By Ronald Guy
I hate the preseason. I love the return of football, but I hate the consequences of meaningless games. The injury bug gorged itself on ‘Skins blood this week. From memory and my copious notes, the physical damage looked something like this: Cofield broke his hand, Kirk Cousins sprained a foot, Chris Thompson popped out a shoulder, and Hankerson and fellow WR Aldrick Robinson suffered leg injuries. I’m sure there were more, but that’s enough to illustrate the point.
The good news is none appear to be serious. The most troubling, of course, are Cousins’ and Cofield’s ailments. If Cousins’ injury keeps him sidelined for any length of time, RGIII is going to use it as public relations fuel to further promote his readiness for Week 1 … simply because he seemingly can’t help himself.
Cofield’s injury is problematic because he was going to be the only starting defensive lineman — with Adam Carriker out because of injury and Jarvis Jenkins suspended for a rogue GNC supplement (allegedly) — available for the opening game. I don’t know what otherworldly offense the Eagles are going to run during the Sept. 9 opener, but I do know it will resemble the cardiovascular brutality of a Marty Schottenheimer training camp and all available defensive bodies will need to be on deck (Coefield included).
2. Mustard Works On Hot Dogs, Not In NFL Secondaries (Apparently)
With Phillip Thomas’ season-ending injury, Tanard Jackson’s uncertain availability and Brandon Meriweather’s balky knee, S DeJon Gomes had a golden brown opportunity to earn significant playing time. His play this preseason, though, has been more yellow than spicy (okay, I’ll stop). After committing two penalties and taking a horrendous angle on a running play against the Steelers, Gomes is closer to the waiver wire than he is the starting lineup. He probably makes the final 53, but that’s due more to the lack of warm bodies at safety than Gomes asserting himself — that’s unfortunate.
Gomes was a fifth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft — the kind of player good teams score deep in the draft and develop into regular contributors. Instead, Gomes, now in his third year, seems to be little more than a marginal defensive condiment (okay, now I’ll stop for real).
3. Jordan Reed
Welcome to the NFL, young man. In your next audition, try to act like a guy who has played football at a high level and not like a dude plucked from a parking lot tailgate party.
Reed looked overwhelmed against Pittsburgh. He quit on a route that led to a Rex Grossman interception, then dropped an easy catch later in the game. The hope was that he could pair with Fred Davis and form a dynamic duo at tight end. For now, it appears that Davis and Logan Paulsen will be the tight ends receiving playing time; Reed is a long way from being regular-season ready.
4. Tyler Polumbus
I tried to believe because any scenario that had the ‘Skins offensive line progressing this season included Polumbus solidifying the starting job at right tackle and playing at an above-average level. Trent Williams is the Pro Bowler, and the other guys — Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery and Chris Chester — are what they are.
After struggling again in pass protection, it appears Polumbus has displayed his NFL ceiling as well (modest as it is). Polumbus single-handedly revived Steelers LB Lamarr Woodley’s career. Multiple penalties and a sack forfeited is not a good night for the guy projected to man RGIII’s “sight side.”
5. RGIII And James Andrews Conversing
I thought I was over it. I figured the offseason and seven-plus months of separation had cured me of the rage I felt at seeing the sideline confusion after RGIII’s initial knee injury against the Ravens and the “can you believe this” moment when Dr. Jim disappeared into an on-field “shed” to examine the most important athlete in Washington D.C. since before World War II.
Apparently, hell hath no fury like a jaded NFL fan because the sight of the good Doc and the super-human patient hamming it up reopened the emotional wound. I think part of the complex psychological scarring is that neither party seems to understand the gravity of their carelessness or egomania (you choose).
The duration and effectiveness of RGIII’s career in Washington will have no impact on Dr. Andrews, and RGIII seems like the kind of guy destined for fame and fortune — be it via football or just being famous (the Kardashian model). Washingtonians fear being left in the wake of the blindingly bright shooting star that is and was Griffin.