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2013 - Week 3 vs Detroit Lions

Blognosticator - Fear the Spear

This week’s opponent, the Detroit Lions had the “Cards” stacked against them this past week….in the form of the Arizona Cards.
Now the Redskins have the “cards” stacked against them… the form of the Detroit Lions, along with their other enemy…..themselves.

Let’s start with the enemy named the Lions.
The Lions are very interesting and balanced bunch. They have an excellent combination of young, rising stars, such as Stafford, Johnson, and Suh, mixed in with some experienced and wise veterans, seeing that they have recently added established ballers like Glover Quin, Reggie Bush, Israel Idonije, Jason Jones, and Rashean Mathis.

Now let’s talk about this guy named Calvin Johnson, who many believe is the best receiver in the league, and who this past week went up against, who many believe is the best CB in the league : Patrick Peterson. One would expect that when a Best vs Best competition heats up, that it’s going to be “close”. But it wasn’t. Johnson even dominated Peterson. This does not bode well for us, especially considering our “other enemy”, which exists in the form of our own Redskins’ secondary. No doubt, CJ must be licking his chops at the sight of our secondary which allowed record numbers, along with some atrocious tackling in the first two games. And of course we can’t solely focus on Johnson, as side-kick Nate Burleson is another valid threat, even at age 32.

Then there’s the “still-potent” Reggie Bush. And although he may or may not play Sunday due to injury - will it really matter for our Rush Defense ? As we’ve seen, even backup running-backs have been trucking over us, as if we were roadkill.

So far, my emphasis has been our defense. And of course, the Redskins’ problems are much deeper and more complicated than that. But we can only speculate how much of that poor defensive play, has to do with our anemic offense, that has been unable to generate any decent, early drives. Naturally, that puts the defense back on the field, far too quickly, and “gasses them out” before they have a chance to recover. But the defense has actually played fairly well, in the very early parts of both the Philly and Packer games, (creating the turnover and score against Philly, and a few sacks against Green Bay) until they had to be marched back onto the field repeatedly, with nary a breather. Hence, the domino effect. And we probably won’t know how much of the defense’s poor performance is connected to the offense’s, until the offense actually generates some fairly decent and early drives.

The other thing that is causing much speculation is, whether RG3’s drop-off in play is due to rust, or a knee that is not close to 100%, or perhaps that apparently cumbersome knee-brace he is wearing. Of course, all 3 of those are probably a factor somewhat, but to what extent ? The year 2012 was the year of RG3. But the year 2013 has become the year of RG-Knee. As everyone knows, the success of this team as a whole, hinges on the RG3 getting back to the RG3 of old. But what NOT everyone knows, and perhaps no-one knows, is how long it will take for RG3 to get back to that level, if in fact he does. What we do know however, is that RG3 was able to manage a respectable comeback in each of the first 2 games which began as blow-outs, albeit those comebacks fell short, and were against somewhat softened defenses. But the key thing to note here, is that this is an indication that he may be suffering more from rust, rather than from a weakened knee. If his drop in performance was completely due to a banged up knee, I don’t think you would have seen anything close to the 2nd half comebacks in each of the first 2 games, even if you do consider it “garbage time”

So, now that we’ve covered enough bad news, regarding both our difficult opponent, and our own hurting Redskins, we’re going to end this on some good points. While the Redskins’ comebacks fell short in the first 2 weeks, the Lions actually allowed
a successful comeback by the Cards, after blowing their own lead. After leading the Cards late in the 3rd quarter, the Lions allowed 3 unanswered scores (a TD and two field goals), and then eventually succumbed to a comeback to a quite mediocre Cardinal team.

And that’s basically how I see this game playing out. The Lions will jump out to an early lead, though not as huge as the Packers and Eagles, but the Redskins will finally compile a successful comeback, with the aid of some big plays from some (offensive and defensive) players that are due for some big plays, now that they’ve shaken off the rust. RG3 won’t be identically the same RG3 of 2012. But he won’t need to be, in this game. He’ll be closer. And close enough. You’ll see an increase in “offensive rhythm”, which we’ve desperately needed. Jordan Reed will catch the winning TD with about 3 minutes left, and Redskins win, 28-27.

This is a resilient team. It’s basically the same team that started out 3-6 in 2012 and then bounced back with 7-0. And having that 2012 rebound under our belt, should also breed an increase in pride and confidence in the ability to do something similar in 2013. So, 0-2 is really not a reason to panic. Let’s not fall into that trap that both fans and “NFL analysts” frequently fall into – and that is, judging a team solely by its most recent performance, and completely overlooking what the team is truly capable of doing. Just like life in general, the NFL season is a marathon and not a sprint. Year after year, we see teams start out slow and finish strong. Or start out strong and then collapse. Would you not rather have the former of those two possibilities ?

So, if RG3’s performance thus far is due to a weak knee or rust, the good news is that we should see some gradual improvement and progression, if either or both of those are the case. Likewise, the defense is bound to get better as well. Just some basic tackling adjustments, which no doubt will be added to the practice protocol, will make a significant difference in defensive play. And I also think you will see an increase in blitzing. The Redskins of 2012 are gradually making their much anticipated re-appearance in their 2013 version. So don’t be afraid of these Lions !! I mean, who you gonna believe ? The truth ? Or your “Lion eyes” ?

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