This weekend when the Washington Redskins play host to the Philadelphia Eagles, it will mark the 155th time the two teams have squared off. It will also mark the first meeting between Robert Griffin II and Mike Vick, well if he can play that is. Vick suffered a concussion last week in the Cowboys vs Eagles match-up and will have to undergo a series of tests this week to even get cleared to play.
The Redskins come into this game after much needed bye week, they have lost their last three games, the Eagles themselves are in the midst of a five game losing streak and have a veteran coach in Andy Reid who is struggling to hold onto his job at the moment. SportsBetting.ag has the Redskins as a slight 1 and a half point favorite which reflects exactly what it should about this match-up, which should be a close game. It’s no secret that both of these teams have not played well this season even with the improvement of the Redskins offense, they still find themselves in last place.
The Redskins must follow the trend set by pretty much every other team the Eagles have played this year, put pressure on the Eagles week offensive line and contain Vick while putting hits on him as much as possible. There is a chance that Vick will not play in this game, if that happens look for rookie Nick Foles to take over the quarterback position. Foles looked good in preseason, but had a rocky start to his career last weekend against Dallas.
Andy Reid..Vick has “pretty significant concussion”. Vick will not be back to practice on Wednesday.
The Redskins defense needs to find a way to step things up in this game and contain not only Vick, but LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson as well. The Eagles have weapons, they just seem to be having issues using them. Almost certainly the Eagles will focus the majority of their attention on Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin has the ability to take games over and no one knows mobile quarterbacks better than Andy Reid, although Reid has never faced or coached a player quite like RGIII who can throw like a top tier qb, as well as run like wide receiver.
Brandon Meriweather is expected to make his regular season, Redskins debut. Meriweather may not single handily change things, but at this point the Redskins will take any help he can give to the porous secondary.
With the current state of the NFC East having the Giants (who have lost 2 straight and have a tough schedule left) at 6-4, the Cowboys at 4-5 and the Eagles and Skins at 3-6, no one is out of contention quite yet. Although the losing team from this game can almost certainly start thinking about next year.
Beck looks to show everyone just what kind of qb he is.
The Redskins head south this weekend and will square off against rookie phenom, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Don’t be fooled by the Panthers 1-5 record as they have been in the game late in almost everyone of their games this year. The Panthers field a team that has lost 6 out of 22 starters on the team since the beginning of the season and just recently lost starting right tackle Jeff Otah for the season.
The Panthers have a set of decent ends on defense in Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, Johnson has 5 sacks on the season thus far. They are susceptible to the run as they rank 31st in the NFL in run defense giving up over 140 yards per game.
The Redskins need to return to the basics that got them to 3-1, and that is just plain running the ball and playing hard nosed defense. The fact that two Redskin offensive lineman are out this week (Trent Williams, high ankle sprain-Lichenstager-Torn MCL/ACL) could lead to newly appointed starting qb John Beck having to make quicker decisions and will possibly have to escape the pocket often. John Beck is a lot more mobile than Rex Grossman so I feel a little more comfortable knowing that and I also believe that Beck cannot do any worse than Rex did against the Eagles.
Nobody can be completely sure with Mike Shanahan when it comes to who he will go with a running back, but I would be willing to say that Ryan Torain will more than likely get the majority of the carries on Sunday, but Tim Hightower and Roy Helu are likely to get some carries as well. Much of that depends on how well Sean Locklear and Erik Cook do as they both make their first starts as Redskins this week on the offensive line. Will Montgomery will be starting at left guard and Cook will slide into the starting center position, the shift didn’t look all that bad last weekend against a better defensive unit.
Last but most certainly not least, the offensive play calling needs to maintain the goal of establishing the running game and using the passing game to create the run. Throwing the ball on 3 and 1 may be unorthodox and harder to defend, but it sure is easier to get a first down running the ball forward and not taking chances.
The Panthers offense can be high-octane and is guided by rookie sensation Cam Newton. Newton is a dual threat qb much like Mike Vick and has the ability to tear defenses apart. The Redskins have to get pressure on him early and often and try to contain him and make him make mistakes(which he leads the NFL in interceptions as of this week). The Panthers have a good set of running backs as well as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart make up one of the best running back tandems in the league, and also have a high skilled playmaker in Steve Smith lining up at wideout who has the ability to change games by himself.
This is going to be a game that has to be won in the trenches…
This weekend when the Washington Redskins host the Arizona Cardinals it will be the 120th time the two have played. The last time these two teams met the Redskins won on a late pass by Jason Campbell to Santana Moss, nearly 3 years ago. Much has changed on both teams since then. The Redskins only have a hand-full of players left from that 2008 team and the Cardinals no longer have Anquan Boldin or Kurt Warner. Both teams had tough years last season as well finishing in last place in their respective divisions but have reasons to believe the future is bright and both teams started the 2011 season off with a win.
The Cardinals faced a rookie led Carolina Panthers team who threw on their secondary for much of the game as Arizona game-planned to stop the run. Kevin Kolb threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in his debut for the Cardinals. On the other hand the Redskins snapped their six game losing streak to the New York Giants in week 1 with a win, Rex Grossman threw for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns and looked like a seasoned veteran in what is his third year in the Shanahan system.
Tim Hightower will be playing the team that traded him away for backup defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday and a conditional draft pick and looks to show them they made a mistake. With the amount of things Hightower can tell the Redskins players and coaching staff and the energy he is sure to bring to the field, I look for the Redskins to look to expose weaknesses and continue with their commitment to running the ball more. There should be some nice match-ups in this game as DeAngelo Hall will probably line up most of the game in front of Larry Fitzgerald and Santana Moss will more than likely line up against Patrick Peterson for most of the game. Look for Hall to get some opportunities at his first interception of the season as I believe that Kolb will try to force the ball to his side on multiple occasions.
The key to this game remains the same as it did for the Redskins in week 1, win the battle in the trenches. The offensive line needs to continue to improve and the defense needs to pressure Kevin Kolb into making mistakes. I expect field position to play a factor in this game as well and both teams have good returners.
We are coming down the stretch run now in the preseason as the Redskins are slated to face the Tampa Bay Bucs on Thursday night in what will be the final preseason game.
Some may think the coaches already pretty much know who is going to make the team, some may think that a lot of the positions are still up for grabs. The truth will not be known for a few more days but when the smoke clears, Washington will be poised to prove some doubters wrong this season. That being said, everyone should still be focused on the offensive line play in these games as it cannot be anymore true that as they go this season, the Redskins will follow. The game against Tampa Bay will be the first time Ryan Torain will see action this preseason as he is coming back to find himself caught in the middle of an all of a sudden, deep backfield. Tim Hightower has been looking like a natural fit in Mike Shanahans system this preseason and rookie running backs Evan Royster and Roy Helu have been showing sparks as well.
Brandon Banks will be seeing playing time for the first time since the first preseason game. The only thing in my eyes that may hold Banks back from making the team this year is his nagging knee injury and the fact that he isn’t a guy who can play wide receiver like some of the guys he is in competition with.
Some question marks that I have include, just how hurt is Laron Landry? Will he be ready for week 1? If Laron can’t go week 1 against the Giants then Reed Doughty looks to be the guy who will have to step in at strong safety.
This game will probably be a game we see a lot of John Beck in, I for one want to see as much out of him as we possibly can. The thing about the Beck vs Grossman qb battle is that we all know what Rex brings to the table as most of us have seen him try to force the issue in close games and turn the ball over, but little is known about just how John Beck will react to those same situations. It has appeared that the offense looks energized when he is on the field this preseason and he appears to know the system rather well, Rex has also looked rather impressive for the most part this year and has played like a solid veteran, which is going to make the decision on who starts this year a very difficult call.
The strength of the Redskins this year will most certainly come from the defensive side of the ball and this last preseason game may prove to be a make or break moment for some of the rookies who are trying to make the roster. Should be interesting who steps into Jarvis Jenkins role now that he is out for the season with a torn ACL.
One thing is for certain, it’s time for a some guys to step up in this last preseason game if they want to make the 53 man roster this year.