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Shanahan stays focused on the big picture

Coach Mike Shanahan has experienced the NFL's ultimate success, so it wasn't surprising Washington's leader played down the 42-17 rout of the Buffalo Bills.

Preseason openers don't mean much in the big picture, and Shanahan definitely is a big-picture guy. So while many fans may be excited about the Redskins' first performance, Shanahan remains focused on the evolving process.

"I thought we had some good effort overall and we made some strides, and it's always nice to get into the end zone early," Shanahan said the other day. "We made a couple of big plays here and there. There's still a lot to work on, a lot to improve on. But I was pleased with the effort. Overall, I was pleased with the execution. But like I said, we've got a ways to go."

Not exactly effusive praise, huh? After what Redskins fans have experienced the past two seasons, however, it's not surprising that the rout of the Bills stirred optimism. And perhaps the Redskins will have a great season, but one preseason game is not enough of a sampling to reveal much.

Perhaps Saturday's game against the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field will show a little more about the team. The Ravens are expected to be among the AFC's elite clubs, and their starters should provide more of a challenge than the Bills, albeit only for a few series at most.

On offense, expect quarterback Donovan McNabb to continue to show his grasp of the scheme while playing steadily. McNabb, beginning his 12th season, simply wants to get through the preseason physically sound, and there's no need for heroics in games that don't count in the important standings.

New right tackle Jammal Brown, who sat out the 2009 season because of a hip injury, returned to practice Sunday after sitting out 12 days during training camp because of hip soreness. If Brown's hip cooperates, the first-team offensive line will start Saturday, and the unit should benefit from as much time together as possible before the season begins Sept. 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Rookie left tackle Trent Williams is off to a strong start and the versatile Artis Hicks should be fine at right guard, but Brown appears to be the key. In Williams and Brown, Washington potentially has a pair of athletic, physical tackles that could enable offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to open up things.

Pass-catching tight ends Chris Cooley and Fred Davis appear on track for big roles. Cooley worked the middle of the field well against Buffalo while providing a big target for McNabb. Although wide receiver Devin Thomas opened the preseason low on the depth chart, he made plays on offense after muffing the game's opening kickoff. Other teams inquired about trading for Thomas in the offseason, and it's not as if the Redskins are unaware of his potential.

Wideout Malcolm Kelly (hamstring) sat out practice again Sunday, though Shanahan said he was improving. With his position on the team apparently in jeopardy, Kelly needs to make plays in the remaining preseason games. Rookie wideouts Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks have impressed daily and could figure prominently in the return game (the speedy Banks scored on a 77-yard punt return).

Defensively, Albert Haynesworth played well and the Redskins were strong in the new 3-4. The first- and second-team defense shined and the Bills only had 121 yards through three quarters. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also has things to tweak, but it wasn't a bad start.

The Redskins envision Haynesworth spending a lot of time at right defensive end, so he'll probably start to play that spot more in the next three games. Top corner DeAngelo Hall could have a huge season in the new system, and the outside linebacker competition between Andre Carter and Lorenzo Alexander still is the most intriguing position battle.

Redskins fans probably shouldn't book Super Bowl reservations just yet, but it appears the product will be much better than it has been in some time.

By Jason Reid  |  August 16, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Albert Haynesworth , Malcolm Kelly , Mike Shanahan , Offensive line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Johnson excited to start on Saturday against Ravens
Next: Devin Thomas is staying optimistic

Comments

Stirred optimism? Why? We haven't looked this good since the game in Osaka. It's the preseason...

Posted by: Gweez | August 16, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reminder to not book Super Bowl tickets. If they beat the Ravens though....

Posted by: last1 | August 16, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, whoa, whoa...who exactly was looking to take Devin Thomas off our hands? If dude can't play his way out of the 3rd string here, I don't get why we don't deal him...provided the offer was north of a bottle of Snapple and an open bag of Skittles...

Seriously though...the offer must not have been much if he's still here. You gotta think if anyone was ready to give up at least a 3rd or 4th round pick Shanahan would have been all over that...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reminder to not book Super Bowl tickets. If they beat the Ravens though....

Posted by: last1 | August 16, 2010 7:05 AM


Hope you're kidding...right now the Ravens are pushing the Chargers for the title of the AFC's most overrated team in 2010. I just love how the media is so smitten with Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin that they COMPLETELY forget that they barely have enough healthy bodies in their secondary to field 11 players on defense, let alone compete against the likes of the Bengals, Colts, and Patriots. If the Bengals don't win that division, Marvin Lewis should be fired immediately.

As fun as it was to watch the Skins lay the smackdown to the Bills, preseason really doesn't mean jack sh*t. The only thing that matters is staying healthy and seeing starters make the most of the few snaps they get. Anything else is gravy.

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, preseason is nuthin'. Look at the Colts. They were up 10-0 when Peyton and the starters handed the keys over to Curtis Painter.

I'm glad we have a chance to play a legit team like the Ravens. The coaches will garner better evaluation film. Also look forward to playing the Jets' defense.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | August 16, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

FREE MARKO

Posted by: glawrence007 | August 16, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Coaches will never say a team did fantastic, awesome, or great. There's always a higher mark to strive for; however, Shanahan has to be happy that the offense showed up and the defense created turnovers. Things to work on this week:

-I think Heyer did well at right tackle and the starting o-line had a solid performance, but that second string offensive line looked shakey at times. Will Robinson, in particular, was beaten like a drum. There was one play where I saw Rinehart getting run over by a nose tackle. Maybe it is just the talent level they have there, but something needs to get better there.

-I saw a few guys bobble balls: Armstrong, Wade and Keiland Williams. That stuff will need to change. The Redskins very easily could have had a few turnovers in the game.

-I am sure it was primarily a lack of familiarity with the offense, but Beck looked terrible. The balls batted down at the line are a problem he has had in the past. He has a three quarter throwing motion that brings the ball lower than most quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see Beck progress, and hopefully, Bartel is back on the field this week.

-Still have to work on that deep coverage. Carlos Rogers got beat on one play and he was lucky the ball was off target from the quarterback. When a corner gives up distance with a receiver it usually means he thought he was supposed to get help deep, so that one might have been on the safety...

-Haslett was crowding the line of scrimmage - which might have been only the part of the defensive package he wanted to show - but running backs were breaking through and running seven yards or more before the safeties were coming up to put a hit on them. Linebackers need to play off so they can read and react. The two humongous fat guys they have backing up at nose tackle are fat, and that is about it. I don't think either one is very good.

-Special teams coverage units were a little spotty. Gano made the tackle on the returner on one play and when you have the kicker making the tackle, you know the returner almost broke it.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | August 16, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

FREE MARKO

Posted by: glawrence007 | August 16, 2010 7:45 AM


Don't worry...after this preseason he'll be TOTALLY free...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Main thing is we looked composed and Shanahan had everything under control. It never was disorganized and filled with confusion - which was definitely the case last year... no timeout issues, or players not knowing when they are on the field or off the field.. everything just looked under control.

Buffalo had some issues of their own. Lots of Chan Gailey yelling at his players as they went back to the sideline... even a player came on late on Brandon Banks' punt return.

I'm just happy we didn't look all over the place and confused.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Let's not break out the anointing oils just yet, but it was fun to watch. I taped it and plan on watching the first half again tonight.

Posted by: seanmichaeltaylor | August 16, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

"Yeah, preseason is nuthin'."


The 1st quarter is okay, but after that, it's painful to watch.

Two games is all these teams need to prepare for the regular season.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 16, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Two games is all these teams need to prepare for the regular season.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 16, 2010 8:01 AM


All the coaches I've heard don't want it to change. A lot goes into preparing for football games, and keeping the schedule as is give coaches two more chances to evaluate "on the bubble" players and two less games to gameplan for. I like the schedule the way it is and I hope the NFL doesn't change it (unless the change is that they no longer charge full price for preseason games---but I doubt that happens).

sean, who's breaking out anointing oils? I'd rather see us on the winning end of that beatdown than sitting where the Bills are today, whether the game counts or not. After the Osaka game a few years ago, how can a Skins fan let a preseason game let expectations go out of control?

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

redskinhead

"... but running backs were breaking through and running seven yards or more before the safeties were coming up to put a hit on them..."

It looks like misdirection based running plays and counters will be the bane of this defense.

You're right to say the 'backers should commit too soon to a blitz look--that's what caused them to be out of place on a couple of the nice running plays the bills pulled off.

Posted by: MistaMoe | August 16, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

from the game, I thought that Tryon looked good, he had a couple of pass breakups, Torian looked good, Thomas looked good......a good start for the pre-season...Grossman absolutely STARES down the receiver he's throwning to....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | August 16, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

So, if we win the pre-season championship, we can add the trophy to all of the off-season championship trophies we own. Aint life grand!!!

Posted by: RealConservative | August 16, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Greg, from what I heard the reviews were mixed on Devin Thomas...had the big TD catch but wasn't running good routes on a consistent enough basis. Sounds like he's not any better off than he was last week...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I like to give credit where credit is due.

Unfortunately, Buffalo is such a bad team, it's hard to figure out what the Deadskins/Cadavers did right and what the Bills did wrong. Therefore, NO credit can be given for beating up a bad team's 3rd-string players. It also seems appropriate to note that Buffalo moved the ball against your first team defense (can Hall tackle anybody?) and stymied your starting offense (McNabb needs to have his arm/eyes checked to get them in sync). And whose idea was it to change Carter from DE to LB? Dude looked awful! Doesn't bode well for the regular season, does it? I mean, we're talking about Buffalo!

Buck up, Deadskins fans. Y'all play a real team this week and should get a better sense of what I've been telling y'all with regard to your Cadavers: What 'til next year. Or the year after. Or maybe the one after that. Hell, wait 'til 2025!

Winning that game against Buffalo is akin spraying cheap perfume in the air to clear up a bad odor. It doesn't fool anybody.

Deadskins STILL stink out loud.

Peace.

Posted by: MrIrvin88 | August 16, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

brown, who did you hear that from? I mean, he had what 3 catch's, they throw to him 4 times....sometimes we over-think these things....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | August 16, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

guys, seriously ITA....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | August 16, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg I don't remember where I heard it...I read so much Skins stuff over the weekend it all bleeds together after a while. It's hard to discern what's really cause for concern and what's Shanahan trying to get a player's mind right, but I guess we're a couple weeks away from getting a grasp on what kind of player DT is gonna be.

And let me go ahead and try to get out in front of this Irvin d-bag...ITA people. Dude is embarrassed and trying to save face. Nothing to see here...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

MrIrvin88: Worried about us a lil bit? If you don't care about how we performed then why are you even on here? Only if you're worried would you come on here.

You just contradicted yourself. So preseason doesn't matter... Cowboys fans saying "don't put any stock into it, it's just preseason" would be the same fans saying we're going to suck this year had we looked awful. If preseason doesn't matter then why are you concerned about our defense... seriously, you have your own problems to sort out before you start picking ours.. at least our starters have scored a TD. You've had two games to do so and couldn't even score one... and against the Raiders too!!! HAHAHHAHAHAH. I mean, what does that say about your team? Can't even beat the Oakland Raiders. Seriously, Cowboys are always the most hyped team in the league every year... and what do they do? Fall on their faces in the biggest moments. It's hilarious!!

You only came on here to post because YOU'RE SCARED.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

rachel, seriously...ignore the guy and eventually he'll figure out that he's irrelevant and hopefully hang himself. Just let it die...literally...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I honestly don't understand Cowboys fans... they're so pointless/dumb.

I mean, do ALL Cowboys fans go on Redskins blogs and post sh**?

...B/c I don't go on Cowboys blogs and post stuff about the Redskins. SO LAME. Please get a life you morons. Find something productive to do.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I honestly don't understand Cowboys fans...

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 8:47 AM


And the minute you do is the minute you become as crazy as they are.

Best to just pay attention to our own affairs...you know, what civil and informed fans do.

I'm hoping for a concerted effort by the blog to ignore these guys so they scatter like the cockroaches they are. A Redskin win Sept. 12 wouldn't hurt either...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

brownwood26, BeantownGreg1 to be fair IMO think the inconsistency brownwood26 was referring regarding Devin was more his hands than his routes. Devin muffed the opening KO and dropped a pass in the red zone. Devin was getting good separation in his routes, albeit against the Bill's second team. His TD route was a great route versus experienced secondary players, so that was a positive sign. Devin is still a work in progress but he is getting there.

Posted by: TWISI | August 16, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

How many times have we skins fans seen this printed "Redskins starting offense fails to score a touchdown in preseason game". I really feel we are headed in the right direction. This team will be incredibly disciplined and smart. We won't be beating ourselves this year.

Posted by: RedskinJim1 | August 16, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"Redskins fans probably shouldn't book Super Bowl reservations just yet,"

Hater.

Posted by: p1funk | August 16, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"I think Heyer did well at right tackle and the starting o-line had a solid performance, but that second string offensive line looked shakey at times."

Other than Heyer and Williams, we have no O-line depth. I've got to think they'll be scanning the waiver wire and bringing guys in after the first round of cuts. Oh, and folks, don't feed the trolls.

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | August 16, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks TWISI...I'm still trying to figure out what the hell he was doing on that opening kick return, but he acquitted himself well with the TD.

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 16, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I will be honest. From time to time, I have done a hit and run on cowboys blog, however you don't sit on a blog and troll. You got to quick jab. Also, its only classy in the week before and (if your team wins) the week after the Skins v Girls game.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 16, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

i'm unaware of the potential of devon thomas and malcolm kelly

Posted by: BMACattack | August 16, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts from the game:

1. Trent Williams looked really good.
2. McNabb looked very sharp.
3. We converted 3rd downs...that's a plus, McNabb can do this.
4. Cooley is in probowl form.
5. Defense will be very good.
6. We have a new PR guy.

Posted by: iH8dallas | August 16, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

It's only preaseason, but it's nice to finally be the team where you have to temper expectations, as opposed to shrug off the fact that you looked like crap b/c it's only preseason.

Say what you want about the Bills, but I don't think a Zorn-coached team could put up 42 points in a preseason game if they were playing against holograms.

Anywho...

*Devin Thomas - Definitely needs to step it up. The stats are deceiving. He muffed a kickoff and dropped a pass in the redzone the play before Davis caught TD. He didn;t do anything on the long TD except run free through some busted coverage. He did nothing to change the opinion of him going into this game - athletic, lots of potential, inconsistent. Shanny is the kind of coach - I think - that would prefer to go with a less talented/more consistent guy.

*Brandon Banks - Dude is just fast. I hope we find a spot for him. He just hit the corner and outran everyone on the sideline. The punt coverage on his return didn;t look too solid, but the if you have a guy like Banks, then you can punish the other team when they give you an opening like that. Randle El would have looked at the same punt, run sideways for 10 yards and gone out of bounds.

DeAngelo Hall - I'm looking forward to seeing ALOT more of that this season. That's what an attacking-blitz-oriented scheme will do, and it was Carriker that got in Edwards' face.

Posted by: p1funk | August 16, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

"I think Heyer did well at right tackle and the starting o-line had a solid performance, but that second string offensive line looked shakey at times."

Other than Heyer and Williams, we have no O-line depth. I've got to think they'll be scanning the waiver wire and bringing guys in after the first round of cuts. Oh, and folks, don't feed the trolls.

Posted by: rufus_t_firefly | August 16, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse


In all fairness to our Oline scrubs, every second-string Oline looks shaky. If those guys were anything more than "OK-to-mediocre", then they wouldn't be backups.

I think the health of Jamaal Brown is key. Not only is he the starting RT, but he's also our backup LT.

Posted by: p1funk | August 16, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I know it's just preseason, but could the Cowboys be in trouble?

Romo sacked 4 times, can't get in the endzone.

Plus they have to play that extra preseason game.

Less than a month to go!

Posted by: iH8dallas | August 16, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

-- 9:05 a.m. ET

Sellers’ Versatility

During Sunday’s practice, Mike Sellers saw some action lining up as a tight end in 11-on-11 work.

On Monday, Sellers was working with the tight ends in blocking drills, as tweeted by Redskins.com’s Larry Weisman.

Back in 2004, Sellers played an H-back role – a hybrid tight end and fullback – in Joe Gibbs’ offense. He moved to more of a traditional fullback role in 2006 and has stayed there ever since.

With Sellers getting some reps with the tight ends, it’s another example of his remarkable versatility. He is listed at 6-3 and 272 pounds.

___________________________________________

This is interesting in that this was the role most thought Dennis Morris may have filled. Darrel Young had a good game at FB on Friday, maybe they give him some time with the first team on Saturday.

Posted by: TWISI | August 16, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216 (and all other haters)

Scared isn't the right emotion. PITY is what I feel for y'all. You buggers are downright blind fools, wholly incapable of seeing what's right in front of you.

As far as the Cowboys offense, we're a known quantity. We know we can win at least 11 games because we did it last year and our personnel is actually better this year. Can Deadskins fans say the same? NO!! We are Super Bowl favorites for a reason - we EARNED it.

Like I said, your starters were outplayed by Buffalo. Long on spunk and short on facts. Typical Cadaver fan.

Anyhoo, this DI board should come with windows so y'all can air this thing out. P.U.!

Hell To The Deadskins!

Posted by: MrIrvin88 | August 16, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Beeps

Posted by: TWISI | August 16, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Good start! Positive direction!
I'm not popping any champagne bottles yet but I will be adding them to the grocery list. It feels good to move the pigskin into the end zone. GO SKINS!

Posted by: blackbear3 | August 16, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

You are just a moron. I still think you're scared and you're trying to make yourself feel better by telling us what went wrong against Buffalo.

"We are Super Bowl favorites for a reason - we EARNED it."

-mrirvin

That's why it's all the better when you guys fail to live up to it every year. :) Can't wait to see how you all fail this year! It's gonna be so funny!!!!!!!!!

and "y'all?"

Jesus Christ.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Graham Gano has yet to prove anything, the snapper position is up for grabs...in a league with more close games than blow-outs, this area of special teams is concerning.

Posted by: MajorFacemask | August 16, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"Like I said, your starters were outplayed by Buffalo. Long on spunk and short on facts. Typical Cadaver fan."

So preseason means everything in the world then, right? If you're putting this much stock into the season, then you gotta evaluate YOUR team based on the preseason as well... that means you guys are really going to suck since your first team can't even get the ball into the endzone!!

And... I'm done with you. Why am I wasting my time on a moron cowboys fan?

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Fans of the burgundy and gold were indeed encouraged, but we will always remember Osaka.

No cart putting before the horse and things.

Posted by: walkdwalk | August 16, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If you're putting this much stock into the PREseason

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216 (and all other haters)

---------
what the hell do you expect? This is a REDSKINS blog. And you are the one starting all this dumbsh**. Yes, I'm a hater, because I'm a Redskins fan and I hate the Dallas Cowgirls.

You know I was going to lay off the Cowgirls and call you guys the cowboys but since you have to go with "deadskins" i have to call you cowgirls.

ok done. for real.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 16, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm encouraged to hear Rabach say this was the most "vanilla" offense that we were showing. The next two games will really answer the questions about this offense. I am in NC and have to listen to 980 radio to hear the games. Can anyone direct me to a better site? It has become painful to listen to grandpa Sonny and Larry explaining to crazy uncle Sam what is going on. It is really distracting and I would like to hear who is on the field and actually playing! Any suggestions? thank you. HTTR...Dallas sucks.

Posted by: grumpybaz | August 16, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Trent is a Grizzly Bear, pawing and clawing and smacking dudes around. That #58 dude, I felt a lil sorry for him when 'Silverback' smacked him 6 yards behind DMac and dared him to try to rush again...LOL

Posted by: kahlua87 | August 16, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Stirred optimism? Why? We haven't looked this good since the game in Osaka. It's the preseason...

Posted by: Gweez | August 16, 2010 6:51 AM"

That's funny...I seem to remember kicking the crap out of the Cowboys when it counted during a playoff hunt, which occured AFTER Osaka, but that's just me...I do have a history of head injuries.

and besides, I prefer my optimism stirred and NOT shaken...so yes, this is a good thing

Posted by: ThinkingMan | August 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Utter insanity. The score in a preseason game is not meaningful. The starters play a bit, second team plays a bit more, and the Redskins then proved that the players they will cut are possibly a bit better than the players the Bills will cut.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | August 16, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Shanahan said that Thomas is working hard, and has the right attitude..BUT..he didn`t say he was showing improvement.
Also..today`s articles referred to Thomas muffing a kick return...but forgot to mention that he dropped his first pass that was in his hands! POTENTIAL IS GREAT..BUT WHEN DOES IT TURN INTO REALITY?
SIZE PLUS SPEED ARE OVERRATED IF YOU CAN`T
GET SEPARATION FROM THE DEFENDER. LOOK AT A RECEIVER SUCH AS DESHAWN JACKSON, OR SANTANA...NEITHER HAS SIZE....BUT THEY HAVE SPEED AND SEPARATION.

Posted by: blazerguy234 | August 17, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

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