Redskins have to take chances versus Seahawks

Washington Commanders Washington Redskins

A quarter of the way into the season the Redskins are at a crossroads. They sit at 1-3 overall, and 0-2 in the division. They are coming off an embarrassing loss at home against their division rivals the New York Giants and now face the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Monday night. If the Redskins are to try and salvage their season, they need to make a statement and find a way to either beat the Seahawks or at least surprise everyone and keep it close.

Now conventional wisdom says there are no “moral victories” in the NFL, but the reality is there can be positives taken from a loss in certain situations. If the Redskins go out Monday night and get blown out and look awful like everyone expects, it’s going to have a lasting impact on this team. Not only would it put the Redskins to 1-4, but it would be two big losses back-to-back which has a way of starting a long trend of losing. Not only can it cause infighting and questions lingering in the locker room, but it can also impact the fan base, and turn home games into more hostile environments. A close loss on the other hand in a game that the Redskins were supposed to get crushed in, can build some confidence in certain areas (both with the team and fan base).  It still hurts in the overall standings, but it maybe could energize the team for the next week.

The moral victory though is definitely secondary to the actual victory and that is why the Redskins need to do whatever they can to try to knock off Seattle. Everything needs to be on the table this week as they try to find a way to move the ball against the Seahawks vaunted defense. The same is true when the Redskins are on defense and trying to defend against the Seattle triple threat of Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin.

Offensively, the Redskins should try to show different formations and tendencies from those formations, than they have in the past. You don’t have a chance of beating the Seahawks on physical ability so you really have to out scheme them. One thing they can look to do is to stack two receivers on the side with Richard Sherman and run a route combination with one receiver running deep or on a post route, that will hopefully draw Sherman’s coverage. On the opposite side have that receiver or tight end get vertical in hopes of drawing safety coverage. That would leave your other receiver that was stacked on Sherman’s side in 1-on-1 coverage against either the Seahawks 2nd or 3rd corner, which should give you a favorable match-up.

Another way to try to get to Sherman is to continuously attack him vertically and alternate your receivers that are doing it. Since Sherman stays on one side, you can keep using different receivers to attack him vertically, in the hopes of tiring him out. Early on in the game this will mostly be used as a decoy, but as the game wears on, it’s possible an open shot or two become available and you can get behind Sherman for a big play.

Something that could help the ground game is running Morris out of different formations. Alfred Morris typically runs from 2 wide receiver sets or less, as 54 of his 71 runs have come in those formations. Morris also has just 2 carries on 3rd down so far this season. While Morris obviously isn’t as strong of a pass catching back, it becomes a tip off when it’s a 3 or 4 WR set and/or 3rd down and Morris is in there that is’ more likely to be a pass. The Redskins need to be less predictable and possibly catch the Seahawks napping, by mixing things up this week. Spread the receivers out wide and force the Seahawks to spread their safeties and corners (or linebackers if the Seahawks aren’t out of their base package) out as well. Morris is a between the tackles runner anyways, so taking guys away from the middle should be a win for the Redskins. Also, by rushing more on third downs the Seahawks may take some of their best run stoppers off the field in those situations. It’s not going to suddenly expose the Seahawks defense and allow Morris to put up 200 yards, but it could help him find some more holes and get a couple nice runs.

Defensively the Redskins need to take chances by forcing their secondary to win 1-on-1 battles and not drop everyone into coverage. That is no doubt a dangerous proposition considering how bad in coverage the Redskins have looked this year, but they need to find a way to get pressure on the QB, and blitzing can definitely help. It doesn’t matter how many people the Redskins drop into coverage if there isn’t pressure on Wilson in this game. Another thing to generate pressure the Redskins could look to do is at times mix things up with their pass rush. A number of teams (particularly 3-4 teams) will allow their right side rusher get some rushes versus the RT each game. Typically the Redskins avoid this, but it can be a good way to jump-start a pass rush. The Redskins can also look to have both Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan rush from the same side at times, putting a lot of pressure on the offensive line. Similar to the offense these aren’t be-all-end-all answers, but they can hopefully create some opportunities for this Redskins defense to find some success.

The Redskins all around desperately need to create opportunities for success in this game, and they need to be willing to risk some mistakes as well. This is not the type of game the Redskins can win by trying to play safe. They have to be aggressive (on both sides of the ball) and keep the Seahawks guessing. That is going to be the only way they can hope to knock off the defending Champs and change the story of the Redskins season thus far.

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