Robert Griffin III, Will Smith, Tommy Kelly

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III passes between New England Patriots defensive end Will Smith (90) and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (93) during the first half of an NFL football preseason game in Landover, Md., Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Rookie running backs Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd made their presence known in Washington’s 23-6 win over the New England Patriots in their preseason opener on Aug. 7 at FedEx Field. Seastrunk picked up 61 yards on 11 carries, while Redd had 45 yards on nine carries.

“They’ve been trying to undervalue our running backs, but we definitely have a nice stable of backs here,” said running back Alfred Morris, who racked up a solid 27 yards on five carries of his own in Washington’s first-team offense’s lone 10-snap drive. “The young guys in Silas and Seastrunk did a great job of showing us what they can do. I think it’s going to be good for us in the long run…Hopefully we can find a way to keep all of us.”

In his first game as a head coach, Jay Gruden wanted to give his players a chance to compete in a game setting, so he can properly evaluate them. After three days of joint practices earlier in the week, New England coach Bill Belichick rested Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis and most of his starters for the preseason game.

Washington Redskins running back Lache Seastrunk carries the ball during the second half of an NFL football preseason game against th eNew England Patriots in Landover, Md., Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Connor Radnovich)

Robert Griffin III played without top wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, and completed two of four passes for nine yards in his only drive, which ended with a 39-yard field goal from Kai Forbath. Forbath is battling rookie Zach Hocker—who made two field goals of his own—for the starting kicker position.

While the first-string offense was done after one drive, the starting defense—sans safety Ryan Clark—stayed on the field for two successful series. Washington came out strong and put pressure on New England quarterback Ryan Mallett, who started in place of Brady. Washington’s aggressive defense forced two straight three-and-outs and was highlighted by a sack from three-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo. Fellow linebacker Ryan Kerrigan also harried Mallett.

“Overall it was a good performance by everybody. Now it’s time to move on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t count ,” Gruden told reporters. “What I was impressed with was the way they came out offensively and defensively, we got some stops right away. We got some pressure on the quarterback that is exciting…It’s something to build off of. That’s what we were looking for.”

Washington’s backup quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy each threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson and tight end Ted Bolster, respectively. Cousins finished nine-of-13 for 103 yards, while McCoy completed eight of nine passes for 102 yards.

New England’s lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter, when Jimmy Garoppolo threw a fade pass to Brian Tyms with 1:23 left on the clock.

“We’re looking forward to going back to Richmond. We got a lot more practicing to do,” said Griffin after the win. “We have a long way to go to be the team that we want to be, but I think today was a good start.”

Washington plays its second preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FedEx Field on Aug. 18.

Breana Pitts

Special to the AFRO