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Keys to the Game

Welcome back to the B&G Report, hope you enjoyed the last in Season Review post. As the Redskins head into week 8 vs the Seattle Seahawks, they must figure out a way to overcome the myriad of injuries they’ve endured. Nobody in the national media is giving the Redskins much of chance against Seattle, but their defense has holes and are dealing with some key injuries as well. I’ll mention a few keys to the game, as well as some things to keep an eye on vs Seattle. Let’s do this!

*Only Two Active Tight Ends*

Jordan Reed and Niles Paul are both inactive vs the Seahawks due to injury. Rookie TE Jeremy Sprinkle will be be counted on as the second tight end, with primary TE Vernon Davis being used more as receiving threat. The Arkansas TE’s primary contribution needs to be in the run game. The run blocking this year by the Redskins tight ends have been abysmal. Sprinkle will be sorely needed today as a blocker, with only two active O-Lineman starters available. The return of RG Brandon Scherff will be a big boast for the run game, but not a solution. If Sprinkle can at least set the edge on some Jet Sweep/Zone Read runs (hopefully in the game plan today), this team could pose enough of a run threat to set up the play action

*The O-Line Must Adjust*

With only starters RT Morgan Moses and RG Brandon Scherff active, the Skins and O-Line Coach Bill Callahan need to adjust their run/pass scheme. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will be forced to get rid of the ball quicker than he wants and the Seahawks pass rush will do him no favors. The O-Line can’t be expected to give Cousins extra time for “plays to develop”, things just need to happen faster. This makeshift O-Line needs Cousins to accept that he needs to hit his reads with more urgency! So the run game simply can’t be a focus, but a way to set up play action. With so little cohesion amongst the new starters on the line, things need to be simplified. Gruden & Cousins need to keep that in mind when calling plays, as well as using audibles at the line. This could be especially important in the red zone.

*Cousins Needs to Take Chances*

It has been obvious from Gruden’s recent press conference comments, that he wants Cousins to throw more 50/50 balls and give his big receivers a chance. You see Terrell Pryor is not a possession receiver at this point In his career. What Pryor does offer is size (6’4 228lbs). He’s not going to get you that tough catch over the middle, but chuck it up in one on one coverage and he’ll have chance. As for WR Josh Doctson he’s the future of this receiving core. Jamison Crowder is ruled out, so Doc’s importance level just shot through the roof! They can’t rely on WR Ryan Grant to fill the void in the slot position alone, but that seems like Gruden’s game plan today. I’m still looking for them to rotate a few players in the slot, including Chris Thompson and TE Vernon Davis. This Seattle defense will be without their Pro Bowl FS Earl Thomas. The Seahawks defense has already shown they are vulnerable to giving up large chunks of yards through the air. Now with Thomas being ruled out, this could be a golden opportunity for the upset. The Texans and Rookie QB D.Watson threw for over 300 yards vs Seattle last week and personally I think at this point Cousins is a better a QB. So if the Skins want a chance at the upset, Kirk needs to step out of his comfort zone and just air it out!

*Redskins Pass Rush vs Russell Wilson*

I heard Skins D-Coordinator Greg Manusky mention playing more zone against the Seahawks, which I’m hoping will not be the game plan. Opposing teams always say “keep Wilson in the pocket“, well accepting there’s a problem with that line of thinking is the first step in containing The QB. The defense needs to focus on just getting a hand on Wilson, stunts and DB Blitzes may be their best friend today. I agree safety DJ Swearinger has missed some key tackles this year, but as a blitzer DJ’s at his best! The only way to accomplish this kind of rush, without paying the price is utilizing press man coverage. The combination of Norman, Breeland, Dunbar and Fuller are best used in press coverage as aggressors. I’m looking for Norman to be used more as a field roamer in the game plan today, compared to last week when he was just getting his feet back. It also sounds as if safety D.Hall could get the start at safety alongside DJ. This is the biggest unknown of the day. If the 34 year old Hall can somehow regain a quarter of his previous self, we could be in for an unexpected surprise! I’m going out on a limb here and giving a bold prediction that D.Hall takes an interception to the house, which will decide the game. Hey I said it was a bold prediction right!

Final Prediction

38-34 Redskins

I think this will be another tough game for the Redskins, but somehow they’ll manage to shock the league with a victory. In the end I think Kirk Cousins will have a really good afternoon. I believe he’ll adhere to Coach Gruden’s challenge to “give his receivers a chance“. The pot of good is on the other side and a good performance could add an extra dimension to Kirk’s game. This game will be a huge challenge, but I’ve seen something from this squad I haven’t seen over the last two decades and that’s HEART! Stayed tuned for the next B&G Report in which another Redskins Rookie will be in the Spotlight.

Stat Predictions

*Cousins will finish the day with 300 yards passing 2 TD, 1 rushing TD and 1 interception.

*Docston/Pryor combine for 150 yards receiving 1 TD

*Chris Thompson will finish with 140 total yards with a TD (55 yards rushing & 85 yards receiving).

*The defense 4 sacks combjned (Brown/Preston/Kerrigan)

*Deangelo Hall with the pick 6 TD to put the game out of reach



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