Washington Redskins faithful didn’t get a chance to see starting quarterback Robert Griffin III in the team’s first preseason game Aug. 8 as head coach Mike Shanahan played it safe by holding the explosive second-year quarterback out while he continues to rehab from knee surgery.

But the ‘Skins still managed to win their preseason opener, 22-21, against the Tennessee Titans. behind backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, who proved he’s good enough to carry the load if needed.

Cousins and the rest of the starting offensive unit played only the first quarter, but the second-year quarterback completed six of seven passes for 52 yards and a touchdown pass, caught by tight end Fred Davis.

Shanahan said he was very impressed with his backup quarterback.

“For him to win the second position last year he really had to do it quickly,” Shanahan said. “He’s been impressive from the moment that he got here. He’s a student of the game. He’s got God-given talent and he’s bright guy who works extremely hard.”

On defense, Washington fans were eager to see the young talent in the secondary in action. The Redskins selected three defensive backs in April’s draft, including cornerback David Amerson and safeties Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo. All three rookies started the game and flashed glimpses of their talent. But they also showed they’ve got a lot to learn as Rambo was badly beat by Titans Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson on a 58-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Rambo said it was a valuable learning experience.

“The first time I go to make a tackle in the NFL, I came up against one of the greatest backs in the league and I should have tried to put a better shot on him instead of just throwing my body into him,” Rambo said. “He cut back, and it was a good move. He made a good play.”

Game Notes: Third-string quarterback Rex Grossman tossed a touchdown pass caught by receiver Leonard Hankerson. Fourth-string quarterback Pat White, known for his mobility, also scored a touchdown on a nine-yard run. All-Pro linebacker Brian Orakpo saw his first game action since missing most of last season, and recorded a sack.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor