- The Washington Times - Monday, August 24, 2009

The videotape didn’t lie when it showed the Washington Redskins going through the motions in their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the preseason opener. And it didn’t fib when coach Jim Zorn reviewed Saturday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“A week ago, I felt like we were just running plays. It was like a practice,” Zorn said Sunday at Redskin Park. “[Against the Steelers] our guys were more intent on improving because they could see what was going on [on video], and they did improve. They showed much more enthusiasm and understood some of the moments of the game - the fourth downs, the third downs - and rose up in those situations.”

While the starting offense remains without a touchdown, Zorn pointed to several positives for the first-team defense and young players that proved to him the Redskins are taking forward steps. Led by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and rookie Brian Orakpo, the Redskins harassed Charlie Batch throughout the first half but didn’t get a sack. Good rushes produced a holding penalty and an intentional grounding call.

“We put much more pressure on the quarterback and forced him to run,” Zorn said. “They made plays, but we’re at least flushing them out of the pocket.”

Haynesworth played 10 snaps (not including penalties) in his Redskins debut.

“It went well,” defensive end Andre Carter said. “It’s preseason, so we only had a few snaps with each other. He’s still getting a feel for the defense, and we’re still getting a feel for each other, and that will come with time.”

After the starters departed, several young players flashed potential - Zorn cited Orakpo, Marko Mitchell, Kevin Barnes, Chase Daniel, Jeremy Jarmon and Chris Wilson.

“My call to them is to continue to work on finishing the play,” Zorn said. “We had guys having fun out there, but some of the finishes weren’t up to the NFL standard we’re looking for.”

Injury report

Zorn said fullback Mike Sellers (knee contusion) will be fine after he was knocked to the ground by an offensive lineman in the second quarter.

Running back Ladell Betts pulled an oblique muscle. Left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) was almost a game-time scratch, but he played the first three series.

“His knee was sore coming into the game, and there was some question as far as whether he felt like he could go,” Zorn said. “But he and our trainers worked hard to put it all together, and he did great.”

Zorn said he hopes right tackle Mike Williams, who sat out Saturday with an ankle injury, can play Friday against New England.

New routine

Two-a-days are complete, and the Redskins will begin adopting their usual game preparation routine this week, albeit with only three practices because of the short week.

In the time not spent on the field for a second workout, Zorn said the coaching staff will begin to formulate plans for the early regular-season games.

“It will allow us to game-plan a little more and put together the kind of in-season game plans we’re going to use,” he said.

Zorn said the starters will play at least the first half against the Patriots.

Zorn OKs Hall call

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall was called for what appeared to be a questionable personal foul that extended Pittsburgh’s opening drive. Hall was flagged when he knocked down tight end Heath Miller after a pass fell incomplete.

“The guy had to throw [the flag],” Zorn said. “DeAngelo just leaned into him, but he actually pulled up - he didn’t wallop him or anything. But it was something we have to learn, and the officials have to take care of the safety of the player on late hits, especially when the ball was totally uncatchable. DeAngelo just probably crossed the line. It was unfortunate.”

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