Upon Further Review: Redskins 24 Steelers 13

Updated: August 21, 2013

Upon Further Review, NT Barry Cofield was a man possessed last Monday night, repeatedly embarrassing Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey with swim moves over his left shoulder to get into the backfield. He blew up rushing plays, got a sack and drew penalties before leaving the game with a broken finger. Cofield has been a solid, sometimes quite good, nose tackle for the Redskins since his signing in 2011, but against the Steelers he showed that maybe he can be the elite interior lineman the Redskins said he would be when they signed him. If offenses have to double team Cofield this year, look for a big campaign from other defenders.

Redskins rush Big BenUpon Further Review, Cofield wasn’t the only Redskins defensive lineman doing well. DL Kedric Golston contributed a sack, two tackles and was a force in the run game. The Steelers tried to block Golston with one man and it didn’t work out very well. Golston has had a very good training camp and it is carrying over to the preseason. Let’s hope it carries over to the regular season, as well, because Golston will probably have to start in place of Jarvis Jenkins for the first month of the season.

Upon Further Review, DL Chris Baker and DE Jarvis Jenkins both played well, with Baker backing up Cofield and picking up where the starter left off. Baker went after the right side of the Steelers line rather than the center, but he was almost as effective as Cofield.

Upon Further Review, the Redskins defensive line tallied four sacks and four hurries against the Steelers, a solid night’s work on its own. However, it also did a credible job in the run game and I liked the tackle Jarvis Jenkins made on Steelers wideout Marcus Wheaton. All in all, an excellent night for the guys up front.

Kerrigan dunkingUpon Further Review, the Redskins also got some strong play from the linebackers, despite the fact that OLB Brian Orakpo didn’t play a down. Ryan Kerrigan led the way, of course, with two turnovers — an interception he returned 21 yards for a touchdown to get the first score of the game, and a strip of the ball to force a fumble. Kerrigan played only 25 snaps, but he made most of them count. The interception was a great read by him [and perhaps London Fletcher]. Kerrigan saw the running back moving into the flat and ignored the attempt by the Steelers offensive line to draw him upfield, toward the QB. Instead, Kerrigan positioned himself perfectly between QB Ben Roethlisberger and his target and just made a nice play with his hands once Big Ben delivered the ball. Smart and athletic — that’s what Kerrigan is.

Upon Further Review, I also liked the performance of OLB Darryl Tapp, a former defensive end making a surprisingly smooth transition to outside linebacker. Tapp had two QB hurries and drew a holding penalty from Mike Adams with a sweet inside swim move. He also came up with four stops in the run game, including a tackle behind the line of scrimmage to force a fourth down. With Orakpo still recovering and Rob Jackson suspended for the first four games [and not really a good pass-rusher anyway], Tapp could prove quite valuable to the Skins.

Upon Further Review, I like the way Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett will be able to use his personnel this year. We saw some combinations with Ryan Kerrigan that were truly inspired. Kerrigan lined up at defensive tackle, end and outside linebacker. At defensive tackle, Kerrigan provides speed many guards will have trouble handling. It also allows the Redskins to put other pass-rushers, like Tapp and rookie Brandon Jenkins, to the outside and overload the offensive line with speed and power.

Upon Further Review, LB Bryan Kehl played 48 snaps, the most of any defensive player for the Redskins. Looks like the team wants a good, long look at Kehl.

Upon Further Review, FS Bacarri Rambo looks tentative on the field, as if he’s more worried about missing a tackle and getting embarrassed on national TV [think the Chris Johnson 58-yard TD run] than he is about actually getting the stop. This must get fixed and soon if the Skins are going into the regular season with Rambo at one starting safety position.

Upon Further Review, it was a tough night for the kids in the secondary. Apart from Rambo, I thought it was a mixed or poor night for CB Chase Minnifield and rookie CB David Amerson. I don’t like Minnifield as a man-off defender. He needs to play press coverage where his physical nature gets consistent results.

Upon Further Review, the Redskins are still committing far too many penalties. They have 18 in their first two preseason games, including three personal fouls against the Steelers in the first half alone! Safety DeJon Gomes accounted for two of those. The Redskins really need to clean this up and play a less sloppy game. It’ll cost them in the regular season. There is talent on this roster, but not enough to overcome stupid, easily-preventable mistakes.

Upon Further Review, the Redskins are lucky to have Rex Grossman. I know it isn’t popular, but Grossman knows this offense well and operates it pretty efficiently. No, he’s no RG3 or even Kirk Cousins, but he came in on Monday night and moved the offense, briskly at times. Grossman put points on the board when Cousins did not.

Upon Further Review, Pat White continues to demonstrate the athleticism that made him a superstar in college and keeps NFL teams intrigued. He still does not throw the way an NFL quarterback should throw, but he makes nice plays with his arm from time to time and he’s very dangerous in the read-option pistol offense. He savagely exploited the Steelers defense in the read option, putting the Redskins in position to seal the game away. Roy Helu‘s 30-yard TD run was largely the result of the defense over-committing to stopping the QB option run after White beat them for back-to-back 13 yard gains.

Hankerson TD catchUpon Further Review, can there be any doubt that Roy Helu is the backup running back to Alfred Morris? Helu isn’t a consistent runner, but he can break the big one because of his quickness and explosion and he’s a real threat out of the backfield. He should make a good contribution to the offense in 2013, provided he stays healthy.

Upon Further Review, I thought LT Tom Compton had a nice game. He went up against Steelers rookie Jarvis Jones, a very talented first round draft pick, and more than held his own. I thought Compton did pretty well against the Titans, but this was his better game. The Skins have a real find here if he continues to improve like this.

Upon Further Review, that interception Grossman threw was the fault of rookie TE Jordan Reed, who cut off his route. Reed also dropped a pass. I love this kid’s athleticism and think with work he’ll make an excellent move tight end soon, but he needs to play better than this.

Upon Further Review, I continue to be worried about RT Tyler Polumbus. It’s not that he had no good plays against the Steelers — he did — but he gave up a sack and earned a holding penalty on another play. And he wasn’t in the game all that long. Polumbus just doesn’t look like a starting-caliber NFL left tackle to me.

Upon Further Review, WR Leonard Hankerson made a very nice leaping, one-handed catch for a touchdown late in the first half, but he also let another ball get away earlier in the game. It wouldn’t have been an easy catch, but it’s the sort of catch you’d like to see Hankerson make. The sort of catch that might convince people he’s ready to be a consistent producer in this offense.