The Redskins are away from the friendly confines of FedEx Field for the third time to start the first quarter of the season. Before the season started, I would have been happy with a a 2-2 start, but the Skins need to win this week against Tampa Bay to get to .500.
Win Strength vs. Strength:Much has been made of the worst two pass defenses in the NFL. However, this game could very well be who wins the running game when the Redskins have the ball. The Redskins come in behind only the Chiefs as the best running game in the league averaging 181 yards per game. However, the Buccaneers rank first against the run giving up only 47 yards per game. The Redskins can’t become one dimensional. As Cam Newton can testify, a running game is a quarterback’s best friend. The Skins will need Alfred Morris to lead a rushing attack that gains 120 yards today to get the win.
Limit the Hits on RG3: I know the Shanahan Clan loves Robert Griffin III, but the option needs to be severely limited. That might happen due to the injury of Brandon Banks, who might not play today. Trent Williams injury will also loom large over the health of RG3, but keeping Griffin III up right is just as important as gaining yards. If the Skins starter goes down, the replacement RG3’s name is Rex Grossman III. Robert can elude pass rushers and still move the ball, but the less he has to evade 290 pound lineman, the better his health will be.
Don’t Let Vincent Wake Up: One of the bigger free agents to hit the market this year was WR Vincent Jackson. The 31 ranked pass defense now faces the 30th ranked pass offense. Today is not the day to let Jackson show why he earned the big pay day he got in the off season. The Bucs top receiver has 204 yards and 1 TD on 10 receptions. That’s 20.4 yards per reception. He’s a big play type of receiver the Skins had a lot of difficulty stopping last week. The goal shouldn’t be to limit Jackson to his season totals today. The goal should be to keep him under 100 yards, and put the burden on a rushing attack that features an under performing rookie.
If the Redskins can do those three things; rush for over 120, keep Jackson to under 100 yards receiving, and limit the hits on RG3 to 10, Washington will return home next week 2-2.
What do you think? Did I miss a more important key to victory? Let us know what you think.