So rather than go all serious on you, here's something a little different. An experiment. What follow are raw real-time notes jotted down during the game. They weren't intended for publishing, just as reminders of what I wanted to comment on and hopefully capture the vibe to flesh out later.
I have only polished it up for some grammar, punctuation and spelling. The content was written "hot" while also juggling a cold beverage (or two) and simultaneously working on a "formal" article I believe you will be seeing ... well, soon. I'd tell you more but then I'd have to kill you. And who wants that? Especially while we're basking in the afterglow of a burgundy and gold woodshed job?
Not sure if we'll reprise the post format or not, but what the heck.
8/13/10, 7:20 pm
- Almost gametime. So, is it normal to have butterflies before the first preseason game? Weird.
- Never have quite understood why offensive players are allowed to facemask and defensive players are not. See it every week. Weirder.
- Haslett's new defense isn't exactly starting well. Definitely isn't aggressive like we saw in camp last week. Not a lot of presnap movement, hardly any blitzing. It will look different in September. Hopefully.
- No disrespect, but NBC's coverage sucks. No down and distance half the time, silly commentary by Joe Theismann; Donovan fooling camera man so bad on a simple playfake he's STILL trying to figure out how the hell the ball ended up 40 yards downfield on the other side of the field.
- Torain looked like Ladell Betts reincarnated there. Good strong tackle break on first carry turns 3 yard loss into 5 yard gain. Good first impression.
- Starting to get offensive rhythm on 2nd drive. Did you notice? In and out of huddle quickly, snapping ball on quick count ... love it. Campbell's offenses always seemed to operate methodically ... lingering mental image is JC standing over center, scanning field, standing over center, scanning field, standing over center scanning ... JASON CALL HUT ALREADY. I wrote earlier this offseason that younger Redskins fans were going to know "offensive rhythm" when they finally saw it. First official taste came on 2nd drive of the first preseason game.
- OL giving McNabb time. To. Throw. Holy shit.
- Trent Williams looking like a pro.
- TOUCHDOWN. DM faced down pass rush, kept eyes downfield, found Armstrong and delivered on target despite good coverage. The Reskins have a real quarterback.
- Weird. As much as I want to see McNabb and the offense, I'm also anxious to see the new defense. So much newness to see with this team.
- Second defensive possession. Haslett not happy. No one is. They look confused and hesitant. Carlos gets burned, lucky pass is overthrown.
- As I'm writing the above, Carriker pass rush forces a bad throw that leads to an INT. DHall, great reaction. Could do w/o "praise be to me" celebration. It's preseason. Turnover (wish list)--check.
- Which leads directly to short-field TD. That's the way it's supposed to work. Worth noting that scoring the TD and not settling for a FG, which has been the MO for so long, is a huge difference. Good teams don't "settle," they dictate. Redskins may or may not be a "good team" this year but the early returns have to put a smile on even the curmudgeonliest face.
- Dan Snyder in the booth looked good. Tanned, fit, relaxed. And short. Really short. Lots I could say there, but won't. It's a new day.
- Theismann utterly at sea again after Snyder interview. Assumes Redskins got turnover when Banks actually returned a punt. Too busy making eyebrow-wiggles at Snyder. Even after [Kenny] Albert said it was a punt return, JT still listening to his own voice and talking about how turnovers are something the Redskins didn't do last year. Lame on so many levels I won't waste your time.
- What's this? A wide open Bobby Wade on a 3rd and long? A Skins QB with the time to hit him? Whoa.
- Rhythm. Redskins offense dictating the pace of the game to the Bills defense. Huge, HUGE.
- Chan Gailey sideline shot looked like he smelled something rotten. He did.
- Rex Grossman one lucky pup early. Two passes that could/should be been pick 6's instead result in one incompletion and a TD pass. Man must be on good terms with the Gridiron Gods.
- Bummer for rook LB Perry Riley. Follows up a sweet blitz sack with an overeager poor angle in the open field that allows Buffalo to almost convert 3rd and forever. They fake going for it on fourth down. Skins discipline--no movement. Which Joey T totally doesn't "get" by the way. Can't seem to understand why the Bills didn't snap it--on their own 40 yard line. Not trying to pick on Joe, but geez. Embarrassing.
- Wait, was that a SCREEN? For positive yards? Can't be.
- Trent Williams rookie mistake negates big play. He's totally gassed. Showed on that play.
- Halftime impression: Redskins clearly the better coached, more disciplined team. I don't care if it's just one preseason game, it's been a long time since I got that overall "secure" feeling about a Redskins team. Maybe early in Gibbs' second year for a couple weeks, but not since.
- Defense still looking organized and moderately aggressive. Perry Riley making a good impression after the blown open-field tackle. Wish list (what new names?)--check.
- Brandon Banks is fast. He does that one more time this preseason he's in. Can't cut a guy that explodes.
- Grossman to Thomas. Not a battery one expected for long TD passes. I'll take it.
- Random thought at 35-3: if this was a fight they'd stop it.
- Pretty cool. A Skin wearing #32 just made a play and it wan't Ade Jimoh.
- Redskins defense anticipating everything Bills are doing. Total mismatch on the sidelines and on the field. Skins D looking organized, confident. Too early? This isn't Dallas.
- Poor Beck comes in on his own 5 right after a long Grossman TD pass. At 35-3 the Skins won't throw much any more to avoid totally showing up Buffalo and try to get out of here w/o any injuries. Going to be hard to find a spot to shine.
- Veteran Roydell Williams covers a fumbled punt (old man hustling much?) giving Beck another chance with field position and a little juice. Be interesting if Kyle lets him go downfield. Drive starts with false start from backup OL. Next, Beck unaware of backside rush. First blush impression -- man is a little too casual back there for my tastes. Internal clock needs winding.
- Defense getting a little sloppy, poor tackling in the open field. Not surprising--fourth quarter, blowout--and not many of these guys on either team out there right now are likely to see the field in regular season. Like to see organized finish though.
- Last offensive drive ... Riggo Drill? That was fun.
[Drive chart from NFL.com]
1-10-BUF 48 (5:36) 46-R.Torain left end pushed ob at BUF 33 for 15 yards (47-C.Harris).
1-10-BUF 33 (5:06) 35-K.Williams right end to BUF 30 for 3 yards (47-C.Harris).
2-7-BUF 30 (4:26) 35-K.Williams left tackle to BUF 30 for no gain (50-D.Woods, 75-L.Harvey).
3-7-BUF 30 (3:48) 35-K.Williams right end to BUF 19 for 11 yards (25-E.Lankster).
1-10-BUF 19 (3:05) 46-R.Torain right tackle to BUF 8 for 11 yards (72-R.Duncan).
1-8-BUF 8 (2:20) 46-R.Torain right end pushed ob at BUF 7 for 1 yard (25-E.Lankster).
2-7-BUF 7 (2:15) 35-K.Williams right tackle for 7 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
4-G.Gano extra point is GOOD, Center-57-N.Sundberg, Holder-6-J.Bidwell.
BUF 17, WAS 42 Plays: 7 Possession: 3:27
- Sideline shots in last 2 minutes, Redskins look confident, loose, close. Love it.
- Can only watch so much postgame yapping. Where's the remote?
Which just about says it all.
No one should get carried away--it was a preseason game against a pretty sad opponent. But if you were going to write the proverbial script for the first game of a new era, it would look a lot like what we last night.
For one brief moment, at least, all is right in the Redskins universe.