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Redskins Vs. Ravens: Observations From Redskins 34-31 Preseason Loss Against Ravens

BALTIMORE, M - They say that the third preseason game is the "dress rehearsal" for NFL teams, one that helps them establish rhythm and chemistry on both sides of the ball before the their Week 1 opponent. 

But for the Redskins, Thursday's game against the Ravens was about trying to figure out the quarterback competition between Rex Grossman and John Beck. 

But here were still plenty of other takeaways from Thursday's game.

Grossman may have taken the lead in this competition, but didn't win the job: Yes, Rex Grossman looked better than John Beck Thursday night. Yes, the fact that he started might be a good indication that he could be in the lead for the starting job. But Grossman by no means locked up the starting QB job Thursday night.

Grossman still had the tendency to panic when his initial reads weren't available, and those are the times when he is ripe for a turnover. He didn't have one Thursday, but that tendency led to him taking sacks instead of throwing the ball away, or him throwing it over the middle where he had no one open. 

His best drive came at the end of the first half, when he led an 80 yard scoring drive while running the hurry-up offense. He was clearly in rhythm with his receivers and didn't make many mistakes, ending the drive on a 24 yard touchdown throw to Santana Moss. It was a great way for him to end his outing.

"[The touchdown drive] was real important." Grossman said after the game. "At the time, we were given two series and then taking two series off. You want to feel that you have a scoring drive of a touchdown, so it definitely felt good."

As for Beck, he didn't start the game off superbly when he was with the starters. He led a touchdown drive that was mostly aided by the running game. He then started his second half with a poor interception to Ladarrius Webb where he targeted Donte Stallworth, who was never open. 

He came back a drive later, going 5 for 6 with 75 yards and a touchdown pass to Terrence Austin. He took the safe passes underneath for the most part, but he still kept the offense on schedule, which is important for this coaching staff. That's the difference between these two quarterbacks: Beck would rather be safe, Grossman would rather be sorry.

"[The touchdown drive] was huge," Beck said after the game. "It made me feel good, putting the ball in the endzone."

With only one preseason game left, time is running short for both of these quarterbacks to make an impression.

"I can't really worry about [the quarterback competition]," Beck said of his duel with Grossman. "If I do, it's just mental quicksand. I just do what I can, play when they say play and do the best that I can."

Ryan Kerrigan takes another step forward: Though he wasn't perfect, the Redskins' top pick showed once again why he is fit to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 front. 

Yes, he had two neutral zone infractions that extended drives. But those are mistakes that he will learn to eliminate in time. 

"We've got to eliminate some of the mistakes," he said. "Especially pre-snap penalties like off-sides penalties. We just have to eliminate those""

Kerrigan was very active when the starters played in the first half, both in the run game and on passing downs. In the end, he was credited with five tackles, one assist and a sack on Joe Flacco. He was apart of a Redskins front seven that was collapsing the pocket the majority of the first half, hitting or pressuring Flacco several times in the process.

"We did a good job getting pressure with the front four in our pressure packages," he said. "And I think that's a tribute to the guys working hard and getting their timing right"

If Kerrigan finds a way to keep improving each week, the Redskins pass rush has a chance to be ferocious.

Terrence Austin may have locked up his spot on his roster:  The second year receiver may have shown the coaching staff enough Thursday to earn him in a spot in a crowded receiving corps.

A underdog heading into camp, Austin has now had three solid preseason games in a row. Thursday night he led all Redskins receivers with 5 catches for 71 yards and a nifty touchdown.

Today also happens to be Austin's birthday, and probably gave himself the best present he could have received: a roster spot.

"I was excited to get out there," he said after the game. "I wanted the ball. I got out there in the first half. I was just itching to get a pass."

His hunger is palpable and is something this coaching staff has admired this entire training camp. All he has to do now is have one last solid performance and he should be on the 53 man roster come Week 1.

DeAngelo Hall had a career game:  And when I say career game, I mean he had a game that pretty much summarized his career so far  in a nutshell. 

The good? He was able to jump a curl route and return it all the way for a score - albeit with an unnecessary cutback. He showed his great instincts and ball skills, one of the very reasons he was able to make the Pro Bowl a season ago. It's what sets him apart in this secondary and something the Redskins will need in order to win games this season.

But, of course, there was some bad. It's common knowledge that Hall isn't the greatest cover corner, as we saw time and again against the Ravens. Several plays before his interception, he gave Lee Evans plenty of cushion by playing off technique and still allowed a pass underneath for a first down. Later, Hall was in man coverage against Evans, was with him the entire way and still got beat for a touchdown. Sure, it was a great throw by Flacco, but Hall didn't reroute Evans at the line of scrimmage nor was he able to turn back in time to locate the ball.

It's feast or famine with Hall, and it's something Redskins coaches and fans will have to deal with. 


And with that, the Redskins "dress rehearsal" for the season is over with so many roster spots up for grabs going into the final week of the preseason.