Don’t worry, I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself.  There are no mentions of “playoffs” in this article, nor am I going to get too excited about the bloated score the Washington Redskins put up against the Buffalo Bills.

Come on, it IS just The Bills, after all.  At least, that’s what the sports talk radio guys are clamoring about this morning, reminding listeners that the Buffalo Bills weren’t a very good team last year.

What’s that, you say, neither were the Redskins?  I’ll continue to maintain the opinion that the Washington Redskins only had 4 wins last year based on some injuries and some coaching issues, but they weren’t far off from being decent.

That’s not what this article is about, though, so I digress…

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Donovan McNabb didn’t play any deeper into the game than he did.  It was nice to see that he was around 60% accurate with his pass completion.  My friends who are Eagles fans tell me that I should expect him to start bounce-passing any time now.  I’m sure it’ll happen a few times before the season is over, but I don’t put too much stock into what the guys up the road have to say about McNabb.  He took them deep into the playoffs on a regular basis and I’m not sure they ever really appreciated him.  Again, digressing… His ability to hook up with Chris Cooley, while not surprising, was nice to see.  He averaged over 11 yards per completion, which was also good.  Having witnessed what Jason Campbell did in his debut with the Oakland Raiders, I’m comfortable with the switch that was made at the helm, though I think the Silver & Black got a big upgrade for their staring QB as well.

Rex Grossman was a pleasant surprise.  He also had over 60% completion of his passes, averaging over 11 yards per completion.  I’ve heard that Fred Davis is nearly impossible to cover in the Red Zone, so that touchdown didn’t surprise me (it WAS against BUFFALO, after all), but Devin Thomas getting the 44 yard receiving score was very awesome.  Sure, I passed on him as a WR on my fantasy football team, but I’m happy to see that at least one of the 2nd Round Receivers from a couple years ago is doing something.  The other two catches Thomas made that averaged 10 yards a pop were a good way to show that the first one wasn’t a fluke.   Malcolm Kelly?  I’d be happy if he even got onto the field.

John Beck?  Third string QB, no need to worry about him.  Give him some time to learn the offense – he’s not been here that long – and then we’ll see what he’s capable of doing.

Clinton Portis did an acceptable job with the time he was given.  Not much to say there.  What I was surprised by was the real story of the summer leading up to now (with the Haynesworth situation being a loud side-note).  There was much ado over the running backs situation, with two former pro bowl running backs being brought to town… but where were they?  I didn’t see a single carry from Larry Johnson OR from “Formerly Fast” Willie Parker.  I can understand that one of them might not have been put into the game, but both?  It wouldn’t surprise me if one of them was released this week, and although I’ll admit that I haven’t been out to the park to watch any of the open practices, I know which one of the two I’d release… and FAST!

Speaking of FAST, how about that 77-yard punt return for a touchdown by Brandon Banks?  NFL.com is going to want to get his picture, as I can see him definitely being a part of the team this year.  Undrafted out of Kansas State?  I don’t care where he came from or how he got here, I’m happy to see some explosion.  Something tells me that the more time he spends with Special Teams Guru Danny Smith, the more likely we are to see other long scampers resulting in some decent field position.

Going back to the running backs situation, Ryan Torain looked fairly decent in the game, especially with his 22 yard reception he made out of the backfield.  How about Keiland Williams, though?  Over 4 yards per carry and 2 touchdowns?  I’ll manage my expectations and keep from getting too excited, especially with the success by Marcus Mason in previous pre-seasons which didn’t translate into ANYTHING during the regular season, but it was nice to see that the Washington Redskins might have a couple of young guys who can perform without being paid like Pro Bowlers.

Obviously Chris Cooley got out there and did his job.  He’s likely the second best receiving threat the Washington Redskins have had during his tenure.   No catches from Santana Moss?  No problem, that guy’s the #1 receiver and we don’t need proof that he and McNabb can work together.  It should be assumed.

As for the veteran receivers, Bobby Wade looked decent, though I would’ve liked to have seen something from Joey Galloway and Mike Furrey.  All three of those guys have talent, but you have to wonder how much playing time they’ll get in the regular season, which will likely be decided in these next few weeks.

The only drawback to the fact that the offense was fairly potent is that we didn’t get an idea for what Graham Gano can do.  He was perfect on the 6 extra points, but how about some field goal attempts this week, eh?

I’m not going to say much of anything about the defense.  It’s going to take a little time to adjust to the new 3-4 scheme and for all the guys to feel comfortable in what their assignments are in a given situation, but I will say that for the majority of the game, it was a bend-don’t-break style that had the score 35-3 at one point.

While it was a fun game to watch, I’m not getting too excited over Friday’s game.  Heck, I’m not really even inclined to call it a “win”.  They did show the fans some things in the exhibition which should provide a measure of hope and optimism for things to come, but I don’t expect to see a score like that at any point during the regular season.  In fact, I would advise that expectations be lowered considerably with the Baltimore Ravens coming to town Saturday, August 21st.  That one’s not likely to be pretty.

It’s just nice to have football back on the field.