Keys to the Game: Redskins

Steve O Speak

1. Run the Ball Early and Often: Now this of course assumes that you aren’t 21-0 after 6 minutes, but the Redskins need to run the ball effectively today if they want to win. Now the Redskins tried this last week, running on three straight plays on their first drive and they had to punt, but they had to abandon the run pretty soon after (note* don’t run on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down on your first drive, it is okay to pass). Overall though the Redskins will need to keep the ball out of the hands of Chris Johnson and Vince Young if they hope to win. Also, for as bad as the defense was overall last week, the offense didn’t do them any favors by eating up clock, or giving them a short field. Now Ryan Torain is out and Clinton Portis is working his way back from injury, so Keiland Williams will need to do most of the dirty work (*Note: Please have 3 running backs active, it shouldn’t be that hard) but I think he is up for it. Williams ran hard against the Eagles and had the game been close, would have had a better chance to showcase himself.

2. Don’t Turn the Ball Over: The Redskins have been more turnover prone these last couple of weeks and it has really begun to hurt the team (although the 3 picks last week weren’t what cost Washington the game). The Redskins don’t have the overall offense that they can absorb a couple of turnovers and it not be a major difference. There inability to be a scoring threat on every drive, means they can’t afford to give the ball away at all. Also, their turnovers have given their opponents great field position, leading to a good number of points.

3. Try converting a 3rd Down: The Redskins last week were unable to convert a single 3rd down for the entire game, and are by far the worst 3rd down team in the NFL. The Redskins have to move the ball, but they also have to execute on 3rd downs if they have any chance of winning. Not only does that sustain drives and usually lead to some points, but it also keeps the defense off the field giving them a rest.

4. Get Fred Davis involved: Davis last season had a breakout performance for the Skins when top tight end Chris Cooley went down. This year though he has been largely overlooked. Yes Cooley is back, but there isn’t anything in the rule book that you can’t utilize both tight ends (note* to Shanahan and McNabb). Yes I know the woeful performance of the offensive line, means that Davis stays into block, but they still have to find away to get him involved. Davis could be a major weapon underneath, one that has the athleticism to pick up big gains after the catch.

5. Get pressure on Vince Young: The Redskins secondary is hurting with both Carlos Rogers and Laron Landry out of the game, so the front seven need to step up. You can’t really afford to blitz much from the secondary so your 4 man rush will at least have to try and hurry Young. Young, like Vick last week, can hurt you with his legs, but if you give him time he will find an open receiver.

6. Stop Randy Moss: It won’t be easy without Landry and Rogers, but the Skins have to shut down Randy Moss if they want to win. Big receivers have killed Washington all year (honestly they haven’t faired much better against little guys like DeSean Jackson), and with the injuries in the secondary Moss could have a field day. There is no easy answer on how to stop Moss, but I’d suggest trying to double-team him early and make some other receiver beat you. Hopefully Moss will be so frustrated that his own bad attitude will take him out for the rest of the game.

7. Contain Chris Johnson: You can’t stop Chris Johnson so don’t even try, but you can hope to slow him down, and that is what the Skins need to do. Part of it is keeping him off the field, another part is scoring to put more pressure on Tennessee, and the final way is to stack the box. By stacking the Box the Skins could expose their deep passing defense, but it is worth the risk to contain Johnson.

8. Play Albert Haynesworth: Haynesworth should be on the field for the majority of the game regardless, given his talent and ability, but that has to be especially true today. Haynesworth is heading back to Tennessee for the first time, and I’d expect him to be emotionally charged looking to play his best game. On top of that no defensive lineman has Haynesworth’s speed and ability which will come in handy against Vince Young and Chris Johnson. No he can’t outrun those guys, but he can help cut off lanes and break up plays. Given the Titans speed there is little reason why the base 3-4 package should be used (though given their plan for Vick I’m sure it will be) much since those guys can’t hope to contain Young/Johnson. The Redskins need to put their speediest defenders on the field, and that includes Albert Haynesworth.

Score Prediction: 31-20 Titans

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