While it was surely a victory to be proud of, not every Redskin made it out scot-free. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins injured his foot. He was attempting to scramble out of bounds but got wrapped up from behind and rolled his foot in the process.
While this could have been a whole lot worse, Cousins should be just fine. He told NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington that he didn’t expect to miss much time at all. That's a good thing, but this whole ordeal could have been avoided.
I’m sure he wasn’t thinking about Robert Griffin III while running to the sideline, but he needs to be more mindful of what he’s doing on the field in the future. Cousins most certainly is Washington’s backup plan should RG3 suffer a setback, and it’s important he remains as healthy as possible while concern still shrouds Griffin III.
Thankfully, Cousins will indeed be OK, but another important player could be missing a substantial amount of time.
The same goes for Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson, both of whom left the game with leg injuries after getting off to hot starts. Hankerson had yet another impressive touchdown catch, and Robinson’s speed was showcased on a few occasions early in the game.
Aside from these unfortunate injuries, it was another day at the office for Washington.
One guy who might have guaranteed himself a roster spot is Roy Helu. He had only one carry, but boy was it a doozie.
Helu burst through the line and outran everyone en route to the end zone. One carry, 30 yards and a touchdown. Point taken, Mr. Helu.
Another positive takeaway from this game is the depth of receivers Washington has. Thirteen different Redskins players recorded receptions Monday night, five of whom were either tight ends, fullbacks or running backs.
In addition to depth on offense, Washington discovered some newfound depth on the defensive side of the ball. Aside from the usual veterans, a few undrafted rookies made some plays for the Burgundy and Gold.
Linebacker Will Compton led the team in tackles Monday night, and he looked like he was born to hit. One play in particular was a perfect display of the physicality Compton could potentially bring to Washington’s linebacker rotation.
Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer caught a pass from Bruce Gradkowski, juked out one defender, cut back left and was promptly met (and leveled) by Compton. He has good size and athletic ability, and he could be a potential successor to London Fletcher when Fletcher decides to hang 'em up.
Compton wasn’t the only rookie defender to make an impact, though. DB Jose Gumbs was all over the field at times, and he wasn’t shy with the opposing team's players. He did do a little jawing back and forth, but he largely let his presence in the secondary do the talking. Gumbs didn’t post huge numbers, but he showed flashes of being an intimidating defender.
Especially with Phillip Thomas out for the season, Gumbs could provide some depth as a developmental, rotational guy—pretty much what they did with Richard Crawford last season.
While it’s always fun to see young guys get involved and do well, the true star of this game was Ryan Kerrigan. The third-year pro has made huge strides since being drafted, and he is quickly becoming one of the league’s best at his position.
Kerrigan recorded a sack, an interception for a touchdown and a fumble recovery in just about two quarters—impressive stats, even for preseason.
He stepped up big time in Brian Orakpo’s absence last season, but now that 'Rak is back, expect No. 91’s numbers to inflate. There were a ton of times last season when Kerrigan was double-teamed and still made plays—something he won’t have to deal with as much now that Orakpo is healthy.
Overall, the Redskins are off to another great start this year. Hopefully, a great season will follow.