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A Turning Point?

Will D. Hall hold his own against the Eli Manning and co.?

It has been quite some time when a Redskins Giants game has meant something substantial outside of being the regular season opener for both teams.

However, the Burgundy and Gold travel to New York this week with a chance to claim first place seven weeks into the season, and begin the NFC East portion of schedule on the right foot.

This Sunday provides an enormous opportunity for Washington to make a statement around the NFL. A win would bring credibility and could potentially offer more signs of real progress in the Mike Shanahan era. But if the Redskins are going to compete (and beat) the Giants this Sunday, they must perform  well in three key areas.

Lets take a look:

1. Pass Rush: Prior to last Sunday’s game against the Vikings, the Redskins pass rush sans Brian Orakpo has been sub-par. The front seven, which was considered the strength of the team before the season, has struggled generating a pass rush. Ryan Kerrigan is a star in the making, but he cannot do it by himself. Against the Vikings, Washington was able to get after Christian Ponder and force him to rush throws. Can the defensive line and Lorenzo Alexander duplicate last week’s effort, and generate the type of pressure needed to defeat the Giants?

2. The Secondary: It’s no secret the Redskins lack talent, but they have been able to find some production from their secondary. Josh Wilson has his moments, as does DeAngelo Hall (insert Redskin fan screaming at computer because he hates Hall). However, neither is anything close to a shut down corner, as they rely on help over the top from the safeties. Unfortunately, the NFL “salary-cap gate” that penalized the Redskins did not allow the team to fix the saftey problem. Madieu Williams and Reed Doughty are not noteworthy starters and have been routinely beat in both Man and Zone coverage. Williams scored last week on a gift from the Ponder, but otherwise has been poor in coverage. With a dangerous Victor Cruz working out of the slot, flanked by deceptively dangerous receivers like Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden (assuming the banged-up Hakeem Nicks is limited), how will the secondary hold up? In order to defeat the hated Giants, the Redskins need a strong game from the back-end of the defense.

3. Offensive Line: Through the fist six games of the season, the Redskins offensive line has been a pleasant surprise. Trent Willaims has been stellar this year and is living up to his expectations. Meanwhile, the rest of the line has performed admirably and paved the way for an extremely strong running game. This week will be their toughest test to date. The Cincinnati Bengals pushed the unit around, but they did so mostly with big Trent on the bench. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenorya are well known around the league for getting after the quarterback. Washington goes as RGIII goes and New York knows this. Do not be surprised to see these three to be on their “A” game and push this unit to play their best.

If the Redskins can hold their own in these three phases, the Giants will find themselves in a real fight at home. A Redskins win could potentially force the NFL to take greater notice of what is going on in the District of Columbia, and perhaps even spark early discussion of MVP honors — not just Rookie of the Year — for one Mr. Robert “Bob” Griffin.

But most importantly, a win on Sunday makes the idea of a postseason appearance by the Redskins even more real.


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One Response to “A Turning Point?”

  1. Teddy Rice says:

    Love this blogger. The only thing I’ll add is the running game -from Alfred Morris especially. The East is always smash-mouth football, and winning in New York means running better than New York. Which will free up RG3 to be more creative. I’m bullish on this guy Morris.

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