After last week’s 42-17 thrashing of the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins fans were hungry for more. Unfortunately, the Redskins failed their latest test against the Baltimore Ravens in a 23-3 throttling at FedEx Field on Saturday. Washington started out quick, but couldn’t sustain the momentum of a good start as Baltimore’s superior depth took over in the later quarters. The AFRO examines from a Washington point of view, a test against a sure title contender.

First Down
Although Washington’s first team could only muster three points against the Ravens, the ingredients are there for a productive offense this season. The starting offensive line protected well for much of the first half against a physical Ravens front seven. Despite not being featured, the running back combo of Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis offers both power and speed. And McNabb’s creativity and vision could allow the underrated receiving duo of Santana Moss and Chris Cooley to thrive. It may take a few games for this unit to click, but it’s obvious the weapons are there. The club will focus its attention on newly drafted left tackle Trent Williams, who was shown late in the second half with his right arm in a sling.

Second Down
Washington’s return units have been void of playmakers in recent years but things could change if the team elects to keep diminutive speedster Brandon Banks. The rookie from Kansas State finds himself in the middle of a roster fight for one of six receiver spots that the team expects to carry. But if he keeps plugging in highlight reels each week, a roster spot should be his. In two preseason games, Banks has been electric. He took a punt back 77 yards for a score against Buffalo and hauled in a 29-yard reception against Baltimore. His return skills gives him a plus over other fringe wideouts evening out roster. For a team trying to reshape itself after a 4-12 season, it would only serve as a bonus if the team could get some cheap scores and Banks’ speed has the ability to give the team just that.

Third Down
Against the Ravens, Albert Haynesworth had the look of a man on the verge of being cut. Haynesworth got his first appearance of the game in the second half but was outmuscled and hustled by Baltimore’s backups. Haynesworth was pushed back and around the line of scrimmage and displayed the type of effort and body language that would get the average player released or benched. With $32 million in his pocket and apparently nothing else to play for, Haynesworth’ potential release is pushing more towards “when” instead of “if.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO