Lions vs. Redskins
The Washington Redskins will host the Detroit Lions on FOX (Direct TV channel 712) at 1:00 PM on Sunday as the Redskins will look to avoid going 0-3 for the first time since 2001. Here are five things to look for.
1 – Will Robert Griffin III run the ball more? – RG3 hasn’t ran the ball once this year off of the read-option system that he was successful in a year ago. Earlier in the week offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Griffin both said that early deficits have kept the Redskins from being able to get to that part of the playbook. It’s highly possible that Griffin will get his chance this week against the Lions.
2- Defending Lions Receiver Calvin Johnson – NFL defenses have been dropping two safeties deep in coverage so far this season to contain the speedy Johnson, whose unique combination of size (6-5) and speed (4.3 forty) make him one of the most dangerous players in the league. It’s quite possible that DeAngelo Hall will be called on to shadow Johnson the entire game the same way he was asked to cover Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in the week 17 showdown against Dallas last year (Hall shut Bryant down in that game).
3 – The Redskins run defense will try to get back to form this week. – The Redskins were a top-five defense versus the run in 2012 as they only gave up 100 yard rushing games to three running backs all season. So far this year the Redskins have given up 184 yards to LeSean McCoy in week one, and James Starks had 132 yards last week against Green Bay. Opponents are combining to gain 201 rushing yards a game against Washington. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said stopping the run is the first priority Sunday against the Lions, and that task may be easier than expected with Reggie Bush questionable because of a bruised left knee.
4 – The turnover battle – The Redskins were third in the league a season ago in turnover differential (+/-) at +17, that basically means the Redskins had 31 takeaways (21 interceptions, 10 fumbles recovered) while only giving up 14 turnovers (8 interceptions and 6 fumbles). This year the Redskins are currently at -1 (3 interceptions and 1 fumble -turnovers….and haven’t had any interceptions but have recovered three fumbles -takeaways). The Redskins must look to get back on track in this category as a high +/- ratio normally goes to a winning team, in addition Washington needs to look to take advantage of any turnovers they create against the Lions by scoring in transition on offense.
5 – Who will kick for Washington this week? – Redskins kickers Kai Forbath and John Potter could both see action on Sunday. Head coach Mike Shanahan said earlier in the week that Forbath would test his injured groin out by Friday, Forbath missed his fifth straight practice by weeks end. If Forbath can go, it’s quite possible that he could kick field goals and extra points and Potter could deal with kickoffs. Forbath said the torque on the muscle is completely different during kickoffs, when a player runs up to the ball and typically kicks it as hard as possible. Placekicking duties would be significantly easier for him to handle.