Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: RedskinsInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Larry Johnson struggles against the Ravens

Larry Johnson has been eager all offseason to show not just Redskins coaches, but the entire league, that he's capable of matching the production of his early career. He'll have to wait at least one more week.

Johnson's preseason debut was a disappointment. He managed only four yards on eight carries in the Redskins' ugly 23-3 loss Saturday night at FedEx Field.

Johnson had impressed coaches in the offseason workouts and performed well in training camp. He said his performance Saturday's negates a lot of the progress he has shown.

"I feel personally it set me back a lot," Johnson said. "I did go out there and practice hard every day and try to see if it could translate over to today. Obviously it didn't do that."

As tough as Johnson's night turned out, the rest of the Redskins' running game didn't fare much better. Facing a strong Baltimore front seven, Washington managed only 25 yards on 14 carries. Midway through the preseason schedule, no one has made a strong case to unseat Clinton Portis as the team's starting running back or even challenge him for carries.

Johnson said he's not sure how much action he'll see against the New York Jets Friday, but given his lackluster performance against the Ravens, he knows he doesn't have many more opportunities to make his case. He said he'll ask coaches for as much time as possible, even requesting fourth-quarter carries in the Redskins' final two preseason games.

For the most part, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has been tight-lipped about how he intended to juggle playing-time in the preseason, but he didn't mind sharing his strategy for the running backs. The Redskins added Johnson and Willie Parker as free agents in the offseason to challenge Portis, and while coaches have raved about all three in practices, they know that game situations provide the best measuring stick.

While Portis drew the start and had an impressive showing in the preseason opener against Buffalo, Friday was supposed to be Johnson's time to showcase what he hasn't been able to do consistently since 2006. That was his last 1,000-yard season, and after being waived mid-year last season by Kansas City, he's been eager to prove that even at 30 years old, he still has some good carries left in him.

But that wasn't the case against the Ravens. The most impressive running back was Portis, who was scheduled to see just enough action to keep him fresh. Portis had 14 yards on two carries and looked comfortable in Shanahan's offense for a second week in a row.

Johnson got off to a good start, rushing for four yards around the right end on the game's opening play. Four of his next seven runs were either for no gain or resulted in a loss of yardage, as the Redskins struggled to stay on the field after the offense's initial drive.

"It's tough to get in a rhythm coming in and out," Johnson said. "It's good that it's preseason."

Johnson showed little burst of speed, struggled picking up blitzes - he said the offense was surprised how much the Ravens blitzed -- and botched the only pass that was thrown his way.

Late in the first quarter, Washington was pinned near its own goal line. On 1st-and-10 from the three-yard line, McNabb threw a short pass to Johnson out of the backfield. Johnson had space around him and seemed to notice it. He took his eye off the ball and he bobbled the pass a couple of times before it bounced away.

"That Baltimore defense, I'm not facing that every day in practice," said Johnson. "You kind of just go back to the drawing board and keep moving."

Johnson did not return in the second half, and Parker, who's expected to get the bulk of the work Friday against the Jets, made his first appearance in the backfield since joining the team as a free agent in the offseason. But he had only one carry, which resulted in a one-yard loss.

By the end of the game, the stat sheet didn't look like anything the coaching staff would want to frame and remember. Portis and his two carries led all Washington rushers. Their 25 total yards on the ground was a fraction of Baltimore's 143 rushing yards on 29 carries.

"That's definitely not up to the standard that we want to play this year," said center Casey Rabach. "It doesn't matter the defense or who we're playing against. We want to be able to run the football and run it effectively."

In the first preseason game, the bulk of the carries were funneled deeper down the depth chart. But Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams were quiet on Saturday night, as the Redskins fell behind early and had only four carries in the second half. Williams had six yards on two carries and Torain had two yards on his sole run.

Portis now has 36 yards on eight carries and has a strong grip on the starting job heading into the regular season. Johnson did little to challenge him Friday night, and he and Parker know they must take advantage of the two remaining preseason games.

By Rick Maese  |  August 21, 2010; 11:59 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Final: Ravens 23, Redskins 3
Next: Redskins fear Moore could miss four to six weeks

Comments

My two cents:

Donovan's stats are misleading. I though he played pretty well tonight. He was mobile and able to make plays when protection broke down. The problem were the receiver drops. He was too late on the INT, but it is preseason, and all the top QBs have had some blemishes this week.

Santana showed us why he's been the top receiver the past five years. I loved the chemistry with him and Donovan. "Elusive" best describes his style of play. He manages to slip through tight coverage and make plays (e.g. the fantastic double coverage catch).

Anthony Armstrong is a pleasant surprise. He had a second straight solid performance. I expect him suiting up for Dallas.

Did Devin Thomas even suit up tonight?

LJ was not good carrying or blocking. He's washed up. ~Snip~.

I'm still worried about our run defense. Last week, the Bills ran well, and the Ravens had over 100 yards rushing. Isn't the whole point of the 3-4 to stop the run?

Lastly, our ground game needs to be better. We can't work the PA without the run.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | August 22, 2010 12:10 AM

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | August 22, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Good seeing you in a Redskins uni, homeboy L.J.

Don't let the door hit your rear-end. See ya!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | August 22, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Despite the fact that it might appear otherwise, not first.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | August 22, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"... For the most part, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has been tight-lipped ...."

Mike Shanahan doesn't have any lips. Fake punts are BS. That doesn't happen twice. Good thing to happen in the pre-season.

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

this is an odd and insulting quote:

"That Baltimore defense, I'm not facing that every day in practice," said Johnson. "You kind of just go back to the drawing board and keep moving."

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

... I'm still worried about our run defense. Last week, the Bills ran well, and the Ravens had over 100 yards rushing. Isn't the whole point of the 3-4 to stop the run?...

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | August 22, 2010 12:12 AM

Shanny needs to move on from the off-season. Everyone knows he's the boss. Let's get past the petty sjk and get AH in there with the starters. Kemo is terrible and the other DEs aren't good enough to take some of the heat off of him.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | August 22, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I always thought willie parker would be cut, but now there may be a chance that Johnson gets cut as well. I mean Williams has shown the ability to catch the ball out the backfield and score on goal line situations and shanny really likes ryan torain.

Posted by: nfcBEaST | August 22, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Big difference between Portis and Johnson running behind the same line. Johnson looked SLOW and is no where near the blocker Portis is. If Johnson looks like this again, I say he's gone.

Speaking of blocking, the interior of our line, especially on the right side, looked unimpressive. Rabach and Hicks need to step it up.

Loved the aggressive pass attack. Armstrong makes this team. DT watches as Armstrong plays in his spot.

K Williams looks too slow to run back kicks. NEXT!

Carter looks too slow and un-athletic to play LB. Why is he out there?

The Ravens where HOLDING like mad out there. Where the heck were the refs?

Over-all, I still think they looked pretty good out there. They are gonna be a lot of fun to watch this year. Got some more work to do.

I think there are going to be at least two names on our roster that are not in camp right now. Maybe 3. Watching the wires for RB, RT, OLB.

Posted by: edvar | August 22, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I think LJ's lack of blocking may be his biggest liability. With our O-line, being able to pick up blitzers as a RB is important. Especially if we have any O-line injuries this year. (Knock on all the wood you can find!) The roster battle between LJ and Parker may be decided by who is the better blocker.

Posted by: kaasmaster | August 22, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Portis will have a monster year -- does he look good or what? He's come fired up. He is going to make an awesome #2 RB in Fantasy and you can have him in 5/6 round in most drafts.

LJ has a slo-mo feel to him...reminds me of one Shaun Alexander as a Redskin. Its the "I am a 30 year old, washed up, has-been elite NFL running back" scent.

Wee Willie up against another brutal D next week. More of the same. Another washed up RB gets his shot.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | August 22, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else getting a Shaun Alexander as Skin vibe from Larry Johnson?

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else see Haynesworth blasting the coaching staff after the game?

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/08/21/haynesworth-unloads-on-shanahan/

Guess some things don't change.

Posted by: TDawg1 | August 22, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

... Kemo is terrible ...

Posted by: learnedhand1 | August 22, 2010 12:16 AM

The NT competition is wide open ... if only someone would compete for it.

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

"That Baltimore defense, I'm not facing that every day in practice," said Johnson. "You kind of just go back to the drawing board and keep moving."

So not only does he get his chance and does absolutely nothing, he throws a cheap shot at our D.

F him, Cut him. I said it earlier, 2nd string to bubble after a few carries. I'd cut him and Sellars and keep Portis, Torian, Williams, Young, and give Parker a chance to shine in the 3rd preseason game.

Posted by: Diesel44 | August 22, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

i guess you do pol strat...hahaha

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

... I think LJ's lack of blocking may be his biggest liability. ...

Posted by: kaasmaster | August 22, 2010 12:17 AM

Lack of blocking, lack of burst, lack of catching, lack of yards after contact. Lacking luster.

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | August 22, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else getting a Shaun Alexander as Skin vibe from Larry Johnson?

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:18 AM

Personally, I'm feeling the T.J. Duckett vibe.

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Not sure about the rest of you guys, but I'm staying medium

Posted by: zcezcest1 | August 22, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

K Williams looks too slow to run back kicks. NEXT!

Posted by: edvar | August 22, 2010 12:17 AM

------------------------

Oh man, I thought I was having Rock Cartwright flashbacks.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | August 22, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking that Dennis Morris will be back to practicing with the Fullbacks instead of the Tight Ends this week.

Posted by: kaasmaster | August 22, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

f medium, dumbest slogan ever.

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Extra, extra, read all about it ... Haynesworth's temper tantrum!

- Berlosconi Press

[it is much more complicated than it appears]

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked that J. Reid hasn't mentioned the Fat Albert interview, considering how much he loves writing about everything Albert.

Posted by: kaasmaster | August 22, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Shanny's head was about to *pop* in the postgame.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | August 22, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

g'night. remember to tip your waitress.

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

But for the fake punt momentum shift, the Skins would have had the first half. In an entire game, the end result would have been different.

Posted by: dcsween | August 22, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Look, for now, nobody should care too much about anything beyond the first team offense and defense. The first team offense and defense lost 6-3 (where the touchdown was a special teams play). Our first team offense isn't that good, but what can you expect at this point. Our first team defense is pretty good and looking better.
But now we have the re-emergence of the AH (aka 'ol stompy) problem...

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | August 22, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

the only 2 positive spins on tonight's game are 1) the injuries dont appear to be as bad as they looked (moore/williams/mcnabb/sellers) and 2) preseason.

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

K Moore looked like a guy who knew his season was over. This is bad. he was the only true FS we had. Now we need two.

Posted by: edvar | August 22, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

This was one of the best tackling performances I have seen by a Redskins D in a long time. They were swarming the ball and getting guys down at the first contact.

They looked very aggressive, yet under control at the same time. Bravo!

Posted by: edvar | August 22, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Edvar,

All the skins beat writers were tweeting (sue me I like twitter) that Moore's initial tests came up negative. MRI tomorrow...MIGHT not be as bad as it appeared. But I agree if that is season ending or he misses large chunk of time, thats a blow. I think he is/could be huge for us this year.

gawd i hate preseason.

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I just got back from the game after sitting in traffic for 2 hrs. Anyways, here's what I saw.

McNabb - Made some plays, missed some plays. The interception he threw was forced to Moss. Davis had cleared open early on an intermediate route but McNabb wanted the deeper route. Later in the 2nd quarter, on a third down play, McNabb threw the ball to Moss who was hit by two defenders and the dropped the pass. Armstrong had run a route about ten yards shorter that cleared. Armstrong would've had the first. However overall McNabb made some good reads.

Armstrong - Dude is a playmaker this year. He's getting clean releases off the line and he's making difficult catches. Armstrong deserves to be the second or third WR on the team.

Devin - Has value on special teams. He had some big hits there. As a WR he's too inconsistent to be a starter, but he's too talented not to be a part of the game plan at that position. If I'd had to put him my depth chart, he'd be the fourth WR.

LJ - Clearly showed he's the #2 back at this point. What little holes there were, LJ seemed a step slow to get to it. At this point CP is the best back.

1st team defense - The strength is the secondary. Carlos and Hall look to be playing at a high level. London and Rocky were studs as well. I think they will be good, but I also think they need a player on the dline that commands the opposition's oline attention..which leads me to

Haynesworth - WTF. Sounding off on Shanny will not get him off second team. Clearly, there's not a sliver of positivity in the Haynesworth/Shanny relationship. At the end of the day, when the Dallas games rolls around, I think AH is the #2 NT and will play up and down the line depending on the package called.

Posted by: TWISI | August 22, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

from twitter about moore:

PaulTenorio:

Moore said it is a minor knee sprain. Said x-rays and ACL/MCL stability tests were negative, but will have MRI tomorrow.

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

this makes me want to vomit (although add it to the "coach got done wrong and comes back to beat snyder" cannon)

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/08/jim_zorns_postgame_gatorade_sh.html

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Not concerned or surprised -- the offense is still a work in progress. There's still 3 weeks to go and we'll make strides along the way. No way Shanahan goes much beyond a vanilla approach.

Encouraged that the first team defense kept the Ravens down. The Ravens have a lot of talent.

Except for the fake punt -- something that won't happen in the regular season much -- if at all -- the defense held the Ravens to 2 FGs in the first half.

On Albert, he's a prima donna and I'd rather see him pi$$ed off than fat dumb and happy. Albert's got something to prove. At least something motivates him other than $$.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | August 22, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Larry Johnson: 8 carries, 4 yards
Rock Cartwright: 6 carries, 2 yards

On the other hand, Rock actually had a nice KR (past midfield with a penalty on the tackle) and 3 more yards on a pass reception.


Neither guy will have a job in a few weeks.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | August 22, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

monoblogging I know, reminds me of poster of old The Crickets, but here is Keim's take on the evening:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/sports/blogs/redskins-confidential/Instant-analysis-Five-quick-thoughts-101243164.html

Posted by: chrislarry | August 22, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

The Ravens:

The team that showed up a little over a decade ago and unless you're 50+ or under 15...you're a fraud of a fan.

Memo to McClain and the Raven fans: It was just a preseason game. We have tradition, 3 Lombardi's and own the beltway and you will have a preseason win (fake punt?), Jim Zorn, and be forever known as the STD capital of the world.

Posted by: Diesel44 | August 22, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

We played poorly, but the Ravens did prep for us while we didn't prep for them. I mean, did you see Zorn get a gatorade bath? This game meant something to them, and not to us. Our players even looked a little astonished to be facing non-vanilla offense and defense, which was all we brought with us.

So yes, we need to improve. But I saw a lot of good flashes, especially better quarterback play than we've seen in a long time. Against a team that came to win, not to conduct a preseason game.

Posted by: lordtwang | August 22, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Watched all of Donovan's snaps. Aside from the pressure he faced, which is unacceptable, he was not accurate at all. He underthrew the first big play which should have been 6 if thrown properly. But it is is accuracy which was bad. There were actually some spectacular catches made by our receivers of balls thrown behind them. McNabb's stats are actually better than they should have been based on the inacurrate throwing.

I am confident he will get more accurate as season starts.

Posted by: mannerofspeakin | August 22, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

it's hard to run when the o-line doesn't give you holes to run through.

Posted by: xpac69 | August 22, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

yo diesel you left out the 2 championships we got when Sammy Baugh was with us.

Posted by: xpac69 | August 22, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what game people in D.C. were watching last night but McNabb looked horrid.

Half his passes were behind receivers.

One writer referred to the first two third-down conversions as deep. 15 yards is deep? And the third one was so under thrown it was almost laughable.

The three deep passes I did see were an under-thrown completion made solely by the receiver; an under-thrown interception; and under-thrown dropped interception.

I guess that makes McNabb's true highlight the ball into the front row, over the head of a wide-open receiver.

Who go the best in the McNabb trade? The Eagles didn't care where he went and got better than market for him. The Raiders probably got the best in the deal, a bargain in a scrambling, starting quarterback in Jason Campbell who gets better every season with many years ahead of him.

In conclusion, the best quarterback on the Redskins team may be Rex Grossman. Cogitate on that for a little while.

Posted by: BigTrees | August 22, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that McNabb looked solid considering the issues with the line..but hey it's b more..


I'd hate to be sounding off again..but I'm still sorely dissappointed in the scouting dept of the team..again last night watching SF vs Minn and they're are two qbs that are third stringers that look better than our qbs and they were also in the late rounds....it baffles me as why we can't find same kind of guys..

Posted by: impervious99 | August 23, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company