Redskins Keys To The Game

Steve O Speak

Stop Rashard Jennings: The Jags may be without Maurice Jones-Drew, but Jennings still gives them a talented rushing attack. If the Jags are able to move the ball on the ground it will make things a lot easier for Jaguars quarterback David Garrard. Not to mention it will eat up the clock and keep the Skins defense on the field. If Washington hopes to win they have to keep Jennnings in check and hold him under 100 yards.

Get after Garrard: I realize it won’t be an easy task with Brian Orakpo out, but the Redskins need to generate pressure if they hope to stop the Jaguars today. The majority of good pass defenses rely on pressure rather than talent in the defensive backfield, and that is where the Redskins are lacking (though a good free safety wouldn’t hurt). Last week the Redskins did some good things with their blitz packages, by bringing corners and safeties, but they will need to be even more creative this week without Orakpo. While the Jags offensive line isn’t great, they are good enough to stop 3 and 4 man rushes (esp. considering the Skins talent level), meaning Washington will need to disguise blitzes and overload the blockers if they want to get to Garrard.

Keep Grossman Upright: All-in-all Grossman did alright under pressure against the Cowboys. He did throw the one pick, but the fumble wasn’t his fault considering his offensive lineman blocked him into the defender. The Jags don’t have near the pass rush of the Cowboys, but the Redskins offensive line has a habit of making average defensive lines look like All-Pro’s. Washington needs to handle the pass rush and give Grossman the time to execute the offense.

Get Fred Davis involved: I would love to see Fred Davis have a big game this week for a couple of reasons. One he is one of this team’s best pass catchers. Two, Fred Davis will be one of your best trade chips this offseason, so it would be a good idea to showcase him to prospective teams. Davis does create plenty of matchup problems, so hopefully the Redskins have schemed to use him appropriately today.

Look Towards the Future: I know accusations of ‘tanking’ will be made, but those are just fans and analysts who don’t understand what’s best for the team. There is no reason these last couple of weeks that the Redskins don’t take a long hard look at some of their backups. The Redskins aren’t some team with a Pro Bowl player at every position. This is a 5-9 team, who has looked bad all season. Also this is a team that will (or at least should) experience a lot of turnover this offseason. I would say over half the players on the active roster won’t be in D.C. next year so there is nothing wrong at taking a look at some of your young guys. We already know Roydell Williams can’t play wide receiver in the NFL, why not give Terrence Austin some chances to show what he can do? Guys like Austin, Brandon Banks, Perry Riley, Jeremy Jarmon, Macho Harris, Rob Jackson, Kevin Barnes, need to see a lot of the field today (the good news is some are starting), so the Redskins can evaluate them for next year. One guy I’d really like to see is Darryl Young. I’m not a big believer in Mike Sellers having a future here, and would love a chance to see if Young could be counted on for the job or if the Redskins need to address that position this offseason.

Analysis: While the Redskins match up well against the Jags since Jacksonville doesn’t have a great pass rush and can’t defend the run, I still see Jacksonville winning this game. Although they are on the outside looking in, the Jags playoff hopes are still alive and they will be at home. While they may miss Jones-Drew the Redskins will be without a number of defensive starters including Orakpo and SS Reed Doughty. I think the Redskins might have some success early in the game and maybe grab a lead, but right now I don’t see this as a defense that can hold on for a victory.

Prediction: Jacksonville 27-20.

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