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Blognostications

2011 - Week 12 @ Seattle Seahawks

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Blognosticator - Walking Deadman

Blognostications
Redskins vs. Seahawks


The Redskins head to Seattle in a post- Thanksgiving Day weekend with aspirations to roast a fictional bird’s team in order to snap a six game losing streak. But it may not be as easy as it seems as the Seahawks have started to turn around their own franchise and are interested in extending their winning streak to three. CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field) has been a mixed bag of results for the Redskins over the past decade with the Skins going 2-2 there since 2002. The good news is that during that stretch they are 2-0 during the season with wins in 2002 and 2008. The bad news is that the last two playoff appearances for the team (and the only two in this millennium) have ended in this stadium. The first in 2005, where former Redskin Carlos Rogers was first dubbed “Hands of Stone” as he dropped an easy pick six (if only the Redskins gave him an eye exam when they drafted him) that could have altered the outcome of the game. The second was in 2007 when the ‘Skins rallied to make the playoffs by winning the final four games of the regular season. The momentum of winning for fallen comrade Sean Taylor finally ended in the first round of the playoffs at the hands of the Seahawks.

Most football aficionados will be skipping this game. Neither the Redskins nor the Seahawks are likely to have any chance of making the playoffs. Both teams are rather mediocre and there will be more entertaining and meaningful games to be watching for both playoff implications and fantasy leagues. However, this is an important game for both fan bases and the teams because of potential draft implications that could result from the outcome of this game. This is a “Suck for Luck” game so to speak. While neither team is bad enough to probably land the number one pick, both teams have a chance to land in the top ten. Both teams are in desperate need of a franchise quarterback and it is very possible to see the loser of this game benefitting more in the long run. At least the team with the worst record will have first dibs on the other QBs after Andrew Luck which may include Robert Griffin, Matt Barkley and Landry Jones.

When/Where: 4:05PM (EST)/ CenturyLink Field- Seattle, WA/ FOX (TV), ESPN 980 (Radio)

Weather Forecast: High 49F, Low 37F; Humidity 85%; Wind: 9 MPH SSW; showers (50% chance of precipitation)

Redskin Injury updates: Trent Williams (Knee), Josh Wilson (Hamstring), LaRon Landry (Achilles), Santana Moss (Hand), Maurice Hurt (Knee), London Fletcher (Ankle), Jammal Brown (Groin)
- Mike Shanahan announced that Trent Williams has a Grade 1 knee sprain and will try to test his knee out in practice, unsure if he’ll be able to play this week.
- Josh Wilson has a Grade 1 Hamstring strain and will also test it during practice.
- LaRon Landry may play this week in Seattle if he can practice.
- Santana Moss is going to try to practice this week after being out for multiple weeks with a broken hand.

Prologue: The Redskins played their best game since the bye week against the Dallas Cowboys. Despite coming back from two different deficits, the ‘Skins were unable to take advantage of opportunities and fell in overtime 27-24; dropping their record to 3-7 for the season. The Seahawks won on the road defeating the St. Louis Rams 24-7. The Seahawks are currently 4-6 on the season and are riding a two game winning streak after defeating the Ravens at home two weeks ago.

Rankings: Seattle- PPG: 16.8 (26th), Rush: 27th, Pass: 24th, RushD: 9th, PassD: 15th
Washington- PPG: 16 (27th), Rush: 30th, Pass: 16th, RushD: 15th, PassD: 11th


5 Things the Redskins Need To Do (Offense)


  1. Take advantage of opportunities/Limit mistakes - The Redskins lost against the Cowboys because they missed opportunities and made mistakes. Balls were dropped, stupid penalties were made, coverages were blown and field goals were missed. The ‘Skins don’t have the talent on the roster to overcome multiple mistakes. They need to play a close to perfect game if they are to win another game this season.
  2. Continue to score in the Red Zone - The Redskins were 3/3 last week in red zone scoring. That is amazing for a team that tends to move the ball between the 20s but then fizzles out as soon as they get into the red zone.
  3. More “Good Rex” please! - We haven’t seen much of “Good Rex” this season. Until last week, the only time I think I saw him was week 1 against the Giants. Last week we see a QB who made smarter decisions and better reads. Of course it helps if the pass blocking is good and if the Redskins can find some way to run the ball. This is nothing new, but you know what you’re getting with Rex Grossman. He’s a quarterback who can move the ball and make plays but can also make really bad reads that leads to INTs and will fumble when he gets hit. If Grossman can play smart and limit throwing into triple coverage the ‘Skins have a chance.
  4. O-line needs to continue to step up - I know the O-line is pretty much patchwork and walking wounded at this point, but they played rather well against a strong Dallas defense last week. Run blocking is still suspect but the pass blocking was overall good despite three sacks. Grossman had a pocket to throw the football and wasn’t hit on every throw. This gave the Redskins an opportunity to get longer passes off and convert long 3rd down attempts. It won’t be any easier this week. The ‘Skins are still using their 3rd string LG; Jammal Brown is still banged up and Trent Williams may not play. If Williams is out, look to Sean Locklear or Willie Smith to start at LT. Locklear has been inconsistent at best and Smith is an undrafted rookie free agent. While I’m pretty high on Smith’s potential, having him start at LT (I think he’s a RT in the NFL) could be problematic.
  5. Play to the talent, not the scheme - This past weekend was better than previous weeks because it seemed that in some cases the Redskin played to their strengths and not tried to do things that the Redskins eventually want to do but don’t have the talent to do them. They didn’t ask aging veterans to run deep patterns. They had them run routes in short and intermediate distances and allowed them to find ways to get open. Now personally, with the O-line being a mess and the RB situation struggling, it makes sense to me that maybe you dial back the stretch runs a bit and focus more or straight ahead running. Let Torain use his size to power through. I’m not saying go away from the stretch, because it sets up play action bootlegs but if they run it as much as they did in Dallas, I would expect a repeat performance in lost yardage. Granted Dallas has a better run defense than Seattle, but the Redskins still are having difficulty making holes and cut back lanes in the stretch.


5 Things the Redskins Need To Do (Defense)


  1. Stop the run - The Seahawks are not one of the most prolific teams when it comes to running the ball. Marshawn Lynch is averaging 3.8 ypc and Leon Washington is averaging 4.5 ypc neither of those stats are earth shattering but they can set up play action If the Redskins are unable to contain the run at the line of scrimmage. Lynch is a powerful runner who can break tackles while Washington is the speedier back that can be dangerous in the open field. Seattle has run for over 100 yards per game in the past three weeks. The good news is that the Redskins have improved almost each week in run defense since the bye week. Holding Dallas to 89 yards was the first time the Redskins have held a team to under 100 yards rushing since week 4.
  2. Get to the quarterback - The Redskins are tied for 1st in the league with sacks (31.0) which means that they can get to the quarterback a few times during the game. This can be critical in this game. Seattle has given up 34 sacks in 10 games. This means that the Redskins should have opportunities to sack and hit frequently QB Tavaris Jackson. This is important for two main reasons. First is that sacks will cause loss yardage and may force a turnover. Second is that the Redskins have really struggled with mobile QBs this season (Cam Newton, Mike Vick, Tony Romo, Matt Moore). If the ‘Skins can get to another mobile QB in Jackson early and often, he will be unable to run for a large gain or keep a play going for a big pass downfield. Key matchups to watch include Brian Orakpo vs. Russell Okung and whomever will be trying to block Ryan Kerrigan (starting RT James Carpenter appears to be out Sunday).
  3. Get off the field - The Redskins have been horrible at stopping third down conversions this year. They fail to stop 3rd down conversions 37% of the time this season. That’s not too bad actually but in the past few weeks the defense has been terrible. Against Dallas the Cowboys converted 47% of their 3rd downs. Most importantly, many of these 3rd down conversions were of the 3rd and 5 or more situations.
  4. Cover and Confuse - The Redskins have struggled in coverage for a good part of the season and it may not get much better this week. Josh Wilson may be unable to play so it will be up to Kevin Barnes and Byron Westbrook to take up the slack for Wilson’s injury. The ‘Skins may be better off trying to stay in more exotic zone schemes. This may help their coverage and confuse Tavaris Jackson, which you hope would lead to #5. Key matchup to watch will be Sidney Rice vs. DeAngelo Hall.
  5. Create Turnovers - The ‘Skins need as much help as possible and the best way to do this is by shortening the field through generating turnovers. Always easier said than done but it is surprising that a team that can generate so much sack pressure can’t force more turnovers.


Predictions


It’s hard to figure out the Redskins sometimes. There have been games that the Redskins should have a favorable matchup and then are unable to win said matchup. This could be one of those games. I don’t think that there’s much difference between the two teams here. The key may be the home field that the Seahawks play. CenturyLink Field will be loud on Sunday, just like FedEx was loud last week. They have a pretty good fan base that pride themselves on being THE 12th Man of football (although I think fans of most NFL and college teams would disagree with that statement) and love to make this stadium as loud as possible. The Seahawks aren’t a great team by any stretch but they have figured out one thing that the Redskins haven’t through week 11- how to win. The Redskins haven’t been able to win in the last seven weeks (this includes the bye week). The Seahawks have been able to find ways to win for the past two weeks.

This is a winnable game for the Redskins and if Seattle makes a few mistakes and the Redskins don’t, they (Redskins) may be able to pull this game out. That said I’m too used to them finding a way to lose whether it is from a penalty that takes away a score or big play, a missed FG, giving up a 3rd and long conversion or making a costly turnover that I can’t choose the Redskins to win this week. I hope they can prove me wrong.

The Redskins are better than a 3-13 team and there will be a game sometime this year that they finally figure out how to win a game. Maybe that switch will be flicked and the Redskins can start to turn it around with a young core of players and the passion to win. Maybe it will only be one game. But I do have a feeling that we’ll get to see at least one more victory for the ‘Skins this year, just not in Seattle.
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