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    • 2014 Week 3 Redskins @ Eagles

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      Blognosticator - Special K

      Why hello ladies and gents!

      I want to start off by saying how honored I am to be given the opportunity to write a totally homerific Blognostication for the Redskins’ Week 3 matchup against the Eagles. While I read through and lurk on many of the BGO blogs and the forum’s football threads, and about 16 Sundays a year I’ve been known to lay down a string of expletives in the game day chat room, I don’t consider myself even close to being in the same stratosphere of football knowledge as many of the fine members on this site and therefore don’t post too much; I leave the advanced football analysis to the “pros” in this online community. So, to say it’s a privilege to be asked to write this week’s Blognostication is definitely an understatement.

      Now, before I jump head first into my eerily Nostradamus-like predictions of this matchup, I must first make a confession. I have to admit that when Neo sent this assignment to me last week, the first 2 thoughts that popped into my head were:

      1) Holy crap, he actually took me seriously when I said I would do this.
      2) How quickly can I procure a football expert ghostwriter who will make this Blognostication look legit and not like some blonde chick from California who’s never played football in her life wrote it?!?

      Unfortunately, the current market for quality ghostwriters is sparse and Sally Jenkins and Mike Wise were the only ones available. So basically I was given a choice between a crap sandwich or a crap burrito. Stuck in such a precarious position, I knew there was only one thing for me to do: put on my big girl pants and boldly go where few women have gone before --- the ultimate Redskins mancave of the internet---BGO!

      Before we even start in on the discussion about how Kerrigan is going to singlehandedly produce double digit sacks against a battered and suspended Philly o-line (oh come on, did you really think I was going to come off the blocks with anything other than something completely Kerrigan-centric, dripping with effusive praise!?!), let’s take a minute to reflect on this previous weekend’s game against the Jags. And when I say minute, I mean 30 seconds and I mean starting in the 2nd quarter. So, I’m just going to go ahead, take the initiative and fast-forward through the cluster of injuries and atrocious ref calls that comprised the disastrous 1st quarter because I am still having a very difficult time coming to grips with the fact that I AM awake and that WASN’T just a terrible nightmare from hell. However, just because the first quarter of last Sunday’s game can be compartmentalized and tucked away for retrieval on some rainy day when you feel like torturing yourself, it would be silly to completely skim over the bittersweet win that was so important to team morale and momentum.

      To quickly recap, Sunday’s game against the Jags reaffirmed several things we already knew about our guys, chiefly that our front 7 are a formidable force. I feel pretty confident when I say they not only proved that, they crushed that status by completely annihilating the Jags o-line, putting TEN sacks up on the board and propelling our defense to the top of the NFL leader board. Even though we’re only 2 games into the season, Jason Hatcher is proving himself to be an impact player and quite literally a game changer on the Redskins’ d-line. Trent Williams nailed it back in March and Hatcher is most definitely “Yess Lord!!” material.

      Amidst the overwhelming sense of despair felt by much of Redskins Nation when we all witnessed RG3 being carted off the field with yet another major injury (seriously, can this poor guy catch a break???), some rather unexpected surprises shined through. One surprise that comes immediately to mind was the “Niles Paul Show” --- 11 targets, 8 receptions, 99 reception yards and one TD (the first 3 of these stat categories being career highs for the TE).

      Alas, to those of us who’ve paid attention, or simply been alive and breathing during the Snyder era, it wouldn’t be an absolutely classic start to a Washington Redskins season without a fire being lit under a simmering QB controversy (at least among loyal Redskins fan message board patrons). RG3’s unfortunate injury during the 1st quarter provided the catalyst necessary to propel the “Cousins & Friends” battle cry to the forefront of this increasingly divisive subject. We’re all familiar with the “Cousins & Friends” group, yes, they’re the RG3 naysayers, the ones who’ve been shouting from the rooftops all preseason how Cousins looked sharper than RG3, how Cousins fit our offensive scheme better, how Cousins was the overall superior QB of the two, how Cousins consistently scored higher on Candy Crush than the man he plays second fiddle to on the field, and on and on and on. Well, these next several games, potentially even the rest of the season, Cousins will be given the opportunity to showcase his highly vaunted QB prowess.

      Fortunately, the limited regular season play we have seen from him has provided us a glimpse of what the future may hold for a Cousins-led Redskins team and it looks promising. In a little over 3 quarters of action against the Jags, Cousins effectively executed the offensive game plan by successfully targeting open receivers and (save the one sack he took at the end of the first half) displaying the ability to make quick football handling decisions by sliding or dumping the ball off when necessary. By the time Sunday’s game clock reached zero, Cousins had successfully delivered 22 of 33 pass attempts that totaled 250 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions.

      The bottom line is that in Sunday’s game, Cousins’ did what is expected of any decent backup QB, particularly when playing a relatively weak NFL defense: pick up where the injured starting QB left off, create or maintain offensive momentum, and steadily lead the team to a win. That Cousins performed well in these categories and led the Redskins to a sound butt whooping of Jacksonville should provide even the most despondent of Redskins fans a glimmer of hope. Coach Gruden’s vote of confidence in Cousins and public statement that the team’s offensive game plan would not change much with Cousins lining up behind center should assuage the fears of those few remaining fans who just “know” our playbook will be severely limited with RG3 on the sidelines. If neither of the above reasons can trigger at least sliver of hope…well, you’ve probably missed one too many doses of your Lexapro.

      Ultimately, the key to this game, as with all Redskins games, will be for our offense to establish the run early on. Monday night, the Eagles’ defense against the Colts proved vulnerable to the outside stretch runs and cutbacks with Ahmed Bradshaw and Trent Richardson regularly busting open with 10+ yard gains. With an Eagles defense ranked 20th against the run, establishing the run early on is not an unreasonable expectation and it will open up the rest of the field to the many offensive weapons we have in our receiving corps, including a “hungry” DeSean Jackson who expects to suit up Sunday to take on his former team.

      On the defensive side of the ball, the speed of the Eagles’ primary offensive weapons (Maclin, Sproles and McCoy) could present a problem. Obviously it is imperative our secondary keep these guys in front of them and be on point with their tackling. In his first game back from suspension, Brandon Meriweather is poised to be a significant contributor to our secondary as strong safety. Of course, this is assuming Meriweather can resist the urge to engage in more of his helmet-to-helmet tackling shenanigans, you know, for at least a play or two. On Monday he was finally able to return to team practice after his 2-game suspension and allegedly said he’s “humbled” this time around. Call me a Doubting Thomas, but I think I’ll wait to see if he is able to string at least 3 defensive series of play together without drawing a flag before I start to believe that. Finally, Foles cannot be allowed to sit in the pocket all day and just pick us apart. Fortunately, the match-up between our monster d-line and an Eagles o-line down 3 starters (Lane Johnson still on suspension and Evan Mathis and Allen Barbre injured) works in our favor.

      Final prediction:
      Philadelphia 17
      Washington 24

      * Kerrigan + Hatcher = 75 sacks

      *** I also want to give a big shout out to my good buddy, GMUSkinsFan (aka Slacky McSlackass in other places on the interwebz) for assisting me with the composition of this blog and always making sure I never strayed too far off the reservation when it came to some of my rather “amateur” football analysis.
      This article was originally published in blog: 2014 Week 3 Redskins @ Eagles started by Blognostications
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