October 20, 2019

Washington Redskins Week 2 Preview: Green Bay Packers

The Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers, two teams thought to be top tier among their ranks in the NFC, both lost in Week 1. They enter Sunday’s showdown in Green Bay looking to avoid an almost calamitous 0-2 start. The game will be Washington’s first road test of the season and it will be far from a cakewalk.

The Washington Redskins (0-1) enter play Sunday at Lambeau Field coming off a rather embarrassing 33-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. The Skins made the score close in the end with a strong second half performance, but they were overwhelmed right out of the gate by Chip Kelly’s zone-read no-huddle offense, and the Skins offense was moribund in the first half, turning the ball over three times.

Robert Griffin III made his 2013 debut after an offseason filled with knee surgery, rehab and doubt. While he didn’t carry the ball as often as he did in 2012, nor did he really show the burst that makes him such a special weapon, he did show everyone he could be a pocket passer, completing 30 of his 49 passes for 329 yards with two touchdowns once he got his legs underneath him in the second half. It was, however, too little to late to salvage the win.

This week against a rock solid Green Bay defense, look for Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to go back to basics. The Redskins offense is most effective when the run game is established early. This opens up the zone-read, as well as the play action pass. If Griffin is feeling more confident and is mobile, it will help open up the Skins offense.

The defense will have another tough test this week, facing the Packers (0-1), led by former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a textbook pocket passing quarterback (21 of 37 for 333 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the 49ers) and Green Bay has plenty of offensive weapons for him. In the run game, rookie Eddie Lacy, a 5’11”, 230 rookie out of Alabama, will be leaned upon heavily to wear down the Redskins defenders.

The targets in the passing game for Aaron Rodgers are plentiful and very talented. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones are big wide outs with great hands that have big play capability. Rodgers will also be targeting tight end Jermichael Findley, a prime third down target for Rodgers. Look for the Pack to run the ball first to set up the play action.

The Redskins secondary will be tested heavily again this week. Redskins rookies Baccari Rambo, David Amerson and E.J. Biggers will be called upon to show improvement from their performances against the Eagles and come up with some big plays on Sunday to slow down the high powered Green Bay offense. The Skins hope veteran safety Brandon Meriweather will be available for the game after missing the Monday night game with a groin strain.

This will be the home opener for the Packers as they lost their road opener to San Francisco 34-28. Expect the “Cheeseheads” to be a factor in historic Lambeau Field.

Keys to the Game

For the Redskins:

  • Don’t turn the football over. In order to beat a high caliber offense like Green Bay, you must keep them off the field. Robert Griffin III has to make smart decisions when passing and Alfred Morris has got to hold on to football.
  • Don’t take stupid penalties: Penalties absolutely killed the Redskins momentum Monday night against the Eagles. In order to be successful and have a legitimate shot to beat the Pack they will need to play smart.
  • Put pressure on Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers was sacked twice on Sunday by San Francisco and ended up throwing for over 300 yards. If Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan can bring some pressure, it might be a different game for the Packers offensively.

For the Packers:

  • Stop the run: If the Packers can shut down Alfred Morris early, they will force RGIII to be a pocket passer. The Redskins offense is kick started by the run game. If the Packers can limit Morris and Griffin running, it’s not the same explosive offense.
  • Put pressure on RGIII: The NFL saw Monday night RGIII didn’t seem as mobile as last season, and he certainly didn’t try to run on any designed plays. Some of that was getting down early, but he didn’t look comfortable in the pocket until well into the game. If the Packers put pressure on him early it might limit Griffin’s playmaking ability and reduce the Redskins offense to just the options they have in their playbook.
  • Expose Skins Secondary: Aaron Rodgers will be playing against three rookies in the secondary on Sunday, so look for him to exploit every mistake they make. Rodgers is an elite QB and if he finds the openings, he will make them a positive for the Packers.

 

(District Sports Page staff intern Brandon Enroth contributed to this report.)

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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