Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. The Redskins walked away from Arizona in dominant fashion, pounding the Cardinals 24-6. The score could have easily been higher if not for the conservative play-calling during the second half. The Redskins welcome Indianapolis to FedEx Field in their home opener. The Colts and Andrew Luck pose a different challenge than Arizona in that they can move the ball thru the air. The Redskins have match-up advantages aplenty. On a side note, former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant returns to Washington after leaving via free agency. With the game hours away lets take a look at some match-ups Washington can exploit.
LT Anthony Costanzo Ruled Out
The news of Colts left tackle Anthony Costanzo being ruled with an ongoing hamstring injury bolsters the Redskins’ ability to potentially shut down Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck. Additionally, Colts right tackle J’Marcus Webb is also injured. Last week against Arizona, Coach Manusky only used a four man rush for nearly 80% of the game.
The Alabama tandem in Allen & Payne clogged the running lanes against the always dangerous David Johnson, but the Colts run game is less than pedestrian. With the lack of an imposing run game Indianapolis becomes one dimensional. The loss of Costanzo further complicates their pass protection deficiencies. This should be the game that Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith get it going after a statistically quiet game last week. This should be the game that Skins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky pins back his ears and brings more pressure off the edges.
Moses vs Margus Hunt
Hunt has no bend to his game and the film shows a player with an upright pass rush move. Moses should be able to out muscle and out leverage Hunt. On one particular play versus Cincinnati, Hunt displayed his go-to power bull rush, knocking Bengals right tackle Bobby Hart to the ground on route to recording 2 sacks in the game. Moses is a superior tackle compared to Hart and should handle Hunt without issue. This is a match-up the Redskins can and should exploit. Most notably, Hunt is a huge liability against the run and makes it easy for lineman to get under his pads and push him off the line of scrimage. The screen game is another way to take advantage of Hunt’s lack of athleticism. Although he has some speed and size, he’s extremely flat footed and displays a lack of lateral quickness.
Jordan Reed vs Darrius Leonard
Reed gave Skins fans a small sample size of what he could do with only a few targets against Arizona (4 catches, 48 rec yards and 1 touchdown). Last year rookie ILB Darrius Leonard was featured in a B&G Report Player Spotlight. Leonard was all over the field versus Cincinnati (6 solo tackles). It’s likely the rookie will draw the assignment of trying to keep up with Jordan Reed. As most teams have done in the past, Indianapolis is likely to devote a safety to double cover Reed. This will be a pick your poison match-up for Indianapolis. The Redskins run game should have no problem getting started and focusing on Reed could be the downfall of the Colts.
Redskins Defensive Line vs Andrew Luck
At this early juncture, the Colts are a one man team . Although Luck missed nearly two years of football, he looked smooth and agile last week. The Bengals’ pass rush had success against the Colts rebuilt offensive line. Two players that lived in the Colts backfield were defensive lineman Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap (2 combined sacks) who made life miserable for Luck all afternoon. The Redskins trio in Allen, Payne and Ioannidis should have more success versus the Colts. At the moment, rookie LG Quenton Nelson and C Ryan Kelly are the only two relevant players standing behind the Skins rush and their franchise quarterback. Indianapolis will have to be creative and keep extra blockers at the line in order to cover up their deficiencies on the right side of their line. Nelson and Kelly will only be able cover so much ground and once Manusky and the Redskins expose their weakness this should be another game in which Washington is in cruise control.
Redskins Run Game vs Colts Defense
This could be the most noteworthy match-up, but also the most lopsided. Chris Thompson & Adrian Peterson combined for 161 rushing yards versus Arizona last week. Arizona’s defense is a superior unit compared to Indianapolis. The Redskins should expect the Colts to routinely load the box with 5-6 defenders. In this case, the Redskins can use the Colts over-aggressiveness against them in the play-action/quick game. Peterson ran the ball 26 times against the Cardinals, but look for Rob Kelley to get more than the 3 carries he had last week and a more balanced between the running backs. Look for the Redskins to establish the run game early and for Alex Smith take advantage of the patchwork Colts defense.
Final Score 34-12 Redskins
Thanks for checking out another Pre-Game Primer Edition. Many call this a trap game in which the the majority of the national media has picked Washington to win. All the Redskins can do is go out and try to duplicate the performance from last week and hope for the same result. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will be a difficult test, but this Redskins team just seems special. Stay tuned for post game analysis and much more.
Written By Adam Aniba
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