CB Kevin Barnes got home for a sack without being blocked after crossing underneath blitzing SS DeJon Gomes. Barnes has been an opportunistic blitzer during the preseason, and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has designed some plays to free him up. Overloading one side of the formation has been effective.
Overall, I wonder how much the Redskins showed on defense Thursday. ESPN analysts Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden, who know a thing or two about NFL schemes, were in awe of how Haslett was mixing up coverages and blitzes, etc. With no offseason program, I can understand the need to test more of the playbook during game situations this summer than in past years. Still, teams have to balance that with the danger of putting too much on film for opponents to see.
ILB Rocky McIntoshwas beaten in coverage down the seam for a 33-yard gain. It was a great throw by QB Joe Flacco, but McIntosh never turned his head. McIntosh was in coverage on an earlier incompletion, but Flacco’s throw was rushed because of pressure. It’s still a hole in his game.
Rookie OLB Ryan Kerrigan jumped offsides twice. He’s concentrating on being explosive from a two-point stance and getting his weight forward, and it can be difficult for a player to stay poised when he’s thinking about so much. My guess is that those mistakes will dissipate as things become more natural for Kerrigan.
He recorded another high-motor sack by spinning off the running back’s chip and redirecting inside toward QB Joe Flacco. Kerrigan still hasn’t demonstrated any explosion off the edge, but the Redskins will take his persistence for now.
For the second straight week, OLB Lorenzo Alexander seemed faster and more explosive on the edge than he was last season. He pressured QB Joe Flacco into an incompletion with a quick inside step. He got off a cut block to help stop RB Ricky Williams for a 2-yard gain. He dropped in coverage and tipped a pass that WR Anquan Boldin ultimately caught; it would have been a much bigger gain if Alexander hadn’t disrupted the timing of the catch.
As for Alexander’s role on Boldin’s second-half touchdown, I initially thought he should have re-routed Boldin’s path to the post. Alexander stuck out his left arm as Boldin ran past but didn’t make contact. But Boldin was more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage when Alexander reached for him, so any contact would have been illegal, anyway. It looked like a breakdown on the back end involving SS DeJon Gomes, but it’s difficult to be sure.
DE Doug Worthington flashed promise again, and he has to be considered a beneficiary of Jarvis Jenkins‘ injury. Worthington showed sufficient upper body strength to push the pocket at times, and he was agile enough to dodge a cut-block attempt by T Michael Oher and hold RB Ray Rice to a 3-yard gain.
If rookie CBs Brandyn Thompson and Reggie Jones are battling for a roster spot—perhaps the one vacated by Phillip Buchanon’s suspension — Thompson won that battle for the second straight week. Thompson ran stride for stride with WR Lee Evans on a deep incompletion. Jones, meanwhile, struggled. He whiffed on his attempt to jam Evans on a third-and-3 that Baltimore easily converted with a quick slant. Jones also committed two special teams penalties.
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