The Washington Redskins won the NFC East last season by getting hot and going on a seven-game winning streak to cap the regular season. They showed the same grit and toughness that propelled that run in a tight 24-13 win over the Steelers at FedEx Field to end the second full week of the preseason Monday night. Preseason football should be taken with a grain of salt and, as hard as it is, we here at Laces Out try to avoid overreacting at all cost. All right, let’s get into what we learned from Monday night:
Ryan Kerrigan, you’re one freaky dude
The Redskins outside linebacker showed everyone why he was voted to the Pro Bowl last season when he intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass and took it 22 yards to the house. Kerrigan, who only played in one quarter was a one-man wrecking crew, racking up three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble to go with the pick.
Mike Shanahan pulls a quick one on RG3
The one storyline that talking heads won’t shut up about is if the Redskins should play quarterback Robert Griffin III in the preseason. Griffin is obviously returning from a torn ACL and MCL, but has said he’s nearly 100 percent and has expressed interest in playing before the regular season kickoff Sept. 9 against the Eagles.
Well, Shanahan, the Redskins head coach, may have added more fuel to the fire as he pulled a quick one on Griffin during the game. Shanahan asked the QB if he was ready to go in. Of course, he was joking. We told you to not overreact.
It was a fun moment on the sideline and a way to publicly put the “Shanahan-and-Griffin-have-a-rift” argument on ice. Let’s not kid ourselves, RG3 will be ready when it matters most and if his new T-shirt is any indication of the way he feels, the ‘Skins quarterback is cool with the patient approach.
Steelers rookies have uneven evening
The Steelers are expecting a lot from their rookies. Some players have bigger responsibilities than others, but each player is looking to make an impact right away. Let’s take a look at how some of the Steelers’ impact rookies fared:
Jarvis Jones: James Harrison left in free agency in large part because the Steelers decided they liked what they had in the rookie outside linebacker from the University of Georgia. Jones reportedly hasn’t shown the ‘wow’ factor in training camp thus far, but the team would like him to be a part of its pass rushing rotation. Jones had a nice night for the most part, making 2 tackles.
Le’Veon Bell: Several experts have pegged Bell as the bell cow running back in Pittsburgh. Although that could be the case, Bell sustained a right foot injury and was done after 4 carries for 9 yards. The rookie running back missed the first preseason game because of a left knee injury and made his first start tonight.
Markus Wheaton: It’s unfair to say that the receiver out of Oregon State is the second coming of Mike Wallace. Each player is a bit undersized and has enough speed to blow the top off a defense, but let’s not go overboard. Wheaton was primarily used as a decoy against the Redskins, but hauled in a catch and run for 45 yards. If he can fine tune his route running, Wheaton could surprise a few people this season.
Shamarko Thomas: You remember Shamarko Thomas, right? He’s the guy that owns the greatest 40-yard dash of all time. Anyway, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound safety made his presence felt he made six tackles and forced a fumble — and got some recognition from a future Hall of Fame safety.
Maaaaan Shamarko Thomas got his big boy pads on tonight jake!!!
On a night when ESPN’s Jon Gruden said he’d give a first-round pick for Kirk Cousins, the second-year quarterback and RG3 insurance policy left the game with a mid-foot sprain, according to FOX Sports 1 insider Mike Garafolo. Cousins completed just 2 of 3 passes for 19 yards before leaving the game. It’s not supposed to be serious, but it could be an underlying storyline to keep your eye on during the preseason. Rex Grossman and Pat White finished the game after Cousins’ departure.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Leonard Hankerson
The injury bug ended up biting Hankerson before the night was over, but not before the wide receiver made this beautiful one-handed grab. Hankerson, who had a very mediocre season in 2012, hurt his right knee and the severity is unknown.