When: Sun. 9/18
ET in Washington
Televised: Sun. 9/18
ET (DirecTV Sunday Ticket Channel TBD)
Satellite Radio: Sun. 9/18
ETT (SIRIUS Radio - Channel TBD)
Redskins Last Game
Redskins vs. Cardinals Matchups
Both teams are coming off a win. Redskins
beat the Giants pulling away from a 14 - 14 halftime tie. Cards
came from behind in the 4Q.
Our advice when scoping out the Skins: "Think
Denver." (Shanahan's the coach, and he's had a full year and a
half under his belt to mold the team more in his iomage.
The Skins remind us of us (sort of).
Grossman is playing like Kolb. They can run the ball a little
(though not spectacularly). Grossman has several targets he can
throw to (though not Fitz). Their defense is flying around and
making plays. They make plays on special teams.
can use the short-pass to sustain long, methodical drives. He had
a strong game vs. Giants (His average passing yards per attempt
was 14.4% vs. 11.5% for Cam Newton). If
their second echelon receivers (like Armstrong and Gaffney) can
maintain their high level of play, the Redskin receiving corps
(including S. Moss and Donte Stallworth) becomes pretty talented
and with decent depth.Their coaches love Hightower who, while no
Peterson can give the team consistent yardage on the ground. The
Skins are solid at both tackles, but not spectacular inside. Local
beat writers are signalling the transition from the Cooley era to
the Fred Davis era at TE.
They're making plays. Orapko can
bring it, and guys like Carricker and their rookie Kerrigan will
make plays. Their OK across the DL, very good at LB and very good
at all starting DB positions. But there doesn't seem to be very
much depth at any of the three defensive groupings and this can be
problematic in the secondary (where you need depth to deal with
They beat the Giants 28 - 14. Score was tied
at halftime, but Skins added 7 points in each of the 3Q and 4Q
while shutting out the Gints in the second half. Giant fans will
tell you that major mistakes were the reason they lost. Redskin
fans will point to "game-changing plays." Rex Grossman went 21 for
34 and 304 yards, 2 TD's and no picks, but lost a fumble (very
similar numbers to Kevin Kolb). Timmy Hightower picked up 75
yards and a TD. TE Fred Davis (5) and WR Santonio Moss (6) led the
team in receptions. Gaffeney and Armstrong caught a TD pass
apiece. The final Redskin TD was off a bat-down pick-6 by their
rookie DE Kerrigan. Leading tacklers were Doughty (10), Fletcher
(8) and McIntosh (7). They had four sacks - 2 by Neild and 1
apiece by Bowen and Carricker.
Quick down & dirty game summary:
The two teams exchanged possessions twice.
On the second Giant possession, Manning hit Nicks for +68 yards,
and on the next play, Manning scrambled for a 2-yard TD.
Giants 7 - Redskins 0.
Skins moved from their own 18 to the Giant 16. Drive stalled and
Gano shanked a 39-yarder. The Giants didn't do anything and the
next Redskin possession (which started at their own 34) carried
over into the next quarter.
An 18-yard completion to Armstrong set up a
one-yard TD run by Hightower. 11-play drive. Giants 7 -
The two teams exchanged possessions without incident. On the next
Giant possession(with 3 of their 8 plays involving passes of over
10 yards), a 14-yard run by Brandon Jacobs set up a Bradshaw
6-yard TD run. Giants 14 - Redskins 7.
Ball on Redskin 20. 2:48 til halftime. +11, +15, +39, +9 moved the
ball to the Giant 6 where Grossman hit Armstrong for the
game-tying TD with 0:37 left on the clock. Redskins 14 -
Giants 14. That was the end of 1H scoring.
Haltime Score: Redskins 14 - Giants 14.
Giants received, and on the 4th play from
scrimmage (at their own 18) Kerrigan tipped a Manning pass, caught
the deflection and ran it in. Redskins 21 - Giants 14.
Both teams' defenses stiffened, and they exchanged possessions
twice apiece to close out the quarter. Third Quarter
Score: Redskins 21 - Giants 14
Giants opened up the quarter bottled up on
their 2-yard line.They punted, and Skins started from the Giant
42, but Grossman was sacked fumbled away the ball. Giants took
over on the Washington 27. Their drive stalled on the Redskin 20
where Tynes' FG attempt was blocked. and recovered by London
Fletcher. Skins ball on their own 30. They drained 5:53 off the
clock en route to a 10 play drive capped by a 4-yard Grossman to
Gaffeney TD pass. Key plays during the drive were a 22-yard
completion to Fred Davis and (after a 7-yard completion to Davis)
a controversial helmet-led hit on Davis by former Cardinal, Antrel
Rolle (who came up to stop Davis who lay untouched on the ground
and could have gotten up to gain more yardage). Redskins
28 - Giants 14.
5:04 left. Giants couldn't get much going (Manning took a sack by
Bowen) & punted.. Redskins Drained time (& Giant time-outs) from
the clock and gave the ball back with 1:06 left. Nada. Game ended
on a minus-7 yard sack of Manning by Carricker.
Final Score: Redskins 28 - Giants 14.
Edited-down version of game-evaluation by Washington Post writer,
Ryan Kerrigan’s pass rush/deflection/interception/return for a
third-quarter touchdown gave the Redskins their first lead, made
fans stand up for much of the remainder of the game and showed
every clichéd attribute the talking heads have mouthed about
Kerrigan for months. Guess he really does have a good motor. And
is relentless. And never quits on a play. And just keeps coming.
... Kerrigan was the first Redskins rookie to return an INT for a
touchdown since Champ Bailey in October 1999.
Best Play, Part II:
Down a touchdown late in the third quarter, the Giants went for it
on 4th-and-1 from the Redskins’ 31. They didn’t get it. Former
Giant Barry Cofield — who some wondered if was too small to play
nose — was all in the middle of the jumbled line that stopped
Best Play, Part III:
Brian Orakpo blocking that third-quarter Lawrence Tynes field-goal
try was the sort of play that made that little pea-sized nectar of
hope in your gall bladder grow by another millimeter or so.
Winning teams block field goals. Losing teams run the Swinging
Gate on field goals.
Any play involving Reed Doughty in pass coverage.
Worst Play, Part II:
The back-to-back sacks of Rex Grossman as the third quarter was
winding down cost the Redskins 23 yards and destroyed what could
have been a game-clinching drive.
Worst Play, Part III:
Bad Rex, Bad Rex, Bad Rex. Getting sacked is one thing, but when
Grossman coughed up the ball early in the fourth quarter, the
Giants wound up with the ball on the 20-yard line. Those are the
classically wretchedly skin-peeling Rex Grossman plays that make
you forget all the good stuff. At least until the next Good Rex
Best Quarterback on the
Field: For all that, it was Grossman.
By a mile. His QB rating was 110.5. Eli Manning’s was 70.8.
My colleague Mike Jones reported that Tim Hightower, fresh off
making a 40-yard field goal during pre-game exercises a week ago,
drilled a 50-yarder this time around.
The Redskins’ actual kicker, on the other hand, returned to his
inaccurate ways. Graham Gano was one of the least accurate place
kickers throughout the 2010 season, and after hitting every kick
he attempted in the preseason, he pushed a 39-yarder wide right in
the first quarter.
The pre-game news that Giants’ defensive end Justin Tuck would be
sitting meant the team’s two most prominent defensive linemen were
both shelved. Not to be rude, but the offensive line hasn’t always
been Washington’s strength, and even without Tuck and Osi
Umenyiora, Grossman was sacked four times.
And yet the LaRon Landry injury may have been equally significant.
The game’s first big play, that 68-yard Eli Manning strike to a
thoroughly open Hakeem Nicks, had a lot of Doughty in it. The
Giants scored on their next snap. On the Giants’ second touchdown,
Doughty missed a tackle. Before the end of the first half, “Reed
Doughty” was trending on Twitter, the only Redskins player so
honored when I checked.
The Chris Cooley Era may be winding down, but the Fred Davis Era
appears to be off to a rollicking start. The fourth-year tight
end, whom Michael Lombardi recently described as a “perfect fit”
for Mike Shanahan’s offense, caught 5 balls for 105 yards,
including a huge catch late in the fourth quarter. It was Davis’s
first-career 100-yard day. Cooley had just two catches, and still
The Redskins offense came around, but the first two possessions
went short run, short run, incompletion, punt, and then
incompletion, incompletion, incompletion, punt. Although actually,
Eli Manning may have bottomed that by starting 3-for-11 passing,
with several balls that seemed intended for these really awesome
expanses of FedEx Field grass.
Mike Shanahan going for it all the way on 4th-and-5 early in the
second quarter. The offense to that point had as much forward
momentum as Reed Doughty running up a greased mountain while
wearing a parka. Then Grossman completed a 10-yard pass to Santana
Moss, and the Redskins went on to score their first points of the
season on a Tim Hightower touchdown run.
Washington was flagged for three penalties, and had just one
turnover. Glorious, glorious numbers, representing fair play and
justice and all that is right in the universe. Oh, and Rex
Grossman was the quarterback.
Giants had outscored the Redskins, 47-0, in the first quarters of
their previous six games. Sunday’s 7-0 first-quarter result makes
it 54-0 over seven games.
Best Unheralded Rookie:
How about nose tackle Chris Neild (aka “The Pocono Punisher”) —
had a sack and a half.
The Giants’ second scoring drive went 8 plays and 85 yards, but
the final two were the most demoralizing. First Brandon Jacobs
trucked his way for 14 yards through the center of the Washington
defense. Then Bradshaw scored from six yards out, with Doughty
whiffing on that final tackle.
The two prettiest passes from either team may both have been
throws from Grossman to Anthony Armstrong. The first went for 18
yards yards, and involved full-out airborne extension from
Armstrong. Then Grossman leapfrogged Armstrong’s head in the end
zone. The second, late in the second quarter, faded for six yards
and an exquisite touchdown in the corner of the end zone. Not bad
for a third receiver.
For the second straight year, the Redskins opened the season with
a home win over a favored NFC East rival. There are worse ways to
go into a work week.
08 Grossman, Rex QB 6-1 225 31
12 Beck, John QB 6-2 215 30 4
Grossman had a Kolb-like day vs. the Giants.
(Admittedly based on just one game) Pro Football Focus (PPF)
ranks Grossman #5 among all QB's overall. (Kolb is ranked #14). He
was tied for 2nd in passing efficency rankings (Kolb was #16)
despite Kolb having the gaudier NFL QB Rating(130.0 vs. 110.5).
Grossman is a good journeyman QB and perhaps underrated
(because, at times, he can do more than a journeyman QB is
expected to do). But he doesn't do it consistently and you never
know whether you're going to get the efficient Rex Grossman or the
Tim RB 6-0 222 25 4 Richmond
29 Helu, Roy RB 5-11 219 22 R
Torain, Ryan RB 6-1 218 25 2 Butler County CC
36 Young, Darrel FB 5-11 246
24 1 Villanova
45 Sellers, Mike FB 6-3 272 36 11
Walla Walla CC WA
Gone are the
familiar names like Portis. Former Cardinal Hightower is the new
bell-cow. The coaches like him (and Shanahan's system is said to
be very friendly to running backs).
Hightower ranked #38 overall among #48 QB's
evaluated by PFF. He ranks #45 as a runner vs. Beanie's #5
ranking). but ranks #4 as a blocker (vs. Beanie at #43)has been known to be careless with
the football and not lights-out when it comes to blitz protection.
Young is rated highly both as a pass and run blocker (tied for 3rd
and 4th respectively.
89 Moss, Santana WR 5-10 205 32 10
Armstrong, Anthony WR 5-11 185 28 1 West Texas A&M
Stallworth, Donte' WR 6-0 220 30 9 Tennessee
Banks, Brandon WR 5-7 155 23 1 Kansas State
Jabar WR 6-2 200 30 10 Florida
Terrence WR 5-11 175 23 1 UCLA
84 Paul, Niles WR
6-1 224 22 R Nebraska
Leonard WR 6-2 209 22 R Miami (Fla.)
Based solely on PPF's analysis of one game,
Moss ranks #10 among all receivers overall. Gaffney and Armstrong
are rated pretty much "middle of the pack." One thing that leaps
out at you is overall poor blocking by Redskin receivers (who rank
#74, #48 and #89). In the Giants
game, the unsung guys (like Armstrong and Gaffney) outshone the
receivers with the gaudier reputations (like Moss and Stallworth).
Which suggests that the Cards can't afford to double-down on a
featured receiver without risking being torched by one of the
Chris TE 6-3 255 29 7 Utah State
83 Davis, Fred
TE 6-4 258 25 3 USC
Logan TE 6-5 268 24 1 UCLA
It was Davis and not Cooley who stole the
show this past week vs. the Giants. PPF ranks Davis 4th overall
and 3rd as a reveiver among all TE's. The two of them make for a
solid TE unit who are huge contributors to the success of the
71 Williams, Trent T 6-5 318 23 1 Oklahoma
75 Locklear, Sean G 6-4 310 30 8
North Carolina State
78 Lichtensteiger, Kory G/C
6-2 292 26 2 Bowling Green State
58 Cook, Erik C/G 6-6 320 24 1
63 Montgomery, Will C/G 6-3 310 28 4 Virginia
66 Chester, Chris G 6-3 315 28 6 Oklahoma
77 Brown, Jammal T 6-6 313 30
69 Smith, Willie OT 6-5 310 24 R
Good on outside. Unclear how good
inside. Williams is their high 1st round draft pick. Brown is the
other bookend and a dominant run blocker. Neither was rated that
highly by PFF after the last week's game, (they were tied for #38
as run blockers and, in pass pro, Wiliams was ranked #40 and Brown
#52). Both teams' interior linemen graded out higher than
expected (Lichtensteiger and Montgomery rated #11, #19
respectively overall and Montgomery ranked #1 in pass pro, but
Chester appeared to be the Achilles Heel of this unit - ranking
#53 overall and #59 as a run blocker. I always feared Locklear when he
played next to Hutchison on the Seahawks and wouldn't be surprised
if he moved ahead of Chester on the Redkin depth chart.. Grossman was sacked 4
times by Giants.
94 Carriker, Adam DE 6-6 315
27 4 Nebraska
64 Golston, Kedric DE 6-4 310 28 5
Cofield, Barry NT 6-4 306 27 6 Northwestern
95 Neild, Chris NT 6-2 319 23 R
Stephen DE 6-5 306 27 6 Hofstra
93 Scott, Darrion DE 6-3 310
29 5 Ohio State
Of 30 DE's graded by PFF, Bowen ranked #14 overall but Golston
and Carricker ranked #23 and #26 respectively. Bowen did raise his
ranking a bit ((#11) in rushing the passer. Cofield graded out #55
out of 83 NT's overall with no redeeming features either rushing
the passer or stopping the run. Carricker was highly regarded with StL but never seemed
to quite emerge as a dominant force. Perhaps the change of scenery
will help him. Nield
had 2 sacks vs. Giants. Bowen
and Carricker had a sack apiece..
91 Kerrigan, Ryan OLB 6-4 267
23 R Purdue
97 Alexander, Lorenzo LB 6-1 275 28 4
White, Markus LB 6-3 266 23 R Florida State
Fletcher, London ILB 5-10 245 36 13 St. Francis (PA)
51 Fox, Keyaron LB 6-3 235 29 8 Georgia Tech
52 McIntosh, Rocky ILB 6-2 242
28 5 Miami (Fla.)
56 Riley, Perry LB 6-0 242 23 1
Orakpo, Brian OLB 6-4 260 25 2 Texas
50 Jackson, Rob OLB 6-4 255 25 2
PFF ranked Kerrigan #14 of 26 overall. (They ranked Orapko #18).
Kerrigan moved up in coverage (no doubt due to his bat-down and
Pick 6) to rank #3.
Solid first unit but a bit thin in depth.
Solid inside and out. Kerrigan (who's built like a prototypical
Pttsburgh OLB) made a name for himself with
the Pick 6 vs. the Gints. His opposite bookend, Orapko, is growing into his own as an
elite pass rusher. Fletcher and McIntosh ranked #29 and #30
respectively overall out of 45 ILB's. Both rated considerably
higher (#7 and #11 respectively) as pass rushers, but Fletcher
tended to excel as a pass rusher and defending the run while
McIntosh was stronger in coverage than as a run defender.
23 Hall, DeAngelo CB 5-10 195 27 7
22 Barnes, Kevin CB 6-1 190 24 2
Thompson, Brandyn DB 5-10 188 21 R Boise State
30 Landry, LaRon SS 6-0 220 26
Reed S 6-1 210 28 5 Northern Colorado
20 Atogwe, Oshiomogho FS 5-11 205 30 6
24 Gomes, DeJon DB 5-11 200 23 R Nebraska
26 Wilson, Josh DB 5-9 192 26 5 Maryland
34 Westbrook, Byron CB 5-10 201 26 2
The greatest disparity between the two teams (albeit based on only
one game) is at CB. PFF ranks Hall, Wilson and Barnes between #25
and #35 overall of 95 corners (compared to Jefferson, Marshall and
Peterson who ranked #56, #76 and #85 respectively). All three
Redskin corners rank in the top 12 as pass rushers.
Hall is a game breaker. Landry is due back (to replace
Doughty who ranked 77th among 77 safeties overall and near the
bottom run of the ladder in most categories). Atogwe ranked #19
overall, #33 in coverage and #10 against the run, but only #74 as
a pass rusher. Key to their success may very well hinge on whether
or not Landry can play (and for how long).
Graham K 6-2 200 24 2 Florida State
06 Rocca, Sav
P/H 6-5 265 37 5 Lakeside
Sundberg, Nick LS 6-0 250 24 1 California
16 Banks, Brandon KR/PRWR 5-7 155 23 1 Kansas
Rocca can boom 'em. His net punting average last week was 38.5.
Skins averaged about 10 yards per punt return and 24 yards per KO.
I don't know much about Banks as a returner.
Shanahan-coached squads are usually pretty good on special teams. Gano is not all that reliable.
Shanahan Head Coach
Kyle Shanahan Offensive Coordinator
Jim Haslet tDefensive Coordinator
Danny Smith Special Teams
New coaching staff marks an end to the John
Fox era. Rivera has a defensive background and was highly regarded
as a player and equally as highly regarded as a potential coaching
QB - 4 Kolb, 19 Skelton, 02 Bartel
Kolb has more than met his coaches'
expectations in the short time he's been a Cardinal. He's picked
up most of the offense and looks poised and accurate. We also like
his balll handling off play-action - he runs the misdirection
waggle and naked boot better than anyone I can remember - even
Josh McCown or Jake. Skelton has
a world of athletic talent and just needs more work, but his
development has been hampered by a high ankle sprain. Surprise of
preseason is Bartel (who has proved extremely accurate and
shares Kolb's poise in the pocket.
Some concern about Bartel's tendency to lose
concentration and make one or two major miscues per game that
costs his team points or field position.
RB - 26, Wells,
29 C Taylor, 46 A. Smith
Hightower has been traded, so the starting
job is all Beanie's. He looks more comfortable this season and is
running wiith authority more consistently. LSH plays the role of
passing-down scatback. Newly acquired Chester Taylor is an
experienced receiver and receiver out of the backfield whose
running yards production fell off a cliff under Mike Martz's new
system a year ago;.
FB - 435 Sherman
A rookie who was good enough to win roster
battle over Mau'ia. Main role figures to be as lead blocker, but
Kolb and Bartel like to spread the ball around
17 Stuckey, 85 Doucet , 12
WR -11 Fitzgerald, 14 S Williams,
Cards lost Breaston, but their
receiving corps is otherwise back and more talented than ever.
Doucet caught 3 vs. Carolina (including one long catch & run for a
TD). Stuckey is a FA previously with the Jets. I like Chanci's route
running, hands etc. as a better compliment to Fitzgerald ).
Roberts comes into regular season a co-equal with Doucet. WIlliams and Sampson
are both tall wide-outs who are still a bit raw, but who figure to
be phased in to play specific roles in certain game situations.
Fitzgerald (who signed a long term contract) is considered by some
to be the best WR in the NFL.
TE - 86
84 Housler, 81
Totally revamped position. Heap is one of
the best all-around TE's in football. Former Panther King is a
blocking specialist (who surprisingly outran everybody en route to
a 48-yard TD vs. Panteras). Housler has sub 4.6 speed, great
hands and can stretch the field. Cards liked Dray enough to cut
Spach and still go with 4 TE's on their Final 53 roste.r
LT- 75 L Brown,
, 73 Bridges
70 Hadnot (C), 76
Few changes on the O-Line except for LG where we saw the departure
of Alan Faneca and the arrival of former GB starter Colledge.
Deuce Lutui arrived in camp overweight and Hadnot is currently
ahead of him on the depth chart. Line coach, Russ Grimm is
counting on the additional chemistry developed thru keeping most
of the personnel on this unit intact, but I'm a bit wary of our
continued inability to effectively run block. (So far, at least in
preseason, our pass blockers have given Kolb and Bartel plenty of
time to execute. But that's preseason; we'll have to see whether
they can keep it up).
DE - 93 Campbell,
92 D Williams, 79 Carter
DT - 90 Dockett,
When they bring their "A" game, Campbell and
Docket are as good a pair of bookends as there are in the NFL.
Williams arrrived overweight and is playing himself into shape.
Carter and Eason (though lighter) are pushing him at NT. They
played well late in the game vs. Carolina. Card pass
rushers are doing a better job this season of getting their hands
up into passing lanes.
WLB - 55 Porter,
558 D Washington,
Haggans, 94 Acho
Most intriguing Cardinal unit. - full of
potential but also questions of whether or not that potential will
be filled. Biggest Cardinal concern is their pass rush (which
figures to come mostly from their weak side. Questions are: Does
the aging Porter still have enough left and will a healthier
Schofield be as explosive as he's expected to be? Inside, we have
an interesting 3-man starting rotation of Lenon (aka Mr. Solid), a
budding star in Daryl Walker and newly added Stewart Bradley
(Eagles) who, when healthy, can play at a Pro Bowl level. Acho is
a rook. Walker adds ballast inside.
SS- 24 Wilson,
FS- 25 Rhodes,
Apparently, the blown coverage - attributed to Rhodes on the now
infamous Cam Newton highlight reel - may have been due to A.
Wilson's not providing coverage over the top ("I got nosy"
Coming into preseason, the Cardinal secondary actually looked
overstocked due to the addition of high-profile draft pick
Peterson to play next to DRC. But DRC was traded for Kolb and
opposite starting corner (Toler) is injured and out for the
season. DRCe will be replaced by AJ Jefferson (whom I think
is almost as athletic as DRC but more physical a tackler and more
reliable and aggressive in coverage). Cards brought in veteran
Marshall (more of an "off cover guy) to replace Toler until
Peterson was ready to step in (& the Cards apparently decided that
PP21 is ready, because they just promoted him to start opposite
Jefferson). After the Final 53 cutdown, the
Cards picked up youngsters Butler and Lindsay to add depth at
P- 09 Zastudil
H - 009
Peterson (& his 89 yard TD
return) was the talk of Cardinal Nation after last week's game. Feely's new nickname should
be: "Mr. Everything." He accounted for 25 of the Cardinals' 43
points lvs. Denver. Ben Graham
was a maestro at dropping punts inside the 10, but inconsistent
booming long punts to get us out of poor field position holes.
Zastudil (who struggled with injuries the past 2 seasons) beat out
Graham and will now be our starting punter. LSH remains a home run
threat if they don't kick off far enough, and Peterson has
displayed the poise of a veteran (plus the home run potential of
Sproles or Hester) returning punts.
Washington Passing Attack
vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Grossman may be up and down, but he is a veteran capable of
exploiting his opponents' weaknesses, given the right opportunity.
He spread the ball around vs. the Giants - to WR's Moss, Gaffeney
and Armstrong; TE's Davis and Cooley and to his RB Hightower. Like
the Panthers, the Redkin QB's can be reached with pressure. The
main difference is that Grossman is no Newton when it comes to
mobility and escaping the pocket. Look for Horton to "bring it"
frequently in order to use the pressure to protect his back-end
(especially his inexperienced corners, Jefferson and Peterson).
While the Redskins have a multi-pronged receiving arsenal,
it is by no means as frightening - at WR, TE and RB - as was the
Panthers. One Hightower weakness may continue to be on
blitz-pickup. Look for Cardinal LB's and an occasional DB to test
this early and often.
I will be looking for signs of improvement from
Card corners, with one game's worth of tape for them to learn
from. Could be the key to stopping the Skins. Grossman likes to
throw screens. Cardinal OLB's and DE's have shown good
stay-at-home discipline in Horton's scheme to hold outside contain
Washington Running Attack vs.
Cardinal Run Defense
Redskin multi-back run offenses (a year ago, it featured Portis,
Larry Johnson and Willie Parker) it looks like it's going to
be "all Hightower" this year. It would be a mistake to compare
this year's THT 100% with last year's flavor, because the
Shanahan's zone-blocking, one-cut running attack figures to be
considerably more effective than the chronically anemic Cardinal
running attack. Don't expect Hightower to light up the scoreboard
with a bunch of 150+ yard games, but he will consistently get his
75 - 100 and score a TD or 2 per game. He's more of a slasher than
a thumper and is good at catching bubble-screens out of the
backfield inside the 5 and converting these into TD's.
From what I've seen from 4 preseason and one
regular season game. The Cards seem to employ a swarming (but
disciplined) approach to containing the ball carrier. They held
Panther RB's to under 50 ground yards a week ago. While Dan
Williams (when not out of breath) is a load in the middle, the
Cardinals aren't afraid to go with lighter NT's (Carter and Eason)
and to rely on the pursuit and discipline of their other more
mobile players to contain opposing RB's.
Cardinal Passing Attack
vs. Washington Pass Defense
Quite possibly, the Redskin "quartet: (of Hall, Wilson, the
returning Landry and Atogwe) will be able to contain Fitz, Doucet,
one or 2 TE's and Beanie out of the backfield. But what happens
when the Cards put pass catchers (either 4 WR's, 3 WR's and a TE
or 2 WR's and 2 TE's along with LSH ior Beanie) out in the
pattern? Washington's backup DB's are suspect, and Kevin Kolb has
seemed super-sharp in locating the open dude and then hitting him
in full stride. Look to the second-echelon reserves (like Roberts,
S Williams, Stuckey, Heap and LSH matched up against Doughty,
Barnes, Thomson, Gomes and Westbrook) to do the most damage
Key to Kolb's success will be pass pro and blitz
pickup by the Cardinal O-line, TE's and a RB. He usually doesn't
need a lot of time to deliver his 3-step throws. Kolb is also
surprisingly adept at waggles and naked boots off play action
fakes, but trailing Cardinal receivers must learn to do a better
job of getting open and allowing Kevin to turn lemons into
Cardinal Running Attack
vs. Washington Run Defense
Best Cardinal running plays last week were (a) Beanie up the gut
behind straight power-blocking and (b) Beanie on tosses getting
outside around 3 or 4 blockers sealing the inside. The Redskins
held Giant RB's to 73 ground yards last week, but the Giant O-line
was a bit beaten-up. Beanie picked up 90 yards on 14 carries vs.
Carolina. Cardinal run/pass ratio was close to 50-50. Expect this
to continue because (a) Wiz wants a power running attack to
be a growing part of the Cardinal personality, (b) Beanie is
beginning to run between the tackles "like he means it" (& with a
low pad level) and (c) the very threat of a run-game makes Kolb's
play-action passing work.
Redskins are solid in the punting game but suspect in the
kicking game and unproven in the return game. But they look tough
in coverage (holding the Giants to 10 yds per KO return though a
not-so-gaudy 13 yards per PR). They also blocked a FG and the
Giant kicker shanked another.
We're still getting used to Zastudil as a
replacement for Graham and aren't 100% sold that he'll be as
effective dropping the ball inside the ten while still getting
hang-time and distance on longer punts. Feely uncharacteristically
squibbed a gimme FG attempt, but hopefully it's a one-time deal.
Cardinal coverage teams were far from being lights-out vs.
Carolina but they did OK. Peterson's 89 yard return puts the
exclamation point on the home-run potential of our punt return
game when he's in there.
If last week was a any example, turnovers, runbacks and take-aways
could very well decide this game. You could say that - along with
Kerrigan's Pick-6, big plays by Redskin defensive special teamers
were the game-deciders vs. the Giants. Other key factors this
Sunday figure to be (a) how quickly our young players (especially
the corners) learn and improve from last week's experience) and
(b) how quickly our offensive, defensive and ST units continue to
learn how to better play together. It figures to be a close
game, with a few key plays deternining the outcome.