5 Things I Want to See from the Redskins Today
Instead of “Keys to the Game”, I decided to change it up this week and look at 5 things the Redskins need to show this week to build on going forward. That isn’t to say the Redskins can’t win this game, because in the NFL anything can happen, but it is going to be tough and while you are trying to win the game, the evaluation process needs to be on going.
1. How does the offense function with Colt McCoy:
-Look Colt McCoy isn’t going to take over this offense and it is going to become the “Greatest Show on Turf” this weekend and it’s probably not going to be above average, but even if it gets up to an average offense that will be a massive improvement for this team. The Redskins do have some weapons in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson (Jordan Reed when healthy as well) and a top 10 RB in this league in Alfred Morris. Despite their offensive line issues they need to get these playmakers more involved. That comes from being more efficient on offense and putting these players in good situations. Colt McCoy is not going to cure all that ails this team and it’s not going to happen overnight, but if he can show progress with this offense then maybe he could be a stopgap option for this team next year.
2. Can Morris have a big game?
-One of the popular arguments to support RGIII was that his presence enabled Alfred Morris to have more success. Now numbers definitely back that up as Morris has played much better these past 3 weeks, but how much of that was Griffin’s influence is unknown. With Griffin out of the line-up, what will that mean for Morris? In some ways things could improve with McCoy at the helm if he can keep the Redskins offense moving. The past couple of weeks with the pass offense in shambles it led to a lot of situations where Morris wasn’t on the field b/c the Redskins were in obvious passing situations. That could still occur here if the Redskins defense can’t slow down Andrew Luck, but early on I’d imagine Morris gets a lot of work on the ground. The game situation may dictate Morris’s workload, but what he does with his opportunities will be key.
3. Can the defensive line win up front?
-With a line that consisted of veterans Barry Cofield and Jason Hatcher as well as younger players with promise Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins the Redskins defensive line was supposed to be a strength of this team. Unfortunately due to injury and ineffectiveness it really hasn’t made a big positive impact this year. Hatcher has been strong as a pass rusher when he’s been in there, but some nagging injuries have limited his snaps and he also seems to wear down in the 2nd half of a lot of games. Cofield has played just 80+ snaps this year, and has had very limited effectiveness when he’s been in there. Baker has been up-and-down this year and continues to look like more of a role player than a starter, while Jenkins has struggled considerably this season. This is the type of game the Redskins on paper should have an advantage as the Colts offensive line is pretty weak and missing multiple starters. Unfortunately the Redskins health is an issue as well. Both Baker and Hatcher are listed as questionable and though both are expected to play, how effective they are is far more debatable. If the line can’t succeed up front, it’s going to be a long day for the Redskins defense.
4. The continued evaluation and development of Trent Murphy?
-Trent Murphy has been forced into the starting line-up for ROLB Brian Orakpo and he remains a mixed bag in terms of production. He’s made a number of nice plays against the run (though some have been down field), and has kept up Orakpo’s ability to affect the running game on that side. As a pass rusher though Murphy has not done nearly as good of a job and almost never wins one-on-one battles. He typically faces the LT which is making it tough on the rookie, but if he’s going to inherit that role full time next year he’s going to have to show more of a pass rush going forward. It won’t be the easiest of tasks today as Andrew Luck does a good job overall of getting rid of the football and not being overly affected by the rush, but Murphy still needs to try to get in there and make some plays.
5. Growth from the young members of the secondary:
-A lot of people are excited about the Redskins pair of young corners going forward with David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland potentially both locked into starting jobs heading into next year. While it looks good on paper, the results on the field have been much more mixed. Breeland a rookie 4th round pick has been the better of the two and the one the Redskins should feel more comfortable about at this point. While he’s made more than his fair share of rookie mistakes, he’s also come up with numerous big plays to help balance it out. Given that he was already considered raw coming out and thrust into the starting line-up due to injury it is easier to gloss over any issues that he may have. Amerson was the more highly touted college player and the higher draft pick, but his results don’t match the hype. Despite playing a considerable amount last season and working as a starter all offseason, he’s making mistakes at a higher rate than Breeland and isn’t making the same number of big plays to counteract the negatives. It’s too early to close the book on Amerson, but he’s still very much a work in progress. Both young corners are going to have their hands full today facing off with Andrew Luck and this Colts passing attack. T.Y. Hilton is clearly the biggest threat, though he’ll line up some inside and may be matched-up with the slot corner on a number of plays. Reggie Wayne isn’t the threat he once was, but he still remains a dangerous option, and with his veteran savvy he could exploit any mistakes in coverage from the young corners. Hakeem Nicks and Donte Moncrief aren’t on the same level as the other two, but they both present their own challenges.