Redskins-Steelers Winners & Losers

Here to hand out labels is special guest star Matt Terl, who has some experience blogging about the Redskins. Tonight, a 16-7 preseason win over Pittsburgh.

WINNERS

Rex Grossman — After a week of being mocked for his bold predictions of success and glory, Grossman backed up his words by going 19-of-26 for 207 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. Yes, it’s preseason. Yes, a bunch of those yards came against the Steelers’ second-team defense. But a bad performance here would’ve justified the abuse Grossman took. This buys him some credibility.

Tim Hightower — Ten carries for 44 yards and 7,340 adoring tweets. Hightower certainly seems to be the early leader for the coveted “starting Shanahan RB” position.

Stephen Bowen — Got an impressive sack on Byron Leftwich while wearing number 72; was promptly compared to Dexter Manley by Doc Walker.

London Fletcher — Thanks to the presence of Bowen and Barry Cofield, Fletcher was able to rack up his usual assortment of tackles and stops (two according to NFL.com, although the coaches’ numbers will probably be higher) while exerting much less effort.

Graham Gano — Gano helped himself by booting the opening kickoff through the end zone and going 3-3 on field goals. He also helped himself by not being Shayne Graham (See also: the LOSERS section below.)

Darrel Young — Acquitted himself well as the starting fullback, also had one reception for 16 yards and zero irrational leaps during the run after catch. (Ed. note: Nice Sellers reference, Terl!)

Evan Royster – 15 carries for 66 yards and the vast majority of the snaps as second-team running back. With Hightower and Royster running well, and Ryan Torain injured but coming off something of a breakout season, this is suddenly a very crowded position.

The revamped Redskins defense — Via WaPo’s Rick Maese, immediately postgame: “In 16 regular-season games last season, the fewest yards the Redskins allowed to any team was 309. Tonight they allowed only 186.”

The revamped Redskins offense — Via salary cap guru J.I. Halsell, immediately postgame: “Redskins w 451 yrd of total offense – understanding this was just a preseason game – Skins surpassed 400 yrds only twice last reg season.”

Dan Steinberg — Was able to quickly fill his preseason quota of misspelled jerseys when two Bog readers spotted fourth-string Redskins quarterback Guitierriz in a sideline position meeting.

Chris Russell — ESPN980′s Redskins beat reporter has cultivated a powerful mancrush on rookie defensive back DJ Gomes, and was thus able to bask in the reflected glow of Gomes’ two solid plays late in the game.

Me — For the first time in three years, I was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy a Redskins game with a couple of beers. Also, I don’t have to drive from FedExField to Ashburn, Virginia, at 3:30 in the morning.

LOSERS

John Beck – Beck was supposed to be Kurt Warner, rising from obscurity and/or the grocery store to shock the world and throw a whole mess of touchdowns. Instead, Beck is shaping up to be Trent Green, (perhaps) losing his big opportunity to a preseason injury and an unexpected performance from his backup. Which would mean that Rex Grossman Wally Pipp’d the Kurt Warner role from John Beck, which is the single stupidest sentence ever written in the history of writing about football.

Shayne Graham — Amidst reports that he had been shanking kicks in practice, Graham badly shanked two kicks in the game, thus restoring humanity’s faith in the reports coming out of Redskins training camp.

Brandon Banks — Banks actually did remarkably well, taking a kickoff return 58 yards and a punt return 19 yards. But the (awful) modified kickoff rules slash Banks’ value badly enough that I’m putting him here anyhow.

Offseason rookie favorites — WR Leonard Hankerson had just one catch for eight yards, along with at least two drops. NT Chris Neild either didn’t play, or I missed it thanks to finally being able to drink beer while watching. (See also: the WINNERS section above.) And Roy Helu, Jr., the early favorite for Redskins fantasy sleeper, didn’t make it into the game until 6:02 left in the fourth quarter. Helu showed some flashes in his limited action, but it seems pretty clear that he’s no higher than fourth on the RB depth chart at the moment.

Number 5 Redskins Jerseys – 2011: Shayne Graham. 2010: Donovan McNabb. 2008-2009: Colt Brennan. 2004: Jeff Chandler. 1998-2002: Brett Conway. 1994-1996: Heath Shuler. 1987: someone named Obed Ariri, apparently. 1982-1985: Jeff Hayes, whom I liked. 1969-1973: Curt Knight.

Number 11 Redskins jerseys — Not nearly as grim as the number 5, but Aldrick Robinson recorded two fumbles and didn’t even manage the simple task of making people forget Devin Thomas. Clearly the loser of the young receivers for the night.

Mike Sellers — Via SB Nation DC’s Daniel Shiferaw: “Mike Sellers is the second tight end of a two tight end set in the 4th quarter of a preseason game. He is indeed 4th on the depth chart.”

Matt Gutierrez — When Dan Steinberg wins, Matt Gutierrez loses. It’s axiomatic.

Kenny Albert — Orakpo is pronounced just like it’s spelled: OH-RAK-PO. Albert inexplicably pronounced it Orap-ko, which wouldn’t be so bad except that he’s, you know, a big-time TV play-by-play guy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers — Going by the scoreboard, the only actual losers of the game.

21 thoughts on “Redskins-Steelers Winners & Losers”

  1. Yeah, that happens a lot. That’s why I use a serif font at the top of my resume and sometimes use terL as an online name.

    Anyhow, thanks for the kind words, folks.

  2. Neild definitely got in on a few plays but didn’t really do anything special. I was at the game and saw him run on/off

  3. This should be a regular thing, terl doing winners and losers. I haven’t been to the redskins blog since you left. Glad you got to drink during the game, as a redskin fan it is pretty much a necessity, can’t believe you spent three years watching those games sober.

  4. Kenny Albert has been talking to Vinny Cerrato. Only the Redskins former GM/Puppet/overall tool calls Orakpo O-ROP-KO. Even now, the stain of that era still remains (and won’t go away until the Skins can win again). Good to see you back in the blogosphere MT.

  5. @DocJ: – Not drinking during the games might’ve literally been the hardest part of the job.

    @Joel: Now that I don’t have to write the Q-by-Qs, I’m not going to. I never felt like I quite made those things into what I wanted them to be (Jamie’s had to listen to me whine about this via email for years). Also, writing them inevitably ate into my ability to properly attend to the following quarter, which hurt my ability to write that quarter’s analysis, and that’d spiral down until the fourth quarter when I’d suffer a complete mental breakdown and sob in the press box.

    @FedEx Al & Mason & Liz: thanks, folks.

  6. hopefully people realise the defensive backs are 2 over-thrown passes in the first half from being burned badly and thus not down 14-0 early… oh and before annointing sexy rexy, he was nearly intercepted down near the goalline too… so temper the enthusiasm… HTTR

  7. Yeah Bill, but maybe this year we will catch breaks like that, also can’t worry about the “almosts”. Enjoy the fact that this team looked a lot better and looked like a competent football team. We missed out on a couple td’s also. And at the end of the night, they missed out on more points than we did. And that sir is how you win.

  8. Good to see you back Ser Terl, it could not have been an easy thing to make a Redskins owned blog as interesting as you did.

  9. Kenny also pronounced it “Oropko” multiple times during games last year. I’m surprised nobody mentioned it to him but when you’re working next to Theismann you shouldn’t expect too much help.

  10. Teams generally have a PR staffer (or someone) in the pressbox monitoring the TV feed — not to mention everyone’s Twitter commentary about the broadcast — with a direct line to the production truck. Usually gets things squared away away pretty efficiently.

    To be fair to the on-air guys, they’re trying to keep track of a whole lot more stuff than you might think, and I totally appreciate that. Still, this was a big-time PBP guy, not some local schmo, and the player is a two-time Pro Bowler, not the 87th guy on the training camp roster.

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