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Skins Secondary Is Primary Key to Success

The Redskins' secondary has been stellar. Unlike Congress, we can all agree on that. But to put it into sharper perspective, the teams they have faced this season are all essentially near the top of the NFL in passing offense.

New Orleans, the Week 2 opponent, ranks first in passing yards per game. Dallas, the Week 4 opponent, ranks third. Arizona, the Week 3 opponent, ranks fourth. The New York Giants, the Week 1 opponent, rank eighth. Philadelphia, Sunday's opponent, ranks fifth.

That's a tall order for any team and the Redskins have held all of those teams below their averages for the most part, and have limited the big play. That's paramount. The only team in the top five the Skins have not faced is Denver, and the Broncos aren't on the schedule.

If the Redskins are without corner Shawn Springs this week because of his calf injury, it will certainly make things more difficult because Springs has played like a lockdown corner since recovering from a nasty bone bruise that kept him out of the opener. Carlos Rogers is playing the best football of his career as well after having a tough time with Plaxico Burress in Week 1. Safety LaRon Landry has missed on a few chances to deliver his patented big hits, but has been very sound in coverage. Rookie Chris Horton and veteran Reed Doughty figure to alternate as starters from series to series depending on their performance.

"To me, it comes down to those guys taking personal challenges," said secondary coach Jerry Gray. "Like this past week it was Springs on T.O. It was like, 'Hey, you've got to get him. You know him better than anyone else.' The other week it was Carlos on [Larry] Fitzgerald and Springs on [Anquan] Boldin. So to me sometimes guys' games fit certain guys, and then other times we just play right and left. So it just depends on what we feel that week and we ask the players about matching up, and 'Do you want to match up? Do you not want to match-up?'

"So to me I think it's a tribute to those guys and what they're doing, because it lets me know that they're watching film. Because if they know that a certain guy fits their style it becomes a lot better rather than me saying, 'Hey, you've got that guy.' And that's what's happening now. It's a lot more that the guys are really becoming more in tune with what they're going out to do."

The unit may prove to be a little thin over the long haul - veteran corner Fred Smoot has been banged up most weeks the past few seasons - but its performance has been a fundamental reason for the 3-1 start.

This week the Eagles present wide receiver challenges that are different from what the Skins have seen thus far. For the most part, Springs wants to bang around with bigger- bodied guys like Boldin, T.O., Plaxico. Shorter, more elusive burners are not his forte and he'd be the first to admit that. I don't see him getting assigned to cover DeSean Jackson, the small, dangerous Eagles rookie.

If Springs does play, and the Skins match up, then Reggie Brown is a guy he's locked down on before. Brown beat the Skins in Cover-2 for some big plays a few years back, and I know he's a guy Springs wants to silence. Philadelphia's group is largely journeymen, like Hank Baskett and Greg Lewis, so it could be a case where they simply play sides and try to get Rogers on Jackson when they can.

Springs will return from Dallas, where he stayed to visit family Tuesday, a day off for the players. And by then Gray and the staff will have a firmer handle on their precise approach for the Eagles.

"The guys have to get their DVDs for this week, and we'll talk about it and say, 'Hey, look, what do you guys think?'" Gray said. "But somebody's going to have to get [Jackson]. And if they can't make their mind up, then we've got to say, 'Okay, this is what best fits us as coaches.'"

Jackson (5-10, 175) is leading Philadelphia with 22 catches for 327 yards and a TD. He has 120 more receiving yards than anyone else on the team.

...

With the Redskins at 3-1, the schedule suddenly looks a little different.

By Jason La Canfora  |  September 29, 2008; 8:36 PM ET
 
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Comments

Beat Philly!

Posted by: scampbell1975 | September 30, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Foist.

Posted by: gringoinmiami | September 30, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

First.

Posted by: dannythe357 | September 30, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Will Kevin Curtis be back for the eagles, and will Westbrook play?

Those might be the biggest concerns for this week. If Westbrook does NOT play, that changes things DRAMATICALLY, not that we all didn't know that.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | September 30, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

first?

Posted by: GintheAtl | September 30, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

1st maybe

Posted by: SAK2 | September 30, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Interesting, so the secondary gets to pick and choose who they cover? Well, the way our secondary plays most of the time, it seems to be working. Nothing wrong with taking ideas from the guys on the field.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | September 30, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Rookie Chris Horton and veteran Reed Doughty figure to alternate as starters from series to series depending on their performance."--Really come on enough already, what more does Horton have to do helping our team while Doughty is out there killing us to get the full nod.

Posted by: Stu27 | September 30, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I also like how the safties have been playing for the most part. They really give the skins some flexability as the safties have good range and very good tacklers near the line of scrimage. I'd think one stragy the skins can use against Jackson is to press him. I remeber one play in particular against the Bears where Jackson got pushed inside on his route about 10 yards, which lead to McNabb throwing an interception.

Posted by: TWISI | September 30, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Rookie Chris Horton and veteran Reed Doughty figure to alternate as starters from series to series depending on their performance."--Really come on enough already, what more does Horton have to do helping our team while Doughty is out there killing us to get the full nod.

Wow this is fun i can post this go back and read half the regular paper waiting for it to post. Then get the error message, repost it and read the second half of the paper. Great way to up the readership.

Posted by: Stu27 | September 30, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Brown beat the Skins in Cover-2 for some big plays a few years back,This week the Eagles present wide receiver challenges that are different from what the Skins have seen thus far


You had to go back two years to try to make your point. Please! Please! Ask to be reassign.

JM220

Posted by: icetotalpackage | September 30, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the skins use some press coverage against the Iggles WR especially Jackson. I recall him being pushed out of his route causing a Philyy int.

Posted by: TWISI | September 30, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I just want to elaborate on the tech problems. I know they're incredibly annoying (I think you all know how I feel about Loseable Type) and I've shared your complaints with the suits and the tech people. They all seem to think that the problems are registration-related and are looking at ways to reduce the delay. They've told me it will help them to know how widespread the problem is and if it happens every time you post or once in a while, so please keep us informed -- either here or via email. The Redskins Insider is very important to the Washington Post and we want to keep you happy and BYGO.

Thanks for your help on this. Tech stuff is no fun, but it takes a team effort to diagnose the problem completely, get it fixed and keep the readers as happy as possible in the process.

Posted by: Cindy Boren | September 30, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Brown beat the Skins in Cover-2 for some big plays a few years back,This week the Eagles present wide receiver challenges that are different from what the Skins have seen thus far


You had to go back two years to try to make your point. Please! Please! Ask to be reassign.

JM220

Posted by: icetotalpackage | September 30, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I just want to elaborate on the tech problems. I know they're incredibly annoying (I think you all know how I feel about Loseable Type) and I've shared your complaints with the suits and the tech people. They all seem to think that the problems are registration-related and are looking at ways to reduce the delay. They've told me it will help them to know how widespread the problem is and if it happens every time you post or once in a while, so please keep us informed -- either here or via email. The Redskins Insider is very important to the Washington Post and we want to keep you happy and BYGO.

Thanks for your help on this. Tech stuff is no fun, but it takes a team effort to diagnose the problem completely, get it fixed and keep the readers as happy as possible in the process.

Posted by: Cindy Boren
*********
It happens every time. Quite annoying.

Posted by: splitbill | September 30, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The delay in post times seems to happen everytime.

Hate to make this one dimensional but this game really depends on wether Westbrook plays and is healthy for them. When he is 100% he is the most dangerous player from scrimmage in the NFL. We as everyone have had problems getting him to the ground. Ankle injuries are big for him given his cuts and directional changes at such high speeds. We can match up against a Barber but westbrook is completely diffrent. I would feel much better if Buckhalter was starting. The way Philly is talkin he should be playing, they are saying the final decision to bench him against the bears wasnt made till 2 hours before the game, something to keep a close eye on this week.

Posted by: Stu27 | September 30, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I hope Springs can play as noted many times up here our D looks totally different when he's not playing.

Skinz (Someone took my handle.)

Posted by: Gweez | September 30, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Cindy,

The delay? It only happens after the 'Skins beat Dallas, and it happens every time. Okay, it actually started while the 'Skins were preparing to beat Dallas. So, if I were in charge, I would start by lining up everyone in Dallas and asking them what they know about it.

But, that's just me and it may be why no one has called to ask me to help with this problem. If you do need help, you can reach me at 1-800-CLU-LESS.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 30, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I've got to agree with Stu. Westbrook is the key to their game. Without him they are 1 dimensional. If we can actually tackle that guy we have a good chance. You scheme for Westbrook and offensively for their insane blitz packages.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | September 30, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Started the trash talking with my best friend in philly on the game last night while watching Pit Bal game.

First thing I said. Compared to the teams we played in the last 4 games your WR's are a joke.

Think about it how many of their WR's TE's would start on any of the other NFC East teams?

Posted by: alex35332 | September 30, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

It may sound a little crazy, but I'm thinking that if Westbrook plays, he's the man we match up Springs with. It's not really conventional to match-up a CB to a RB, but he's by far their danger man in the receiving game. Springs may be the only one with the quickness and strength to match Westbrook, and nobody else from the skins has been able to effectively take Westbrook out of the game. Rogers can handle Jackson, Smoot can handle Brown, Torrence can handle Baskett, Landry can handle the cover-1 responsibility, and Horton/Doughty can either be the roamer or clamp down on LJ Smith (if he plays).

Posted by: psps23 | September 30, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't dislike Jason Campbell in the least. I am very happy when he does well, and I root like crazy for him and every other member of the team.

All I have ever espoused is that we need to cut him loose sooner rather than later, if it looks like he is not going to be the QB for this team.

I will admit that recently, I have been pretty impressed with the kid. No interceptions, a 3-1 record, and some clutch throws and scoring drives are really starting to open my eyes.

Now, let's just see if this consistency can sustaint itself. Also, if and when we mak the playoffs... let's hope he doesn't pull a Romo.

Is that better?

Posted by: Sports_Guru | September 30, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Cindy,

The delay? It only happens after the 'Skins beat Dallas

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 30, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

So hardly ever then?

Posted by: SMACK1 | September 30, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

What a weekend!!! Obama beats the crap out McShame.... MD beats Clemson.... Redskins beat Dallas... Obama 55 McShame 45....
Redskins win division 11-5 babyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!

Posted by: BarackObama | September 30, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

So hardly ever then?

Posted by: SMACK1 | September 30, 2008 9:38 AM

Definitely a first for me, SMACK. I spent about three hours kicking my modem around the room and that hasn't solved the problem. Maybe it wasn't the modem but the mouse. Do you know how to tell them apart?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 30, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I've been complaining for the last few years that the skins need to start getting younger talent into the organization. I still think this is true (especially on O line), but I am seeing the advantage of having all these veterans.

The DBs are talking/planning with the DB coach on how they are going to cover each week.

An offensive lineman (Kendall) suggests to the coach to run a pass in to Cooley in a run situation at the end of a game, and the coach does it to ice the game.

Maybe this is normal stuff and our staff is just more open about it under the new regime.
----

Cindy - delays on posting occur on EVERY post and last over 60 seconds.

Posted by: kjhealey | September 30, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't dislike Jason Campbell in the least. I am very happy when he does well, and I root like crazy for him and every other member of the team.

All I have ever espoused is that we need to cut him loose sooner rather than later, if it looks like he is not going to be the QB for this team.

I will admit that recently, I have been pretty impressed with the kid. No interceptions, a 3-1 record, and some clutch throws and scoring drives are really starting to open my eyes.

Now, let's just see if this consistency can sustaint itself. Also, if and when we mak the playoffs... let's hope he doesn't pull a Romo.

Is that better?

Posted by: Sports_Guru | September 30, 2008 9:37 AM

Thats hardly true. You have said repeatedly that JC is too stupid to play in this offense and evrything you said about him screams that you don't like him. You never said cut him loose "IF" he doesn't look like the guy. You said he is not the guy and he never will be the guy. You backtrack quicker than a televangelist caught in a motel 6 with a $10 hooker.

"As for Jason, he will never develop to be an NFL caliber quarterback.

Posted by: Sports_Guru | March 17, 2008 02:56 PM"

"By the time these 5 games are over, Jason Campbell will be a footnote in Redskins history.
We will all be wishing we traded him now, while he had a little value.


Posted by: Sports_Guru | April 3, 2008 03:50 PM "

Unfortunately for you we have a Wiki that has some of your old quotes.

Yes, you have been advocating trade, but not "if"

You are a classic case for ITA and from here on out that's what you'll get from me.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | September 30, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Westbrook will def play. That's prob why he rested last game to be fully prepared for a divisional game.....

Re: Schedule - Let's not look to far ahead. (You might get giddy like I just did)

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 30, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I thought I would lookup the by game passing stats of the teams the Skins have played. Make of it what you will:

Giants
WAS 216
STL 260
CIN 289
average 255

Saints
TB 343
WAS 216
DEN 421
SF 363
average 336

Cards
SF 197
MIA 376
WAS 210
NYJ 472
average 314

Cowboys
CLE 320
PHI 312
GB 260
WAS 300
average 298

Posted by: kjhealey | September 30, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Nice way to call him out scampbell1975

JM220

Posted by: icetotalpackage | September 30, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

NOTE TO SCAMPBELL1975: Way to drop the hammer on the Sports Guru I guess he didn't figure you would have the sense to backtrack his old post and call him out,NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN ABOUT!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 30, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"Rookie Chris Horton and veteran Reed Doughty figure to alternate as starters from series to series depending on their performance."--Really come on enough already, what more does Horton have to do helping our team while Doughty is out there killing us to get the full nod."

Spoken like a fan. Horton also gave up the TD to Whitten. Horton is more athletic and spectacular and will become a starter at some point. Doughty is more experienced and steady. They are both playing, sometimes at the same time. Horton started this past week and got beat for a TD on the 1st drive.

The coaches get to analyze every play, many times. Coaches watch these guys in practice. Why do some fans think they can sit around on their couch and speak like they know more than the coaches?

Posted by: BigRich1 | September 30, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Campbell is our QB for better or worse. Right now it is better and we know what the bad and ugly look like as well. Should he keep progressing Sports Guru will get a big helping of crow. Zorn looks like he has developed a good working relationship with JC thus far and hopefully it will continue and flourish. Go Skins.

Posted by: splitbill | September 30, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Beep Beep from like 2 hours ago.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 30, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ph the Iggles!!

Posted by: RedskinWillie | September 30, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

first time post..long time reader.....great win which tasted even better with all the hype given dallas last week. The score wasn't indicative of the thrashing we gave them. In my mind part of that is due to the 3 man rush and prevent we went into at the end of each half. max gain dallas could of gotten is 14 points they got 10 and did it pretty quickly. Our defense is designed to stop the big play as it is so what was the point in going into a defense that plays to there strength.....all in all the growth from week one to now has been amazing and a pleasure to watch.

Posted by: myrtle_beach_fan | September 30, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

It's great that the skins are 3-1 but I still hate Danny and Vinny with their $8 hot dogs. Danny is milking Skins fans for every dollar to compensate for his history of overspending. Vinny overlooks Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson for useless Devin Thomas. Either Royal or Jackson could easily replace El as a returner and Thrash as 3rd receiver. Hopefully DeSean Jackson has an off day on Sunday.

Posted by: jercha | September 30, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Anytime Terrel Owens blows a fuse is good news. Great job, "Skins."

Posted by: nmg3rln | September 30, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Someone needs to create a RETRO 80s style GI. JOE COBRA Shirt and put the Skins Defense on it.

I just like saying the name of that formation...

COBRA!!!

Posted by: goosedude | September 30, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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