the game but the Redskins first team looked shaky against the first team of the Bills. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins started to the game looking rusty.  Cousins, prior to the Bills game, threw the ball five times in the first preseason game, and didn’t play in second game. On Friday, Cousins completed 3 of 9 passes with an interception in the first quarter.   When asked if Cousins was rusty Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said, “I don’t know if it’s rust, it could be rust. Got some pressure in the pocket at his feet and didn’t get enough on it.  But we have to check out the film and find out why and coach him up.”  Cousins did receive pressure in the pocket but he didn’t look poised in the 1st quarter.  However, Cousins wasn’t the only offensive player who struggled.  

Redskins’ pass catchers let Cousins and the team down as well.  Wide receiver Pierre Garcon dropped a key 3rd and 7 pass in the 1st quarter that would have given the Redskins the first down.  Also, star tight end Jordan Reed dropped a 3rd and 1 pass early in the 2nd quarter that could have been a big play first down.  These two are two of the Redskins more sure handed pass catchers. The offense struggled but eventually the offensive play improved. 

Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense got into a rhythm in the 2nd quarter.  Cousins end up throwing for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the 2nd quarter alone.  Tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis both made plays in the 2nd quarter.  Davis had three catches for 42 yards including a 22 yard reception.  Reed had two catches for 28 yards including a 20 yard TD reception.  The Redskins even featured a three tight end set with Reed, Davis and Niles Paul.  This package should give opposing defenses something to worry about during the season.  There were some consistent players from the start.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson looked electric and unstoppable.  He had four catches for 56 yards including a short reception that he turned into a 39 yard catch and run.  Arguably you could say that Jackson looked like the best player on the field between the two teams.   Also, rookie running back Robert Kelley emerged as the guy who will likely replace projected starter Matt Jones if Jones isn’t healthy for week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Kelley ended the game with 12 carries for 51 yards.  He ran hard and showed good vision. 
 
Defensively the Redskins as a whole were sharp.  Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland looked like shut down corners.  Both cornerbacks locked down the Bills wide receivers.  Bills starting wide receivers Sammy Watkins Jr. and Robert Woods both had zero catches in the first half.  Defensive end Ziggy Hood emerged as a force on the Redskins defensive line.  Hood had a sack and also a tackle of Boom Herron for a 4 yard loss in the 2nd quarter.  Hood and Chris Baker at the defense end position could be instant magic if Hood continues to play this way.  Outside linebacker Preston Smith stood out as well.  He cracked quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the 1st quarter on a 2nd and 12 passing play.  Smith seems to be getting better with every play.  The pass rush and pass coverage was great but the Redskins still have an issue with stopping the run. 

The first team defense still seems a little light when stopping the run.  There were big running lanes towards the beginning of the game.  In the first half, Bills starting running back Reggie Bush averaged 5.7 yards per carry.  Bush is not the Bills starting running back.  That title goes to LeSean McCoy—who did not play.  This is an issue.  At the moment, the Redskins’ defense is better suited against the pass but stopping the run wins championships.  In the first half alone, the Redskins gave up 113 yards on 21 carries.   

There were positive takeaways from this game.  Cousins bouncing back, Robert Kelley emerging as a respectable running back, DeSean Jackson looking like a stud, and Breeland and Norman being shutdown corners.  However, fans should be concerned a little.  In the dress rehearsal game, this team didn’t look sharp and there are some weaknesses on this team that could be taken advantage of.  The coaching staff has some work to do, to get this team ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night. 

Check out Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AMHopewell, Virginia Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm ET.  Also check out the Urban Sports Scene podcast every Tuesday at 8 pm ET live here at www.waleo.podbean.com/live-stream.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Positives and Negatives from the Redskins Preseason loss to the Falcons















By Waleo (@UrbanSportScene)

In the preseason opener in Atlanta, the Washington Redskins lost to the Atlanta Falcons 23-17.  There were some good and bad things that went on in that game.  Let’s start with the positives. 

Su’a Cravens 

Inside linebacker Su’a Cravens put a lot of pressure on himself to be a stud.  The young man is rocking one of the jersey numbers of the late great safety Sean Taylor.  If you are playing with that number, boy you better be spectacular.  However, there were reports coming out of camp that Cravens was struggling.  Well on Thursday night, the young man was balling.  Craven was flying around like a wild crazed dog.  One play comes to mind in the 2nd quarter, where he jets up the middle and hits Falcons running back Brandon Wild for a two- yard loss.  Cravens’ wasn’t done.  He made another flashy play in the 3rd quarter, where he came on an inside blitz and batting a pass away from Falcons’ quarterback Sean Renfree.   One thing you have to like about Cravens is that within a positive or negative play the dude goes 100 miles per hour.  Hopefully Cravens can build on this and be a consistent play maker like Sean Taylor. 

Ryan Grant 

Redskins’ wide receiver Ryan Grant played well.  He got the opportunity to play with the 1st unit on offense.  He caught three passes for 31 yards.   Ryan Grant is a good route runner and is an all hands guy.  Grant has played well in prior preseasons but hopefully if he makes the team he’ll transfer that play to regular season play. 

Nate Sudfeld 

Redskins quarterback Nate Sudfeld completed 10 of 15 passes, and threw for 89 yards and a touchdown.  The 6’6 quarterback showed nice touch when he hit tight end Logan Paulsen for a 28 yard pass in 3rd quarter. He’s nowhere near a finished product by he does possess a strong arm and good height.  Redskins’ nation should be interested to see what he does in his next three games.
There were some good performances but obviously there were some so-so performances as well.  That’s why they lost! 

Running game 

The running game has to improve.   Last year the Falcons defense gave up 4.0 yards per carry.  This team isn’t world-beaters when it comes to stopping the run.  On Thursday, the Redskins averaged 3.3 yards per carry.  Last year the Redskins running game averaged 3.7 yards per carry.  Running back Matt Jones is now the featured back for the “Burgundy and Gold” and he only carried the ball two times for one yard.  Now granted it is a small portion size but we are talking about a running back that averaged 3.4 yards a carry last year.  

Rookie running back from Georgia Keith Marshall is a running back that many fans wanted to see.  Marshall, who ran a 4.31 in the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine, did diddly Thursday night.  Marshall ran five times for negative one yards. Blah! He couldn’t locate the running holes or lanes and just didn’t look good.  4.31 speed is good but a running back’s vision is essential.  Hopefully his vision improves.

Vernon Davis 

Last year for the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos tight end Vernon Davis had one of the worst seasons of his career totally 395 receiving yards.  Reports out of Redskins training camp were that Vernon Davis looks good and motivated.  Starting tight end Jordan Reed did not play Thursday night.  This meant that Davis would start and get the opportunity to showcase his talents.  So what did Davis do?  Well, Davis dropped a perfect 23 yard TD pass from Colt McCoy in the 1st quarter.   Again, I don’t believe that this one play will predict the season of Davis but it was disappointing.  Last year, Vernon Davis had some memorable drops.  Hopefully with Jordan Reed being the main guy it will take the pressure off of Vernon Davis.   The two TE offense with those tight ends has so much potential for greatness.

With all of this being said, it is only the first preseason game.   Fans and experts will get a better understand of this team after game three.  After that, game on!

Check out Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AM Hopewell, Virginia Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm ET (www.foxsports1340am.com).   Also check out the Urban Sports Scene podcast show every Tuesday at 8:00 pm ET here at www.waleo.podbean.com/live-stream

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Breeland is on the Rise















By Waleo

Coming into Washington Redskins’ training camp, all the talk was about newly signed cornerback Josh Norman.  Norman signed a 5 year $75 million deal making him the highest paid cornerback in the National Football League (NFL).  To some, Norman is the Redskins’ absolute number 1 cornerback, but to me Bashaud Breeland is right there with him. 

Breeland is a cornerback on the rise.  Last season, Breeland grew into a number 1 corner, battling with the likes of wide receivers Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant to name a few.    Two games last season come to mind and both were against the New York Giants.  September 24, 2015, the Redskins played Giants in New York on prime time television.  Odell Beckham had his way with Breeland.  Beckham finished with 12 catches for 143 yards—not all were on Breeland.   Many cornerbacks would shy away from the challenge of competing against Beckham but not Breeland.  In the rematch, November 29th 2015, Breeland played Beckham pretty well.  Odell Beckham finished with 9 catches for 142 yards.  Yes, another stellar game but only three catches came against Breeland .  “Beckham was targeted 17 times but averaged only 6.75 yards per target against Breeland,” according to NFL Spin Zone.   NFL Spin Zone added that Breeland “had more passes defended (four) than receptions allowed to OBJ (three);” the big plays were on cornerback Will Blackmon.  Breeland competed and showed up.  Throughout last season Breeland grew into the Redskins premiere cornerback.  Last year, Pro Football Focus named Breeland to their pro bowl among the cornerbacks.   Breeland has sent a good foundation for himself coming into the 2016 season.

Training camp has started and many observers and experts are saying that Breeland is looking like the best cornerback in camp so far.  According to Fox Sports Radio 1340 AM Hopewell, Virginia Redskins’ beat writer Anthony Raposa, Breeland is “playing with a chip on his shoulder, and he’s out to prove that he’s a top level talent in this league.”   He also added that Breeland on “multiple times was able to stay step for step with the Redskins’ wide receivers and had a nice diving break at one point” during day one of camp.  I’m not going to get into Josh Norman getting beat by Redskins’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson during camp but I will say that it’s the overall consensus that Breeland has been the star on defense in camp.   Breeland has had a couple of interceptions and a number of pass breakups.  Having Norman on the team has motivated Breeland play so far.   Hopefully this continues and the Redskins will have two shutdown corners this season. 
 
Check out Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AMHopewell, Virginia Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm ET.   Also check out the Urban Sports Scene podcast show every Tuesday at 8:00 pm ET.


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