LANDOVER – Although newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith did not light it up during his first and only series of work during the preseason home opener against the New York Jets on Aug. 16 at FedExField, he was efficient. Smith orchestrated an 11-play, 71-yard drive where he connected with four receivers for 49 yards before […]
LANDOVER – Although newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith did not light it up during his first and only series of work during the preseason home opener against the New York Jets on Aug. 16 at FedExField, he was efficient.
Smith orchestrated an 11-play, 71-yard drive where he connected with four receivers for 49 yards before rookie wide receiver Trey Quinn could not haul in a catch for a potential touchdown on third down.
“It was a nice way to start it off, kind of get the cobwebs out, to get you back into football mode right away,” Smith said of the opening drive.
“You know, I thought we did a nice job, got into some rhythm, which was nice, moved the chains. Of course, they couldn’t finish it off on third-and-nine. But yeah, it was good to get a little rhythm going, good to get into the huddle with the guys and get out of the field again.”
Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins completed the scoring drive after he knocked down a 22-yard field goal to open up the scoring for Washington.
Washington’s rushing attack still floundered after Rob Kelley could only muster 17 yards on seven carries, but second year running back Samaje Perine showed some burst and elusiveness after he busted off a 30-yard carry before limping toward the sideline in the first half.
However, undrafted rookie running back Martez Carter led the team in rushing with 45 yards but he was later waived from the team after suffering a leg injury.
Unfortunately for Washington, the offense was stagnant and unable to put the ball in the endzone even after pilling up 342 yards while converting 12 first downs by games end.
Nevertheless, rookie wide receiver Cam Sims showed why he should remain on the roster after putting on a show against the Jets. The former University of Alabama standout attacked the ball and made highlight-reel catches with ease including a 27-yard catch between two defenders and an eight-yard touchdown grab that was later nullified after a penalty.
He finished the night as the team’s leading receiver with three receptions for 57 yards on six targets. Sims’ efforts did not go unnoticed.
“He’s a big, talented guy,” Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said of Sims. “He’s got big strong hands, he’s a size mismatch for some of these corners. He can high-point and jump. That’s good.
“We still got to clean up some of his routes, some of those stems, some of his alignments. But overall, you just look for a young guy like that to make steady progress and he’s done that. And when the ball’s in the air, he’s made more plays than he hasn’t. We’ll keep looking at him. We still have a lot of guys in that receiver room that are impressive to me. He’s one of them.”
Washington kept rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in check and held New York to two field goals by Taylor Bertolet and a second-half Teddy Bridgewater touchdown throw to Charone Peake.
Rookie defensive tackle Daron Payne showed his power and skill by taking down Darnold for a sack and former Penn State rookie safety Troy Apke made an impressive diving interception on a tipped ball that was floating to the ground in the second quarter halting a promising Jets drive. Darnold showed some kinks in his armor after a strong first preseason game, but Washington held him in check as he only accounted for 62 yards and had a quarterback rating of 48.3.
“It was a great feeling. I didn’t know what to expect. I ended up dropping the ball but someone picked it up for me and brought it to the sideline and gave it to me,” Apke said after snarring Danrold’s first NFL interception.
“I don’t know who that was but I am happy they brought it. Definitely – a great feeling to get my first one. Hopefully, there are many more to come but I think Deshazor (Everett) had a great play on the ball and he tipped it up, I was just there.”
Hopkins nailed five field goals including a 40-yard game-winning kick with just four seconds remaining in the contest. Even though it was not a high scoring effort for the Burgundy and Gold, Gruden was satisfied with what he saw in key areas.
“We evaluate all the situations, so it’s important,” Gruden said of the game-winning field goal. “It’s a big kick for (Dustin Hopkins), a big snap for (Nick) Sundberg, and a big hold for Tress Way.
“I don’t care, its still good work for them. There’s big-time protection on that play. And great situational work for the offensive line, two-minute, handling all the stunts and the new guys are picking those up.”
Washington will have an opportunity to improve on its lackluster struggles offensively against the Jets and will hopefully punch it into the endzone on Aug. 24 against the Denver Broncos at home.