Redskins 16, Jets 11
Washington Redskins put up better effort in third preseason game, beat New York Jets, 16-11
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Redskins did not appear overmatched after all against the New York Jets Friday night, and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth got an extended workout in a 16-11 victory that seemed to bring the team into better focus with only one preseason game remaining.
In front of a crowd of 50,508 at New Meadowlands Stadium, the Redskins, playing without injured quarterback Donovan McNabb, used three field goals from place kicker Graham Gano to take a 9-5 lead into the fourth quarter. They fell behind, 11-9, but rallied late behind Larry Johnson and third-strong quarterback Richard Bartel.
The Redskins took the lead with 2 minutes 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on Bartel's 15-yard touchdown pass to Johnson, who is battling Willie Parker to win the job as primary backup to Clinton Portis. The Redskins improved to 2-1 and the Jets dropped to 1-2.
After their poor overall performance - especially in pass protection - during a blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Redskins appeared to make strides against the Jets' formidable defense. The Ravens and Jets both utilize aggressive 3-4 schemes, and the Redskins protected their quarterbacks Friday better than they did six days ago.
And then there was Haynesworth.
Despite his ongoing tiff with Coach Mike Shanahan, it seems apparent the Redskins are committed to helping the two-time all-pro prepare to aid them this season. Haynesworth worked with the first-team at nose tackle and right end in the nickel package during practice this week, and he entered the game early in the first half and completed the third quarter.
Haynesworth joined his teammates on the fourth play of the Jets' first possession, and played extensively in the first half. He alternated between the nose in the nickel package and right end in base packages. Long after most of the Redskins' defensive veterans had removed their shoulder pads, Haynesworth continued to battle Jets offensive linemen.
After missing all but one day of the offseason program and all the team's minicamps, Haynesworth was far behind his teammates in learning Washington's new 3-4 scheme. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive line coach Jacob Burney have worked overtime in an effort to get Haynesworth, among the league's most dominant defensive players when he is motivated, up to speed.
And for the first time this preseason, Haynesworth worked more at end than at the nose. The nine-year veteran is expected to start at right end in the regular-season opener Sept. 12 against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.
Washington's defense continued its strong showing in the preseason. Although the Redskins had problems against the run (the Jets had a 7.4-yard average in the first half) they continued to force turnovers, which pleases Haslett.
Top cornerback DeAngelo Hall had his second interception in three games. Hall is the first Redskins player with two interceptions in the preseason since safety Sean Taylor had three before the 2004 season. Reserve cornerback Phillip Buchanon also did a nice job of stripping the ball on one play, leading to a fumble recovery for Washington.
With McNabb sidelined by an injured left ankle, backup Rex Grossman led the first-team offense during its two quarters of work. After he struggled last week in relief of McNabb during the loss to the Ravens, Grossman appeared steadier while completing 8 of 16 passes for 111 yards.
In his conversations with Grossman, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has strongly expressed that Grossman must make wiser decisions when things go poorly. Grossman did not commit a turnover against the Jets.
The ongoing running back competition was the other big issue for the Redskins' offense. It was Parker's turn to start, and he did not have a big night statistically, with only 16 yards on eight rushes. His long gain was eight yards, meaning his seven other carries accounted for eight yards.
Against the Ravens, Johnson carried eight times for only four yards. But in addition to his touchdown reception against the Jets, Johnson had 42 yards rushing, including an 18-yard gain, for a 4.7-yard average. Portis, who is expected to start, also played briefly early in the game.
Earlier in the week, Kyle Shanahan said the Redskins planned to rely heavily on veteran wide receivers Santana Moss and Joey Galloway, who are listed atop the depth chart at flanker and split end, respectively. Galloway had his first receptions of the preseason, finishing with three catches for 29 yards. He combined with Grossman on a 20-yard gain.
The Redskins' top wide receiver, Moss was impressive as usual during Washington's preseason games. Galloway, however, had no catches in the first two and had been targeted only once. The lack of production stirred media speculation about whether Galloway, beginning his 16th season, had done enough to solidify his position on the roster.
Mike Shanahan, however, said he had seen Galloway catch enough passes over the years to know what to expect from him, so the Redskins were eager to observe the less-experienced players at the position. Still, it was probably helpful for Galloway to get into the mix more with only a single preseason game remaining, one in which he probably will not participate.