- The Washington Times - Monday, August 28, 2017

The Redskins starters are done for the preseason, and won’t play until the regular-season opener on Sept. 10 against the Eagles. Results through three preseason games have been mixed overall, as they were Sunday night in a 23-17 win against the Bengals.

After reviewing the film, here are three things that stood out from the Redskins third preseason game. 

Roullier looks the part

One of the best signs from Sunday’s game was the first appearance of a viable run game so far this preseason. Redskins backs, particularly Rob Kelley had no room in the first two games, but Kelley was excellent against the Bengals. The run game was what drove the offense in the moments when it was humming, and Redskins backs averaged a respectable 3.8 yards per carry. Kelley’s number was 5.7, bolstered by a 21-yard gain.

Kelley himself hadn’t been the problem in the first two games; the blocking was to blame. The Redskins had to start rookie backup Chase Roullier at center Sunday, and still had much better success run blocking.

Left tackle Trent Williams said that Roullier did well making the calls.

“From what I can tell, he communicated really well,” Williams said.

Roullier showed that he knew when to disengage from his initial block, particularly if he was working on a double-team, and move on to stop an additional defender coming in from the second level. Right off the bat, he helped Rob Kelley run for what would have been six yards and a first down on 3rd-and-1 had it not gotten called back because of an illegal shift. Roullier worked with right guard Brandon Scherff on a double team for about two seconds, then peeled off to pick up a linebacker.

It takes a combination of smarts and instincts for a center to know when to go on to blocking the next guy, but it’s a critical skill. For any rookie, particularly one who was drafted in the sixth round, to display that kind of savvy is impressive and should make the Redskins feel more comfortable with the idea of playing Roullier in Week 1 if Spencer Long is not yet healthy after meniscus surgery.

Rising concern for the passing game

Receivers Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor are supposed to be the answers to the losses of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency. Doctson didn’t play Sunday, though Jay Gruden said that he’d have played were the game during the regular season, because of tightness in his hamstring.

Pryor was on the field, but wasn’t effective. He caught one pass for 17-yards. What’s concerning is that his hands have appeared suspect throughout the preseason. Pryor has dropped four catchable balls this preseason, including one he juggled on a crossing route and couldn’t hang on to Sunday. He and Cousins are 2-for-7 this preseason.

Cousins took responsibility for the miscues.

“I can think of three passes that we would have liked to have completed, but I think that on all three of those, I think the throw doesn’t give [Pryor] as much of a chance as I would like. The one in Baltimore was a little high, the one last week was certainly high and thrown way too fast, and then this one today you know, I led him a little too far,” Cousins said.

Cousins and Pryor work hard at getting better together. That’s not a cliché - they put in plenty of work after and outside of practice together. Sometimes, it just takes a while for a receiver and quarterback to hit their stride. The problem with that is that there’s no changing the calendar.

Junior Galette has still got it

Outside linebacker Junior Galette played 21 snaps in his first game as a Redskin (also his first game since 2014). With Trent Murphy out for the season, his production has become more important for the Redskins pass rush.

The good news there is that Galette looked explosive. Right off the bat, Galette got a hand on Andy Dalton after leaving the Bengals left tackle in the dust. Galette had two plays where he got his hands on the quarterback. He was credited with one QB hurry on the stat sheet.

“It just felt great, man,” Galette said. “You know I’ve been doing everything I did in the game in practice so it just felt great, you know, to actually go do it in live action.”

Galette said that his hamstring still doesn’t feel 100 percent. He looked good nonetheless.

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