Redskins vs Jaguars: Keys to the Game
1. Run the Football:
-Last week Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr. ran all over the Texans in their 18 combined opportunities. The Redskins need to get them in the 30-35 carry range this week as this is clearly the strength of the Redskins offense right now. This has to be a bigger part of the Redskins game plan this week and if they can keep moving the ball on the ground versus the Jaguars front, it could open up some things in the passing game.
2. Protect RGIII:
-Last week Robert Griffin III was under a fair amount of pressure (some of it self-created), and the Jaguars are a team that likes to get after the QB (and are pretty good at it). The Redskins need to do a better job protecting Griffin and giving him more time in the pocket. For the Jaguars defense to function they need to get after the quarterback, so this will be a key battle that could determine the outcome of the game.
3. Challenge the Jaguars Secondary:
-The Jaguars have some good solid corners, but their safeties are young and inexperienced. Last week there were some break downs in coverage that can be take advantage of if the Redskins are willing to take some shots down the field. Not only were there some big plays that the coverage broke down for the Jaguars, but there were some opportunities in the intermediate (15-20 yards) area as well. The Redskins need to have more success in this area and need to rely on their talented receivers to make some plays here.
4. Eliminate the Turnovers:
-Not counting the blocked punt, the Redskins had two big turnovers last week. Though much of the focus is on those turnovers being inside the Red Zone, the biggest issues is that they happened in general. The Redskins averaged just over 2 turnovers a game last year, and were among the league’s worst teams last season. Turnovers were a big contributing factor to the Redskins 3-13 season a year ago, so they have to eliminate them if they want to start getting in the win column.
5. Sustain Drives and convert on 3rd down:
-Last week the Redskins just couldn’t sustain drives and only managed just 2 drives inside the Redzone. Last year the Redskins averaged 3.1 red zone drives a game and that was considered below average. Not only did the Redskins managed only 2 drives inside the Redzone, but they only had one additional drive that got into FG range (note this doesn’t count the big Niles Paul catch). The Redskins need to convert more 3rd downs and continue to move the ball down the field. Of course it would be nice to get some big plays, but one of the best measures of an offense is how they can sustain drives and their red zone opportunities.
6. Get Pressure on Chad Henne:
-Last week the Redskins really didn’t generate a lot of pressure on the quarterback and it made it harder to get some big plays on defense. Now the Texans did a great job gameplanning for the Redskins, but that can’t be an excuse for the defense. The coaches have to come up with a better game plan to generate pressure which will hopefully lead to turnovers and some big plays. The Redskins pass rush took a hit with the loss of Barry Cofield as he would do a nice job pushing the interior pocket, but they still have a good group of Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Hatcher that have to get going this week.
7. Eliminate the big plays allowed on defense:
-Last week the Redskins did a nice job on defense overall, but they gave up one big play that resulted in a TD and it put the Redskins in a hole that they couldn’t get out of. Now obviously the Offense needed to put more points on the board, but the Redskins defense can’t afford to give up big plays like that TD versus the Texans. The Jaguars will surely take a couple shots down the field, so the Redskins need to be ready on the backend.
8. Eliminate the Special Teams miscues:
-Far too often in recent years special teams mistakes have doomed the Redskins, and that happened once again last week with two major errors. The Redskins aren’t a good enough team to overcome those mistakes, so they need to do what it takes to eliminate them. This week it might not be blocked kicks/punts, but it could be giving up a big return or missing a key FG. The Redskins just can’t afford errors and need to play a clean game on ST.