The Redskins got off to a great start against the Patriots opening up a 17-0 lead before ultimately losing 26-17. The Redskins coaching staff learned a lot from the opening preseason game including a number of players who stepped up. Here are three takeaways from the Redskins first preseason game in 2018.

Youngsters Stand Out

Tim Settle, Washington’s 2018 fifth-round pick, was a standout on the defensive line. Settle recorded five tackles and a fumble recovery. Head coach Jay Gruden was pleased with the rookie’s play.

“I like Settle,” said Gruden via Inside NoVA. “Settle made some plays over there. Did a nice job. Played a lot of minutes too. … I thought he handled it pretty well for his first game.”

On one play sixth-round pick, Shaun Dion-Hamilton took advantage of Settle being double-teamed and tackled the running back at the line of scrimmage. Hamilton led the Redskins defense with nine total tackles.

Third-year wide receiver Maurice Harris had a good night and beat Patriots starting corner Stephon Gilmore, selling the fact that he was going deep before running a comeback route. Harris created separation and was able to record a reception for a first down.

Second-year wide receiver Robert Davis, who spent most of last year on the practice squad, recorded three receptions for 35 yards. He had a solid night including a 19-yard reception on a third down and four.

Perhaps the biggest play of the night for the Redskins came from an undrafted free agent out of Alabama. Wide receiver Cam Sims played in 41 games at Alabama and caught 41 passes for 467 yards and two touchdowns (via Advance Local Media). In his NFL debut, Sims recorded a 57-yard reception. On the play, Sims sold the cornerback on an outside release before beating him inside finding the hole between the corner and safety.

Colt McCoy Shines

With starting quarterback Alex Smith getting the night off, Colt McCoy got the opportunity to play the majority of the first half. McCoy is entering his fifth year under Gruden and has clearly mastered his offense. The former Texas Longhorn went 13-18 for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

On the first touchdown pass, McCoy hit running back Bryon Marshall who took advantage of a mismatch against a linebacker to record a 25-yard touchdown. On the second touchdown, McCoy hit Harris for a three-yard touchdown on a play-action rollout.

“He’s got great command of the offense,” Gruden said after the game via the Washington Post. “He can move around in the pocket, and players respond to him. He gets the ball to the open people, and they make plays for him. I thought it was a great job tonight by Colt, without a doubt.”

Last season provided the perfect example of the importance of a quality backup quarterback. Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL last December ending his season. The Eagles turned to backup Nick Foles who led them all the way to a Super Bowl win over the Patriots. The Eagles offense did not miss a beat scoring 41 points in the Super Bowl.

The Redskins have a reliable backup in McCoy, which is invaluable. Hopefully, Smith plays in all 16 games this season, but if not Washington is in good hands.


Washington entered the preseason opener surprisingly healthy with no players out for the season. A number of starters did not play including quarterback Alex Smith, tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, wide receiver Jamison Crowder, wide receiver Josh Doctson, tight end Jordan Reed and safety D.J. Swearinger. Third down running back Chris Thompson also did not play after breaking his right fibula midway through last season. Washington remains cautious with his recovery and decided not to risk Thompson in a preseason game.

Of those who entered the game healthy and played the biggest concern is over rookie running back Derrius Guice. Guice played well in limited action but left the game with a knee injury. The initial diagnosis is good though.

The injury creates some doubt over Guice’s role early in the regular season, but he should have a prominent role once he recovers.

Matt Ioannidis who should have a prominent role on the Redskins defensive line this season suffered a knee injury after having his leg rolled up by a Patriots offensive lineman.

Trey Quinn suffered a stomach injury against the Patriots. Quinn is the latest Mr. Irrelevant, a name given to the last player drafted each year in the NFL Draft. McCoy on one of his only mistakes of the game led Quinn right into a Patriots defender who delivered a hard hit. Those are the type of passes that starting quarterback Alex Smith has consistently not made throughout training camp to the delight of the Redskins coaching staff.

There are a lot of positives to take into next week when training camp ramps up. The New York Jets are coming to Richmond, Virginia to take part in joint practices with the Washington Redskins.

Will Fairfax is a Washington Redskins editor and staff writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter at @willfairfax1Looking for more Redskins news and features? Like our Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_redskins on Twitter.