I hope you didn't take the title seriously.
I've spent the morning listening to local radio stations and reading blogs posted in the wee hours after last night's brutal preseason tilt between the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens. When it was all said and done, the Ravens walked away with a 23-3 win that meant absolutely nothing.
Sure — it would have been nice to see a little promise. With all the hype coming out of training camp, it's almost like Redskins' fans expected Kirk Cousins to come out, throw for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and call it a night. That didn't happen and it's perfectly okay.
There were things to be legitimately concerned about and I'll touch on those shortly. In the end though, it was just a glorified practice that featured a bunch of dudes who won't make the 53-man roster. Just breathe.
Let's take a look at the things that mattered and didn't matter from the Skins' first preseason game of 2017.
Early offensive struggles from Kirk Cousins & company
After preseason opener – Kirk Cousins says Redskins got 'a wake up call' pic.twitter.com/e4TZL1rRYu
— ABC 7 Sports (@ABC7Sports) August 11, 2017
Kirk Cousins finished the night after two drives 1-of-2 for a whopping five yards. He also took a brutal sack which wasn't a great feeling. It's going to be fine.
Cousins didn't have the luxury of Jordan Reed over the middle, or Jamison Crowder for a quick and easy completion. He didn't have Josh Doctson, either. Yes, the Skins' QB missed Terrelle Pryor on an open slant — but those two are still developing chemistry. Those things are supposed to happen right now so they don't in the regular season. Jay Gruden didn't blow anyone away as a play-caller but he played it overly conservative on purpose. Nothing we saw last night from the starting offense will resemble anything once September rolls around.
What's up with Colt McCoy?
There's nothing more important than a capable backup quarterback if something goes wrong during the regular season.
Colt McCoy picked looking for an outside fade that was thrown far too inside.
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) August 11, 2017
Most feel like Washington has one of the best backups in the NFL in Colt McCoy — but the former Texas star looked completely out of sync against reserve defenses. Don't get me wrong here — it's tough for McCoy to develop any rhythm with a bunch of dudes he's barely thrown to — but I expected a much better outing and many of his mistakes were simple, little things.
McCoy finished the night just 6-of-13 for 40 yards and an interception. He better clean it up soon.
I'm confident in saying Nate Sudfield isn't even close to challenging McCoy for the second-string spot — but we've heard plenty of reports coming out of Redskins' Park about McCoy — and his desire to be a NFL starter even though he's fully embraced his current role.
I think we all know McCoy won't ever be a NFL starter again, but he can continue to be a great backup if he can avoid performances like last night.
Team didn't look ready to play, Jay Gruden worst coach ever
On Perine fumble, RG Isaiah Williams has to help out C Chase Roullier more on the DT before working to the second level. Tough reach pic.twitter.com/xS22tMpJbR
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) August 11, 2017
This one is the best. It's so silly and unrealistic. There are already all kinds of fans signing in to Twitter to bash the Skins' head coach after Washington's lackluster performance. He didn't have them ready to play. He was an awful play caller. Blah, blah, blah.
Let me make something abundantly clear here. Most of the starters and players that mattered actually didn't want to play. They are terrified of injury and their livelihood is on the line for an absolutely meaningless game. Gruden has brought a stability to the Redskins' coaching position that hasn't been there in a long time — and his players adore him, which goes a long way in the NFL.
Yes, I'll admit Gruden can come off as a bit too relaxed but I can assure you he will have his squad ready for the opener against Philly. Gruden has full control of this team and can be serious when he needs to be. Oh, and remember all of those explosive offenses in Cincinnati? Gruden was calling the plays.
It was the first game of preseason.
Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens Both Injured
Su'a Cravens is ridiculously fun to watch. Only getting better & shows high-level anticipation/intelligence already. pic.twitter.com/oY0okWhHzk
— Jerod Brown (@JerodBrown_) November 14, 2016
This is what mattered the most. The No. 1 goal for any NFL coach is to emerge from the preseason without any key injuries — and today there are question marks surrounding the health of two key defensive players that weren't there before the game kicked off.
Linebacker Trent Murphy had his knee rolled on and left the stadium with crutches. His injury looked more severe — but I'm not a doctor. This would be a fairly sizeable blow if for some reason Murphy was sidelined for any length of time. The third-year LB started to show a ton of promise late in 2016 and finished the year with nine sacks.
Murphy was already suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season because he tested positive for PEDs, but we will see how the MRI pans out and if he will miss even more time.
The other notable injury came to Su'a Cravens — who is also scheduled for a MRI. No offense to Murphy who's a solid player — but losing Cravens for even a game or two in the regular season would be miserable. For the first time in a long time — there is real hope about the Redskins' secondary and it starts with the safeties. Cravens is a versatile weapon who has a ton to learn — and an injury will only stunt that progress. With D.J. Swearinger as a mentor, the second-year player has a chance to make major strides this year and eventually emerge as one of the more unique players in the NFL. We all know how injuries can derail careers, but thankfully, Cravens was walking under his own power after the game.
Samaje Perine struggled, but will be fine
Rookie running back Samaje Perine has been one of those guys who's churned up a ton of hype amongst Skins' nation. The Oklahoma product was viewed as a steal in the 4th round of the NFL Draft — coming off a year where he rushed for 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Rookie jitters for Samaje Perine, who sees the ball poked out of his grasp.
Needs to carry higher and tighter.
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) August 11, 2017
On Thursday, Perine looked completely lost and unprepared. There has been a narrative throughout camp that Perine will ball out early and challenge Rob Kelley for the starting position but I can tell you that ain't happening anytime soon. I'm still bullish when it comes to Perine, but he's a rookie who right now who looks exactly like a rookie. He will watch Thursday's tape and learn from his mistakes — but I still don't think we will see the rookie in large doses throughout the year. Maybe Perine gets 10 carries a game on a good day, but he's not ready to be the featured back and that's okay.
Everyone just needs to calm down and not jump to quick conclusions. The first preseason game was far from pretty, but it was a nice little wake-up call for Gruden and the coaching staff. Adjustments will be made and this team should be just fine.