Welcome back to the B&G Report! Hope you enjoyed the last installment of the “Rookie Spotlight” which featured Tight End Jeremy Sprinkle. The Redskins visit New Orleans this Sunday with a 1:00 pm kickoff time. After starting 0-2 the Saints are on a 7 game win streak. Although the Saints boast a high powered offense, this Skins actually match up well on paper. The Redskins ongoing injuries are cause for concern though. I’ll go through few keys to the game, as well as matchups to watch. At 4-5 this is without a doubt a “Code Red” must win game. Without any further delay, let’s do this!
When healthy the Redskins are a team that can go toe to toe with any team. Unfortunately the Redskins aren’t healthy on either side of the ball. This will probably be one of the toughest tests for the Skins defense to date. This game will be all about matchups, but more importantly who’s going to make big time plays vs this Saints Offense & Defense.
Perine/Thompson vs N.O Run D
The Saints boast a good defense, but their rush defense is their achilles heel. They rank 30th in league giving up 4.7 yards a carry. Utilizing Jet Sweeps/Zone Reads is what I’ve been clamoring for all season! This is the week to push that envelope. With Kelly on IR, the question is what can Rookie running back Samaja Perine do with an increased load? I think this is the opportunity that Perine needed. More carries and getting in a rhythm is what a back like Perine needs in order to be productive. Utilizing his strength and getting more yards after contact is what needs to be the goal for the rookie. Perine just needs to bowl over defenders, rather than avoiding contact. The #1 key for the Oklahoma product will be to hold onto the ball and focus more on handoff exchanges. I see Perine having a good day and going over 100 yards.
Swearinger & Nicholson vs Brees
I keep hearing the media talk about how Junior Galette is a player to watch, since he’s hyped out of his mind to return to New Orleans. Galette is eager to pay back his old team after they discarded him. Although I think that’s a nice headline, Junior isn’t a starter and and having limited snaps will effect his impact. The Skins starting safeties on the other hand, will have the task of stopping one the best QB’s in the league. Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees is very difficult to get a jump on, but Swearinger has shown a knack for being around the ball. Sending DB’s blitzes might be risky, but at this point the Skins need a spark. They rank in the bottom half of the league when it comes to interceptions. Having Montae Nicholson back will allow DJ to roam the field more. Brees has had many close calls this year, with opposing defenders dropping would be interceptions. Today is the day that the Redskins get at least 2 turnovers, one resulting in a touchdown. That will be a key to victory for the Skins defense, as well as avoiding big plays. I think with the return of Nicholson, he’ll record a pick 6 and DJ will recover a fumble.
Skins ILB’s vs Saint RB’s
The Saints run a lot of their offense in base formations, with multiple tight ends. This gives them the ability to pass or run out of a jumbo formations. That will take Skins nickel back Kendall Fuller off the field at times, putting more pressure on the Skins linebackers. Their running backs Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara provide a tough task. Redskins ILB Zach Brown,
will have the task of putting the defense in the right pre-snap position. The Saints backs are more than just runners though. Rookie Alvin Kamara has become one the best receiving running backs in the league, next to Chris “Mighty Mouse” Thompson of course. Add in the bruising running style of former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and the Skins could be overwhelmed. Last week in fact vs the Bills, the Saints duo ran for over 230 combined yards. At one point in the game the Saints ran the ball 27 strait times, now that’s demoralizing. So Brown along with Spaight will have to be extremely aggressive, but also let plays develop so they don’t over pursue. Having one of their best D-Lineman back in Matt Ioannidis, will add a huge boast to this pass rush. Although Ioannidis will have a big club(cast) on is hand, he could use it to his advantage. In the past players have used those club casts, to provide an initial pop and knock lineman off the hall. Drew Brees has only been sacked 8 times this year, which is more about him getting rid of the ball quickly. The Saints O-Line can be pushed back, but Brees rarely puts them in a bad position. The Skins will need to stop this trend and get at least 3 sacks, forcing a fumble to have a chance today. Zach Brown is playing on a sore Achilles, so this could impact his production. I do see Brown having a good game and forcing Brees into a few bad decisions.
*Keys To Victory*
Kirk Cousins will be Kirk and put up at least 250 yards, but they’ll need him to make more off schedule plays today. Getting a few scrambles will keep the defense on their toes and set up better situations in down & distance. The Skins run game has to produce against the 30th ranked rushing defense. Perine will have be more than just a guy today and impose his will on the defense. The wide receivers need to hold onto balls today, I’m talking to you Jamison Crowder! Now with Mo Harris in the fold, the Skins finally have that tough go over the middle receiver. As for Doctson & Vernon Davis, they’ll be expected to produce some big plays as well. Lastly the Redskins defense needs to have their best performance of the year. Turnovers, Pressure and sacks are the only way the Skins com out of this game with the W.
The Saints have been impressive this year, but have areas the Redskins can exploit. Asking for the Redskins run game to get on track might be a tall order. I’m expecting to see Jay Gruden get creative and set up opportunities for his playmakers. I say it every week, but I hope Gruden realizes Jet Sweeps/Zone Reads will actually help his ailing O-Line. Get these big fellas moving forward in space and that’s where magic can happen. I’m predicting Thompson gets on track and has a big game along with Perine, and Mo Harris. The trio are my B&G Offensive performers of the game to watch. As for my Defensive Performers of the game, I think Swearinger has another big week with his true “Road Dog” Montae Nicholson returning to action. This will be the biggest test for this Skins offense to date, but I think they pull this one out and keep their wildcard playoff hopes alive.
34-29 Redskins HTTR!🏹🏈