-As the Washington Redskins found out last week, their star quarterback can’t make plays if he’s on the ground or forced to throw before he wants too. The Redskins have to do a better job of keeping Griffin protected this week and can accomplish it in three ways. One, they need to establish the run early, using some designed runs (particularly draw plays) that will hopefully help keep the defense honest. The next thing they have to do is too go back to more of a quick passing game. Whether it is quick wide receiver screens or slant patterns, the vast majority of throws should be quick 1-2 read plays, where the ball is out of there in under two seconds. Particularly if Griffin is in shotgun, it will be very hard for the Buccaneers to sack Griffin or get major pressure in under 2 seconds. Finally, the Redskins have to stay in to block more. They need to keep in either a back or tight end on every snap, and sometimes they should keep both in. With how dangerous Michael Bennettcan be, Washington should at the very least have their TE chip him as he goes out on his route. Yes it means the tight end won’t get a free release and limit his route tree, but it will by Griffin an extra half second.
-In each of the last two weeks the Redskins put together a couple drives that were near perfection. They would move the ball down the field so effectively that you thought this was a playoff caliber offense, and next to unstoppable. Unfortunately the majority of their drives they were not only stopped (as to be expected), but they were stopped after 3-5 plays, and less than 30 yards (usually it’s less than 10 yards). This is killing them in terms of field position, which is the last thing they need to do with their defense. Also, with the number of short drives, the defense can’t catch a break, further putting them in a bad position. It’s okay if a Redskins drive stalls out, as long as they can pick up some yards and eat some time off the clock to help out their defense.
-Look the Washington Redskins pass defense is really bad, and there isn’t much the Redskins can do about that. What they can do though is ensure that Josh Freeman‘s favorite target, Vincent Jackson is blanketed all day. Mike Williams and Dallas Clark are solid options, but have no where near the game breaking ability of Vincent Jackson. If they have monster games so be it, just don’t let Jackson be the one to beat you. Josh Freeman has had a number of struggles this year, so if the Washington Redskins can find a way to take away his lone bright spot, it could lead to some big plays for their defense.
-Tampa has tried to establish themselves as a rushing team, but it hasn’t worked thus far. Rookie Doug Martin has shown some promise, but he hasn’t found room to operate. The Redskins need to continue with that, and bottle him up. Force Josh Freeman to beat you, and force him to do it consistently in 3rd and long situations. The Redskins were very strong against the run last week against Cincinnati, but the week before the Rams were able to effectively pick up big yards on the ground. Washington can’t afford a repeat of that Rams performance if they want to win.
-The Buccaneers Defense could keep this a close game, but the Washington Redskins need to ensure that they have a larger lead than a field goal, as Tampa has one of the better kickers (especially from distance) in Conner Barth. Barth has an advantage over Billy Cundiff in both accuracy, and distance, giving Tampa a nice special teams advantage if this game is close at the end.
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