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Kyle Returns

San Francisco 49ers Primer

The San Francisco 49ers visit FedEx Field as a 10 Point underdog this Sunday. This is a must win game for the Redskins in my opinion. Dropping to 2-3 with a surging 5-1 Eagles team, would be an up hill climb for the last wildcard playoff spot. The 49ers rank in the bottom five in the league defensively against the run and the pass. Washington will have plenty of opportunities to make this a blowout. Although the 49ers are 0-5, they’ve still managed to stay competitive. In the 49ers last four defeats, they’ve only lost by an average of 3 points or less. Their starting QB BrianHoyer ranks in the bottom three in the league with a 59% completionpercentage. Pressuring Hoyer early and often will be paramount for the Redskins defense. Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and former Skins wide receiver Pierre Garçon return to the Nations Capital, with a chip on their shoulders. After the Robert Griffin debacle, both father & son Shanahan were chosen as the scapegoats for the Redskins failure and subsequently fired by Daniel Snyder. Coach and Son knew early on that Kirk Cousins was the true franchise QB, not second overall draft pick Robert Griffin. Based on what Redskins brass gave up to draft Griffin, they wanted no part in starting Cousins. The former Redskins Coach was infamously quoted “Kirk Cousins is a friggin football player” and was on point with his assessment. Kyle had a short stint in Cleveland as their coordinator, before moving on to Atlanta as their offensive Coordinator. Nobody will forget KyleShanahan’s offense blowing the game in last years SuperBowl loss to New England. What’s forgotten in that loss is just how successful Shanahan’s offense was in that game, as well as the entire 2016 season. Kyle is considered one of the best coaches and offensive minds in the NFL. That was just one reason why former Redskins QB Griffin had success his rookie year, even though Griffin could not read a defense to save his life. So although San Fran lacks elite talent, Kyle Shanahan knows how to set up play action and find opponents weakness. Many fans believe this is setting up to be a classic trap game with the 49ers, since they really have nothing to lose and the Skins having everything to gain. Sound familiar Redskins fans, the loss to the Giants at the end of 2016 season knocked the Skins out of playoff contention still stings. I’ll go through some important matchups to watch this Sunday vs the 49ers, as well as what I believe the Redskins need to do to to finish the day 3-2.


As I previously mentioned, this is a must win game for the Skins. Dropping to 2-3, in a division in which Philli is running away, could be disastrous for the upstart Redskins. The Giants are still winless and Dallas is 2-3 facing six games without their start RB Elliot. The Redskins have more overall talent than Shanahan’s 49er’s, but their young talent is undeniable starting with their defensive line. They boast “TheTwin Towers” (not the original Zo & Mutombo G-Town connection) in DE ArikArmstead and DT DeForest Buckner. The duos 6’7 length and wingspan is impressive. This will be my first matchup to watch vs the Redskins O-Line. Add in rookie DE Solomon Thomas and the Skins will have to game plan around the trio. The second matchup will be Kirk Cousins vs the 49ers secondary. Although they lack the play makers at corner, their safeties boast impressive size & speed. Their length definitely jumps out when they play their One Deep Safety package on defense and are interchangeable. Eric Reid (6’1 213) returns from injury and looks to force Cousins into some bad decisions, but he tends to be over aggressive in coverage, giving up ground to often. The second safety Jaquiski Tartt (6’1 220), who I previously wrote about in the B&G Draft Primer) is a future star. He can be dangerous when used in the box as a blitzer, but is still learning to play centerfield in the pros. I’ll mention a few more critical matchups that will determine who wins or loses this game below. Cousins vs 49ers Corners


  1.    This is a matchup in which Kirk Cousins should expose the 49ers inexperienced corners, early and often. Chris CooleyfromESPN 980 Radio mentioned how vulnerable the 49ers defense is, in particular #33Rashard Robinson. Robinson has giving up big plays all year and Kirk needs to go right at him. Jordan Reed states he’s feeling 100% after the bye and Jamison Crowder spent the bye getting his speed back. With the emergence of Vernon Davis, as well as Terrell Pryor & a heathy Josh Doctson, this could be a big day through the air for Cousins. I see Cousins having a modest 250 yards passing day because the run will be the game plan focus, but he’ll still throw for 3 TDs.


Perine vs 49ers Defense


Running back Samaje Perine is in line to start for the injured Robert Kelley. Although the Oklahoma product has been underwhelming so far, I’m predicting a 100+ yard day on the ground. Statistics have the 49ers run defense as one of the worst in the league. After watching some 49ers game tape, they get consistent pressure on the QB, but give up huge run lanes at times. The way to combat the pressure is to get our big boys upfront to pushthe 49ers off the ball. The bad news is All Pro Tackle Trent Williams is a game Time decision with a strained knee, but this is the one game the Skins can offered him to sit. They will have to use recently signed tackle TJ Clemings if Williams can’t go. That would force the Skins to use an extra blocker to compensate. Fact is with RG BrandonSchreff and RT Morgan Moses, the Skins can lean on the right side of the line to run, which could set up some nice lanes for the Skins backs. Mack Brown will get some touches along with Chris “Mighty Mouse” Thompson as well. I’m predicting another Rams type of offense game plan, in which the Redskins rush for over 250 yardscombined and even Cousins gets on the party a rushing TD.

Redskins DB’s vs Pierre Garçon

The departure of WR Pierre Garçon was a big blow to the Redskins receiving core. Through 5 games Garçon has accumulated 379 receiving yards, but is yet to get in the end zone as a 49er. Garçon will get his catches and might even go over a hundred yards today, but they key will be to keep his impact minimal. Overachieving rookie safety Montae Nicholson will get the task of limiting the field, for the former Redskins pass catcher. Similar to the Raiders game, safety Nicholson just needs to watch Brian Hoyer’s eyes and anticipate routes as they develop. Garçon’s game is based on toughness & trash talking, that’s why we now have DJ Swearinger as outdefensive Captain. DJ will continue to bark at Garçon all day and without an elite supporting cast this could be a good day for the defense. Breeland will take Norman’s spot and matchup up with the former Redskin WR most of the day. My prediction is Garçon will will have a minimal impact with 65 yards receiving, but will be kept out of the end zone for the 6th strait game

Redskins D-Line vs 49ers O-Line


This is the matchup of the day to watch in my opinion. Rookie DE John Allen and DE Matt Ioannidis have been simply dominating this year. The much heralded Raiders offensive line, was bullied and pushed back all game by the Skins duo. I think their pressure will force 49ers QB Brian Hoyer to leave the pocket prematurely, leading to the Skins outside linebackers Preston’s Smith & RyanKerrigan getting sacks. When all is said and done, I’m predicting a huge day for the Skins defense, in which they force 2fumbles, collect an INT and register 5 sacks 

Final Word

Although the 49ers have been disappointing thus far in the season, they have a bright future under Shanahan once they get a franchise QB. The speculation of Cousins joining his former O-Coordinator in the Bay next year makes total sense. Cousins would be reunited with his former offensive coach and go to possession receiver Pierre Garçon. Along with San Fran’s run game & defense it could keep games close. Luckily for Redskins fans, it’s 2017 and we have Cousins for a minimum of 12 more games. The 49ers defense will keep them in this game with a low scoring 14-3 half, but the second half is when the Skins will explode offensively. The #1 advantage Washington has over San Francisco is depth, in particular depth on defense. I think the 6’7 boys will start to ware down m, with Gruden sticking with the run game well into the second half. Pounding Perine up the middle will weaken this defense, even only for modest gains. This will allow Cousins to do what he does best and go zone read/play action. As I previously mentioned in my last post, I think Gruden really needs to get WR TerrellPryor involved in some Wildcat formations. Pryor needs to be involved and there is no better way then getting creative, by putting the former QB under center for a few plays.  The 49ers defensive game plan has been simplified by its coordinators due to their lack of depth. The 49ers recently released former Pro Bowl ILB Navarro Bowmen, which puts a strain on their already weak defensive cohesion. Although Bowmen was on the decline, they are hoping Alabama rookie Reuben Foster can pick up his slack. The rookie hasn’t played an NFL game since being drafted, so I expect the Redskins to run directly at Foster if he’s in the game. This will be a big day offensively, defensively and even special teams will get in on the party with a Jamison Crowder punt return for a touchdown.

FINAL SCORE

45- 17 Redskins Improve to 3-2 **Stat Predictions***

OFFENSE

QB Cousins 250 3 TD’s 1 rushingTD

WR Josh Doctson 118 yards receiving  1 TD 

Perine & Brown Combine for 200+ rushing yards 1 TD’s

DEFENSE

OLB Smith 2 sacks

OLB Kerrigan 1 sack, fumble recovery

DE John Allen 1 sack, fumble recovery 

OLB Ryan Anderson 1 sack 

Safety Montae Nicholson 1 INT 

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