at least there won't be any of the "we had players suspended or we would have won" excuses if the Skins win . . .
at least there won't be any of the "we had players suspended or we would have won" excuses if the Skins win . . .
Maybe the team and fans won't be so angry with the players back!
Maybe the team will be over confident with the players back!!
I really think the Saints are in for a long year, won't make the playoffs, and are susceptible here in the opener. Unfortunately, I don't think the Redskins have the personnel to pull off the upset. Very concerend about the secondary and Haslett. If we see blitzes all day, it could be a very ugly game. The matchups are terrible on the defensive side, and Haslett has shown no noticeable ability to change his scheme or style of play. Blitz Brees and pay dearly, and I suspect Haslett will do just that.
The offensive matchup looks quite favorable for RG, and he should have a decent game. The team should be able to move the ball and score with some regularity. I anticipate a stronger run than pass mix, and think the team may run 40 times. I think Royster and Helu will get the carries in the 1st half, with Morris coming in the 2nd half. All 3 may get double digit carries, and RG will get a handful as well.
I expect Garcon to have a big game and make a few big plays. Minimally reasonable stats for RG would be 16-26 for 200 yards with a touchdown(really should have 2 here), 1 pick, and take 2 sacks, no fumbles. Anything less will be quite disappointing for me.
Brandon Banks absolutely has to make an impact in my opinion. He has only 1 role on this team as a return man, and mostly just as a punt returner. Figure that NO will kick off for touchbacks, and a Brees' offense won't look to punt much. Banks may only get 3 or 4 chances to make a difference, and he has to make it count to justify his spot. 10 yards for punt returns and 30 yards for kick returns is expected from a return specialist. Obviously, a huge play from Brandon could be a difference maker, and he needs to be one.
All in all, I think the Skins play a normal Skins game, which is give up more big plays than they make. They're never really out of the game, but never really a threat to win. Good enough to lose respectably, and will show that they have serious work to do yet.
Just wanted to throw out an opinion on Redskin schemes and matchups to slow down the Saint offense, and pull off an upset. It's my opinion, and some others, that football is generally won with just a handful of plays by taking advantage of superior matchups. Hence the importance of a Brady, Brees, or Rodgers. It's a team game for sure and it's 11 against 11, but games are generally decided by taking advantage of positional mismatches while limiting your own mismatches. Typically on offense, you want to match strength against weakness, and on defense you want to match strength against strength.
The 3-4 defense came back strong again in the early 2000's because Bill Belichick realized he could sign quality 3-4 personnel in the mid to late rounds, and to confuse the growing trend of spread offenses. The 3-4 worked perfectly as he got good pieces cheaply to fit, and he wrecked havoc on passing offenses with creative blitzing packages. The Patriots won all the time, and the NFL copycatted his defense. The Steelers have always played a 3-4, but it was BB who brought back the 3-4 with his winning and solid mid to late round drafting to fit it.
Well now the Skins have shifted to a 3-4, as many teams have, but guess what? Offenses have caught up and passed it, and the creative blitzes no longer work. The 3-4 and 4-3 are basically interchangeable now because most teams still use 4 men to rush the Qb. The problem with Haslett and his 3-4 is he is still playing that old style zone blitz which isn't fooling anyone, and most every Qb can now read and take advantage of that mismatch. Brees, for example, will chew that blitz up and spit it out 6 ways to sunday.
I was seriously hoping for a defensive scheme change this year, but judging the preseason, it aint happening under Jim. We'll see on sunday, but I am not optimistic.
Here's what I believe the team should do. I don't care what you call it, a 3-4 or 4-3, but Kerrigan and Orakpo should be on the line rushing the Qb almost all the time. Their advantage is in rushing upfield, that's the mismatch. When either are in coverage, the mismatch goes the other way.
Now, the Saints will throw 40 times a game, 65% of their plays. Many of those sets are with 3, 4, or 5 receivers. That means the Skins will need to play nickel and dime a lot. In fact, the entire league, minus the Jets, are going in this direction. Let's kiss the front 7 goodbye, and play a base front 6, with the current 4 linebackers and only 2 down lineman. They rotate constantly to stay fresh. Of course Kerrackpo are on the line always, standing or hand down, they sub in and out with Jackson and Wilson to stay fresh, so we have a 4-2-5 defense as a base. No longer are the front line only to take up blockers, but now to penetrate into the backfield and make plays on the Rb and Qb. And the team does not blitz, except in rare instances. The Skins should be able to get an excellent pass rush with this constantly refreshed group. The front 6 have to stop the run, and this is where Fletch and Riley should shine.
Against the Saints, we now have 7 defenders to stop the pass always. The back 7 play a mixture of man and various zone defenses with differing personnel, this is how to confuse opposing quarterbacks now. Haslett will need to rotate different groups in based on incoming Saint packages. C.Griffin should be matched up against Colston with safety help as he is the best physical matchup. Colston gets mismatches because of his size more than anything else. Wilson, as the team's best corner, has to go man against D.Henderson, and Hall goes man against L.Moore. These are positive matchups for Washington in my opinion. Brees looks deep first, so protecting against the big play is paramount.
The problem is going to be stopping Graham and Sproles. Bernstine, if he is even activated, is the type of player to man up with Graham deep. Bernstine is probably not ready, and the task falls to Gomes. Fletcher is going to have him short. Riley, as the best cover linebacker, will have to take Sproles. There are opportunities to blitz against Sproles with Riley only as that is a positive mismatch. In dime packages, mostly 3rd downs, Fletch comes out for Crawford. Crawford can occasionally take Sproles when he is in. Graham and Sproles are big red zone targets, and they will require man coverage with help. Need that 4 man rush to get penetration quickly, with decent coverage to turn 7 into 3.
The way to defeat New Orleans is to run the ball, control the clock, and make them settle for field goals. The Skins need to force at least 3 field goals from the red zone, and of course, they will need to score td's instead of fg's. Brees is going to get his yards and they will move the ball with relative ease, the goal should be to contain the big play, force long drives where a mistake is more likely. While that safety blitz may get a sack, or even force an occasional turnover, the big plays given up completely negate the positive ones.
I believe Shanahan will absolutely try to control the clock, and run the ball all game long. The key will be for Griffin to convert those 3rd and 5 or less into 1st downs. This is where his running should be seen mostly. Get the 1st, hit the slide, get a new set of downs and manage the clock. This is RG's primary function, secondarily he needs to throw a few deep balls and try to hit one, but at least keep the defense guessing. Garcon should have a big game as he has a nice mismatch, Moss will also have a nice mismatch in the slot.
Football is a game of individual matchups, and that is where games are won and lost. Minimize your mismatches as best as possible, and create your own mismatches to exploit. Haslett's defense would work if the team had true shut down corners, but they don't. He is trying to compensate by sending 5 and 6 rushers nearly every play. He thinks he is creating a mismatch. The problem is, that's a matchup any decent Qb nowadays will win more times than not, and elite quarterbacks like Brees will bury your head in your hands and keep it there.
My opinions only.
Some predictions for the game:
The Redskins will get over 150 yards rushing, split between RG, Helu, Royster, Morris, and Young. Probably will see a reverse or 2 with a receiver.
The team will run the ball close to 40 times, with 26 or so pass attempts. Some of the pass attempts will turn into runs for Robert to get to that 40.
The Saints will probably be the opposite with 40 passes versus 26 runs.
RG will complete close to 60%. I'll say 16 of 26. I'll give him 200 yards passing. I think he will get 2 touchdowns, take 2 sacks, and throw an interception. I think he will also get 35 yards rushing on 7 attempts. I don't expect much more statistically, but I certainly don't expect much less as this is a great matchup for him to have a strong game. Leadership, comfort, command, and resiliency will also need to be monitored. He should be ok there hopefully.
Garcon will be an offensive star with 9 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. The 3 runningbacks will each get 10 or so carries, with Morris being the 4th qtr guy. Moss and Davis will be moderately effective, at least converting some key 3rd downs. Skins should score at least 20 points, or this offense is not working. Saints are not good defensively, and there is no reason not to put decent points on the board.
I'm afraid for this defense as I think Haslett will bring the blitz early and often, sometimes 6-7 guys. It would be near miraculous to keep them under 30 points, I don't see it. A nightmare would be 40 points and that is a possibility. As such, I don't think the Skins can cover in this game.
I think Banks will need to make a huge play for this team to have a chance to win. The defense is all but sure to give up more than the offense can score, so it comes down to specials to make a positive difference. I believe Brandon will return 2 kicks for a 25yd avg, and 2 punts for 15 yards total. He's an easy guy to root for, and now is the time to shine, but I believe he will not be a factor.
Shanny and Grif get a free pass for this game as no one expects much against the Saints in their building. But next week is already a must win game against the Rams in St. Louis. Shanny has to win that game, and RG needs a decent performance here as well. Otherwise, this could get ugly and fast.
This game will be one of the few highlights for the Saints this year as they go 8-8 and miss the playoffs.
I really think the Eagles are an elite team, but the Vick question is too large to ignore. So I'll stay with the Giants winning the East and Dallas as a wild card.
The Packers and Bears make it, along with the Falcons and 49ers.
I'll go chalk and stay with the Packers all the way. But Dallas and Romo could be this year's Giants, and a healthy Vick changes everything.
In the AFC, it's the Patriots all the way, throw in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Houston, and Chargers. The Patriots should walk to the championship game, and only the Ravens or Steelers have a legit shot in my opinion.
Chalk says Patriots and Packers in New Orleans, I'll stick with it and go Patriots as Champs.
In football nowadays, it really is all about the Quarterback, the Head coach and his staff. Then sprinkle in a few playmakers on either side of the ball to help or hinder the Qb. When in doubt, take the team with the best Qb, HC, pass rushers and receivers. If I was going to start my own football team, I would take a Qb, DE/OLB, Wr, and Cb with my top 4 picks. Get studs there, and fill out the rest with slightly above average players to build a consistant winner.
Dale you should get paid for writing something that thorough!
I Think the only way we beat the saints at home this sunday is if god has the skins in the weekly office pool.
Best way to beat the saints and the only way the skins have a chance is to consistenly run the ball and keep drew breese off the field.