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What I'll Be Watching For -Trying To Stop The Pats

Any of you guys remember the final game of the 2004 season? Yeah, it was pretty forgettable as the season had lost its meaning, but the Skins did win, and, if you recall, Minnesota WR Randy Moss essentially quit on his team, shutdown in the game and leaving the sidelines before the final whistle.

Trust me, that game has been brought up around here more than once this season. Now, sure, Randy's effort may have a lot to do with the reality of that game (5 catches for 66 yards with 1 TD, while facing a bunch of young DBs like Garnell Wilds who were never heard from again in Ashburn), but he got popped around pretty good by the secondary and I can assure you they are harping on the need to be as physical with him as possible this week.

It is a primary point of emphasis and I expect to see a lot of Sean Taylor playing over the top on Randy's side of the field early in the game. They want to bang him around, knock him off his routes, try to negate the height advantage. Course, the problem is NE has a bunch of other weapons who can catch and run with the ball, but derailing this option in a key.

I don't see Gregg Williams blitzing much - Brady has like a 148 passer rating against pressure this season and plays behind the best offense line in the NFL. It will be more 3 and 4 man rushes - maybe more 3 than even we've seen the last 2 weeks - and a lot of Cover-2, with someone line Landry probably matched up on Wes Welker underneath out of the slot.

Blitzing Brady is just too dangerous to try very often and given the dire condition of Washington's offense, the goal again will be to eliminate any quick-strike scores and sit in a deep zone and at least make them earn their points with long drives with lots of plays and lots of underneath passes, where the secondary can blow people up.

The Redskins have done a great job stopping the run out of Cover-2, kind of look like the 2004 team in that regard, and Cornelius Griffin keys that. In this game in particular, getting a forward thrust from the interior of the line will be imperative. Guys up front have to win individual battles, and Griffin and Montgomery in particular - few guys are as potent when allowed to step up in the pocket - Brady and Manning are the best - and forcing Brady to throw off a back foot or before he steps up can be crucial to causing turnovers.

One play from last week that I overlooked far too much and went under reported on was the INT Fletcher returned for a TD. If you have it on Tivo, go back and look at Warner on that throw. Griffin had collapsed the center entirely, pushing him into Warner; the QB was trying to step up and throw but had to release the ball off balanced into an 8-man secondary; the pass was wobbly of course and Fletcher caught it easily.

That play got a lot of play in the video room and meeting rooms here this week, I am told, as an example of the kind of effort it will take this week. That's a tough chore - the DT is essentially running up hill for 14, 15 plays, with not much chance to get that push against this line, hoping that when he does get through, it can change the game.

The effort of the D Line, and the results this season, should give all of them hope that this is not an impossible mission.

The Pats have not seen this kind of speed and depth in the secondary in their previous 7 games, and the Redskins have seen plenty of spread offenses this month, though none nearly as potent as this one. Should make for a fun afternoon. If Double-G remains patient and stays away from too much Cover-1 and Cover-0 and the offense gives them any kind of support, I think the Skins can make this a pretty interesting afternoon.

Offensively, I'm a non-believer at this point. When I see this offense put together a 4-5 game run where it shows it can get in the end zone, and display some of the playmaking and swagger the defense exhibits then I'm sure I'll come around, and I know the injuries hurt, but somebody over there has to step up. This, to me, is a good game to get Betts more involved and let Jason Campbell go for the throat more downfield, but that's just me.

Casey Rabach's presence would be a huge stabilizing force to all facets of the offense, and I will be very interested to see what the Pats do with Asante Samuel - my gut feeling is he might be matched more on Randle El - and how often they bring the QB pressure. I imagine quite a bit, and some of those quick release plays from Cooley - where he lines up outside tackle, engages, then gets into the flat - could go a long way.

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 26, 2007; 12:15 PM ET
 
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Next: Rock's Out; Everyone Else Probable; I'm Off To Comcast

Comments

first!!!!!!!

Posted by: corey | October 26, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

2nd

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

third?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Awesome reporting Jasno - this is why you're the best reporter at this rag.

Posted by: David | October 26, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

great post!
lets shock the world!

Posted by: nah | October 26, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I am serving lots of Kool-aid at my house this week! I believe!!!


Hail!!!

Posted by: JC in NC | October 26, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I believe so much in this team that I staked my daughter's college fund on it!...Ridin high on $20...WOO HOO!!!
(we're goin in-state...so 20 should cover it, right?)

Let's shock the world indeed!

Posted by: waiting since '92 | October 26, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I guarantee a Redskins victory on Sunday.

Posted by: Jimmy The Greek | October 26, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Tom Brady should be a center for DC United. He is already skilled at slipping one past the goalie, then running away.

Posted by: Alexi Lalas | October 26, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I sent my daughter to school in her pink Cooley jersey today!!! Yep, she's drinking Kool-aid for lunch today!!!

Posted by: JC in NC | October 26, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Randy also had a TD called back in that game or he would have had over 100yds and 2td's. Plus he has Tom Brady throwing to him instead of the joker he had throwing to him last time. Culpepper should give half of his contract to Moss for keeping his fat ass in the league for so long!

Posted by: Pete | October 26, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

We're going to see this week whether this patched up O-line has any heart.

Only way the Skins win this is if they punch NE in the mouth on both sides of the ball. We need to show them physicality that they haven't seen yet this year. Put all the fancy route combinations and coverages aside -- this is still football, and the most physically crushing team usually wins.

Posted by: CMoney | October 26, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Looks like I'll be taking more shots this Sunday than Mark McGuire's ass.

Posted by: Randy Moss | October 26, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

O-Line showing heart? For what/who they are, dude, they're overachieving. Campbell was sacked last week how many times? Once? You have to give a little cred to the RedBirds' D-line, they totally do not suck. This line having heart? that's for the starters, these understudies showed their heart last week genius.

Posted by: Norman Einstein | October 26, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The bar better have a lot of patron in stock Sunday. I'm gonna need more shots than mcguires ass!!

Posted by: nah | October 26, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The undercard for this game is going to be a fight between Randy Moss' and Shawn Taylor's afros for undisputed league supremecy.

Posted by: Larry Merchant & Jim Lampley | October 26, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

We will win!

Posted by: Gregskins | October 26, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I remember on that Fletcher play, they only rushed 3 lineman and one of them (I can't remember who, drop into that middle zone where the MVP was looking to get a slant from his slot WR. That extra body in the zone gave MVP a hard look and he made a mistake on the throw. Unless I'm thinking of another play... I don't have TiVo and we returned our DVR to comcast because it was acting com-crap-stic.

I'm just going to sit and enjoy the game. No inflated expectations. No "we should win this game" attitude. If we win, awesome. If not, no one expects us to anyway.

Posted by: Dorf | October 26, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

A good/great defensive effort will not nearly be enough to stay with the Pats.

The offense must show up this week. They must play 60 minutes. To date, they have hardly done that at all this season.

Redskins must win turnover battle and TOP to stay close in this game.

Posted by: GAD | October 26, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Theres many reason why I want a win, but the reason that I have the most is that, if we win, everyone will be shook. Including reporters, teams, AND ESPN who never give us credit, EVER. Man this would be the equivalent to us beating Dallas in my eyes

GO SKINS!! and more importantly, the offense

Posted by: Burg w/ a U | October 26, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what if the mother of the QB from South Carolina hooked up with the QB from USC? What if they got married? Would would her last name be?

Mrs. Smelly-Booty

....And you all think Jason can write creatively...

Posted by: clearly too much time on my hands... | October 26, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to see how we stack up vs the cheaters. I think we have a fighting chance(any given sunday). I think my expectations will continue to grow as we get closer to Sunday. I'm so fired up already for this game!!

Posted by: nah | October 26, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Im drinking some kool-aid this week, I think our d will control this game, and santana will redeem himself.
HTTR
F the Pats

Posted by: SAK | October 26, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I would not say this O-line is overachieving. And I'm talking about the running game, not pass protection.

Run blocking is all about heart. It's about being more physical than the guy in front of you. That's why most lineman love to run block. This unit - the right side in particular - needs to get nasty. They need to get pissed. They need to get mean. They need to dig deep and run block with a purpose. To be successful at run blocking, you need to want to do it. When I watch this unit, it looks like they're afraid of run blocking.

Posted by: CMoney | October 26, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

NE has no real running game and we have seen that without Tom "no rubber" Brady, the Pats are an above average team at best. Here's my key to victory. Line up 3 d-linemen and drop 8 in a zone. Let's see Tom pick THAT apart. Why the hell not. I'd rather see them gain 200 yards on the ground than 500 through the air.

If that doesn't work, punch out the offensive coordinator. That'll fire the team up.

Posted by: Buddy Ryan | October 26, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

clearly....: how would the gamblers predict the game if they played? the trojans cover vs the gamecocks?

Posted by: nah | October 26, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Griffin is a great player when healthy. But the key to this game for the Skins on defense is Fletcher. As a Bill, he played against these guys twice a year. He knows these guys pretty well. And he makes the defensive calls. The other guy that mght be a big help is Caldwell -- why did we sign that guy anyway -- , since he was a Pat last year and might divulge or at least have some insights into what they do to.

Posted by: AL | October 26, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

CMoney, it's not about heart or I'd be all pro in the NFL. It's about talent and the 'Skins' o-line is chock-full of guys with all the heart in the world, just a notch lower in talent. That's why it can be said that they're overachieving. They are all 2nd stringers but now having to start, and they're protecting their QB. The fact is they are just not as talented as the guys we have out right now. Show some love biotch.

RU-DY RU-DY RU-DY

Posted by: Rudy Rudicker | October 26, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You questioning my heart?

Posted by: The Tin Man | October 26, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

NAH, impressive. You're thinking, I like that.

Posted by: Clearly.... | October 26, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope Randy Moss drops his pants again.

Posted by: Barney Frank | October 26, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Tom Brady is the man.

Posted by: Shawn Kemp | October 26, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Realist self: We have no chance, sunday will be depressing...no injuries

Delusional Self: We have a chance, were gonna shock the world. Sean-Tay for President!!!!!!!

Posted by: chris laRRy | October 26, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

We need every swingin soul to fight their guts out and play super smart in this football deal.

Posted by: Joe Jackson Gibbs | October 26, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

CL- I like delusional!! LL 4 VP!!

Posted by: nah | October 26, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

(Cont)

"hehehehh hehehehe heheheheh"

Posted by: Joe Jackson Gibbs | October 26, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Throw it to Betts and Portis. They are more effective that way than running the ball. Spread the passes around. You have a QB with the arm and generally makes good reads. He is decent in handling pressure and has even run a few times with some success. The run game isn't reliable enough to get you much of anything.

Let Campbell see if he can lift this team to a new level. I'd rather risk trying something new than go with running the ball, because thats just playing to lose.

Posted by: AL | October 26, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I'd see the day when the Washington Redskins had players names Landry and Dallas.

Posted by: Jack Kent Cooke | October 26, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Vinny signed Caldwell so it would take the focus off HIS eyes

Posted by: OC Skins | October 26, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, Caveman Sellers said yesterday that he thinks we have a great gameplan.

Posted by: Lisa | October 26, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Man, sometimes I wish London Calling could play both ways -- he actually looked pretty good as a ball carrier on that pick 6. Did you see the speed, and that move he put on the WR trying to tackle him? Has Portis actually had a carry that long this season?

I'm not that serious, but hey, just sayin...glad we went out and got this guy.

Posted by: RambleOn | October 26, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

No one on this planet is expecting a win. No one.

That said, why not take advantage of that situation. If the Skins are expected to lose - be creative. Here are a couple suggestions:

Let Jason Campbell take deep shots on first down. Put the Tarantula in the slot or split wide. Play Clinton Portis at nickel once or twice since he comes out of his cleats to hit people. Put in a bench warmer on the d-line and tell him to jump offsides and go kick Tom Brady in the nuts - who cares if he gets ejected. I love the idea of throwing passes in the flat to Portis and Betts so they can get a head of steam, basically, protect the offensive line from itself. On each of the first few plays on defense, have all 11 guys hit Randy Moss and pile on him regardless of the play. Do this to Brady also at least once.

These are my keys to this Sunday's prospective upset. Watch it folks, I think Joe Gibbs reads this on the crapper.

Posted by: FOREHEAD SLAP | October 26, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Theeesman said yesterday on the Riggo Show that Portis isn't acting like the #1 RB and that's his primary reason he isn't doing so well. I kinda agree to a point. He needs to start acting like he is #1 and no one can compare. He has seemed has lost that cockiness he used to display.......

Posted by: 4th | October 26, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Somebody help me out on here. Todd Wade is playing, right? Heyer will likely be able to go, right? They will have to put Rabach in that Hannibal Lecther thing to keep him from playing, right?

I'm not as concerned, at the moment with the health of the Oline as I am with health of Smoot and Rogers. This D fell apart last year when Springs and Prileau went down.

Bottom line is, I'd like to know more about who's in and who's not. I know they're not saying, but where are the "sources close to the team"?

Not hatin, just sayin.

Posted by: Larry Bud | October 26, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: madden sim of game | October 26, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I suck, majorly.

Posted by: Clinton Portis | October 26, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Dallas?

Dallas Sartz was cut at the end of the pre-season.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for this game!

Posted by: Theodore Huxtable | October 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

These are my keys to this Sunday's prospective upset. Watch it folks, I think Joe Gibbs reads this on the crapper.

Posted by: FOREHEAD SLAP | October 26, 2007 01:34 PM

Quite a visual of a laptop on St. Joe on a toilet.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

beep beeep

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

F Madden!

Posted by: CC | October 26, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I like tha part of the gameplan where LaRon Landry is standing in the slant route holding Stallworth's spinal column in one hand and lofting his severed head, dreads and all, towards the heavens.

"there can be only one"

...ok - too much Mortal Kombat for this kid.

Posted by: Dik | October 26, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Rudy --

You obviously have learned all of your football knowledge from Madden video games. Talent is only a small fraction of the equation. In the NFL, everyone is talented to a certain level. Akili Smith was one of the most physically gifted athletes to ever enter the NFL. But he had no heart to play QB in this league.

Fabini and Wade have enough talent to get the job done. They just need to believe -- as a unit -- that they can out physical the men in front of them.

Posted by: CMoney | October 26, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

beep beep..

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey CMoney, tell Stephan and Fabini that they are as talented as Yumenyora (sp?), Urlacher, that d-end in Indy, Shawn Merriman, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis etc..... Then tell them if they just "sack up", they can own them for a Sunday.

Posted by: Rudy Rudicker | October 26, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

If all you had to do in the NFL to be successful was to "sack up", I'd be in Hawaii every year holmes. Pardon the pun.

Posted by: Dirk Digler | October 26, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'd be there too.

Posted by: Peter North | October 26, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Taylor's afro scares me.

Posted by: Vanessa Del Rio's Bush | October 26, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I tried to kick LaRon Landry with a roundhouse to the cranium. Now my foot looks like I went on that ride at Six Flags.

Posted by: Chuck Norris | October 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Agree w/ your assessment J-LaC.
I would rather match up 4-6 DB/LBs on their 3-4 TE/WRs than go Cover 1 or Cover 0 and hope brady misfire.

The challenge of course is getting pressure w/ 3-4 D-linemen and stopping the run with those guys and have the DBs/LBs react quickly enough to stop one runner.

The Pats are smart though. If they get some traction with the run game, I can see the Pats surprising everyone and being fine with a 24-7 win, since our offense has been so woeful.

I think in addition to our D-approach, we have to take some shots downfield.

Posted by: Daddy-O | October 26, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

sean taylor made an incredible play batting down the ball in a one on one matchup vs moss that game...if u look up his highlights on youtube...there is a mix of his rookie season highlights where it shows him jumping higher than moss...and the one where moss caught a td he pushed taylor in the back and got away with it...

Posted by: jjmat84 | October 26, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

16.5 point underdogs, nobody giving the Skins a chance, all the fanatsy blogs say to sit every Redskin, including the defense.
This team is going to come out healthy and FIRED UP! Skins will shock the world!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: DanO | October 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Was there a Theo Huxtable sighting?? We just might have a chance....

I love JLac and appreciate all his time he puts into making this a great blog. But I have to believe that we need to blitz a fair amount. Brady is awesome, period. If we don't get pressure on him, he will dissect our Cover-2 like a surgeon. He might crush us anyhow if we throw the house at him, but we need to at least show him some different looks and be aggressive, be be aggressive, be be AGG-RESS-IVE. And totalyl agree that Saunders need to loosen up and put al 7,000 pages in play this week. Campbell throws a great deep ball. I'd rather take some chances and have a couple bombs picked off than constantly run, run, pass, punt. Set up the run with the bomb. Yes, I have been drinking Scotch today. "I love Scotch, Scotchy Scotch Scotch in my belly!"

Hail Ron Burgundy, HTTR!!

Posted by: LMG | October 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Jasno is right on, this will be close and the skins will win

Posted by: Negatron | October 26, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

silly me i thought dallas and the jets had the dumbest fans!!! but no along come you dopes from our capital. another reason we get no respect around the world. this kind of talk from a team not as good as dallas, or that team with forrest gump, at qb. it is easy to run your mouth when you play in the jv. league. when the pats get through campbell, even rex grossmann may think he has a future in the nf least. skins fans get the wife and kids out of the house, this will be ugly. pats-38, skins-9.

Posted by: pats fan | October 26, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

ah, an ugly American, I mean Patriot, sighting....have some class dude, like your team. Yeah, you guys rule. Act like you've been there before (which they have)....care to put your money where your big e-mouth is? I'll take Skins +29 for my car

Posted by: LMG | October 26, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

No need to come in here with that attitude.

Dumbasspatsfan says "what"?

Posted by: DanO | October 26, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Al,

I like your formula. Might you be Al Saunders in disguise? We are not a power running team with the current O-line. This zone blocking scheme is better suited for the quick /short passes to the RB's and WR's with a mix of runs and draws would serve us well. We haven't seen much of the WR screen to Moss that was so productive in 05' because our current line can't pull as well. So, put JC in the shot gun on 1st down, go 3 wide and mix things up. Even throw in some no huddle so there's no time for the D to substitute. Make old Brewski & Seau expend a lot of energy early. Then we should be able to pound a little bit in the 4th and go play action for the kill shots deep. Bellichek won't be expecting any of that.

Posted by: Gregskins | October 26, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

So do we know what JC looks like in practice in terms of down field throws? Does he make them? Do they practice that? Do they sail over the heads of the receivers in practice too? I am trying to figure out why they don't let him do it much in games.

Posted by: Patty | October 26, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Not to burst anyone's bubble, but the Pats do have a pretty decent running game. They lead the league in no. of rushes BTW. They're not just a passing team.

To the poster who said he'd give up 200 yds rushing for 500 yds passing, you guys may find yourselves giving up both. Good luck against the Cowpies, and as far as the Pats, here's to an injury-free game Sunday. If anyone can beat us it's Gibbs, but it's going to be tough to do..

Posted by: K | October 26, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Hilarious! - the people in the cubes next to me think I'm crazy.
-----------------------------------------
No one on this planet is expecting a win. No one.

That said, why not take advantage of that situation. If the Skins are expected to lose - be creative. Here are a couple suggestions:

Let Jason Campbell take deep shots on first down. Put the Tarantula in the slot or split wide. Play Clinton Portis at nickel once or twice since he comes out of his cleats to hit people. Put in a bench warmer on the d-line and tell him to jump offsides and go kick Tom Brady in the nuts - who cares if he gets ejected. I love the idea of throwing passes in the flat to Portis and Betts so they can get a head of steam, basically, protect the offensive line from itself. On each of the first few plays on defense, have all 11 guys hit Randy Moss and pile on him regardless of the play. Do this to Brady also at least once.

These are my keys to this Sunday's prospective upset. Watch it folks, I think Joe Gibbs reads this on the crapper.

Posted by: FOREHEAD SLAP | October 26, 2007 01:34 PM

Posted by: Patty | October 26, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

The hell with the Pats, enjoy the kool-aid, fear the Reaper, Go Skins!

Posted by: Bob | October 26, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I think we have a good chance of winning this one. The Pats have had it easy against a bunch of creampuff opponents thus far. No one has been very physical with them yet.

Posted by: DC | October 26, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Let the starters play the first quarter then play the backups. Like a preseason game. No season ending injuries to key players is a realistic goal for this weekend.

Posted by: Buzz | October 26, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

First let me say I am laughing so hard at some of the posts....The "suggestions" post had me on the floor rolling....I am sure bars in the area are expecting to make a lot of money for all the fans watching the game...I don't drink, but if it is a blow out I just might....My faith in the offensive unit is VERY low, they have not shown much (mostly WRs fault). I agree with Buzz since no one expects us to win, just act as if this is a preseason game...We have important games to play against the Cowgirls (twice), Eagles, and Giants...I think these games carry a lot more weight then this game.....I know some may disagree but I am about beating all NFC teams to ensure we can at least get a wild card spot when we finish 10-6 or 9-7.

Posted by: Redskin's Rose | October 26, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

You guys got your jocks handed to you by the greatest team of all time. On to Indy...

Posted by: Pats Fan | October 29, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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