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3 Important Factors to Week 1

In a mere four days the Washington Redskins will take on the New York Giants. Every team has a sense of hope at this point. The storylines at this juncture are always the same…”I am confident this year and really think this is our time”. Something along those lines are always blurted out of preseason camps. For some teams they may be true, but in reality most teams have a sense of where they are going before the season even kicks off. Take the Cincinnati Bengals for instance. They are not going to challenge in the AFC north this season and perhaps may win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. But than there are teams who surprise because you just don’t know what to expect out of them. Teams like the 2011 Washington Redskins. In Mike Shanahan’s second year, there are numerous reports and articles that discuss a more solid organization from top to bottom. How he has his players and how they are going to play hard every down. Despite this, however, the national media looks down on the Redskins because they don’t have a super star on their roster. But that’s what makes this team interesting. That’s why we have no idea what to expect from them this year. The optimism around the Redskins is clear and they have to feel confident heading into week 1. Now, in order to keep their confidence high they need to win. Winning a divisional game to start the year against a team that has owned the Skins would do wonders. Here are some of the keys I will be looking for in the home opener for the Burgundy and Gold:

Offensive Line– There has been a lot of talk around the Redskins quarterbacks this preseason. Who is going to lead the team has been the talk for weeks. Now that Grossman has won the job it is up to him to help the Skins win ballgames. But it won’t matter how good he is if his O-line can’t protect him. The Giants routinely have one of the most feared pass rushes in the NFL and the battle makes for a fierce challenge to open the season. With the Skins line being severely tested right from the get go, it has to maintain the momentum created in preseason and contain the Giants pass rushers. Grossman has showed, if given enough time, he can make all the necessary throws which is important because of the lack of depth in the Giants secondary. Perhaps the biggest reason the O-line will be vital are the injuries to the Giants secondary. If they can protect Grossman than he will pick apart the Giants secondary, but if they cannot than Grossman will turn the ball over. Therefore, it will be essential for New York to get to Grossman in order to protect their depleted secondary from the Redskins receivers. The battle in the trenches is the most pivotal aspect of this game.

Secondary-Both teams come into this game with banged up secondaries. The Giants have lost prized draft pick Prince Amukamara for a few weeks of the season and the Redskins prized strong safety LaRon Landry most likely will not play. These injuries should have a significant affect on the game because of each teams style of play. Losing Amukamara and Terrell Thomas weaken the secondary for the Giants and should help the Redskins receivers get open routinely. However, Redskins fans should be more concerned about their secondary because of the loss of Landry. Landry is an absolute force to be reckoned with and plays terrific run defense. This matters because the Giants are going to want to establish their running game with Jacobs and Bradshaw. Whichever team can minimize their secondaries mistakes will have an advantage on Sunday.

Special Teams-Lastly comes the special teams. Special teams often get over looked when people scout games, but given the Redskins track record of close ones, this shouldn’t be overlooked at all. Graham Gano won the starting job for the Redskins and needs to improve drastically over his 2010 campaign in order for the Skins to be successful. Gano missed several critical kicks a year ago and can ill-afford to do so again this year if he wishes to stick around.  New punter Sav Rocca looks to be the best punter the Burgundy and Gold have had since Matt Turk and is coming off a solid 2010 season. It is always nice to mention Brandon Banks name as well. The little speedster is fun to watch and is always a cut away from breaking a big return. Hopefully, Danny Smith’s special teams can find ways to help the Skins win the close games in 2011.

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3 Responses to “3 Important Factors to Week 1”

  1. 007 says:

    The battle in the trenches is the most pivotal aspect of this game.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Based on what I’ve seen in this pre-season, ‘SKINS lose.

    There just is no proven depth behind another rebuilt o-line, and they’re playing meaningful games to get into shape and to familiarize with each other.

    With the starters WASHINGTON has, this contest could go either way, but an injury along the line, and the REDSKINS are done.

  2. Hail! says:

    EXCELLENT article; these are the reasons I visit this website. Call me crazy, but Grossman to me = Rypien 2.0….a QB nobody expected anything out of but played his tail off. Now the Ripper was sacked less than 10 times in that magical 91′ season, but I see a lot of the same qualities in Rex as I did in Mark. Take care and hail to the Redskins, beat those GIANTS!

  3. 007 says:

    Well, we agree on one point…..GO ‘SKINS.

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