May 31, 2020

Washington Redskins Week 2 Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Washington Redskins will look to improve up on their 0-1 start to the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at FedEx Field, 1 pm.  While the Redskins are looking to bounce back from a game where they showed very little, the Jaguars are hoping to build upon a performance where they found themselves up 17-o at halftime to the Philadelphia Eagles.  Things deteriorated quickly for Jacksonville, however, and they surrendered 24 second half points to fall to Philadelphia.

These are not the Jacksonville Jaguars of old.  Over the past decade, the team has been marred by underperforming talent, low attendance and TV ratings, and threats of moving the team to either London or Los Angeles, albeit outside threats.  Owner Shahid Khan has consistently shown renewed commitment to the Jacksonville area and the loyal fan base, and it may start to pay off in the coming year.

The Jaguars are loaded with young and promising talent, not the least of which is their future franchise quarterback Blake Bortles.  The young product from Central Florida will not see action in Sunday’s action, but he provides hope while Chad Henne holds the reins for what likely is a transition year for Jacksonville.  The Jaguars have been quiet in recent years when it comes to the draft, and that just may end up paying off for them in the long run.

For the Redskins, Week 1 perhaps provided more questions than answers.  The offense looked lethargic and preseason-esque and the special teams made 2013 mistakes. The lone bright spot may have been the defense who, apart from a lone long touchdown, controlled the line of scrimmage, threw quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s timing off, and contained running back Arian Foster in the second half.

The Redskins will look to stretch the field on Sunday.  Look for DeSean Jackson to get several deep looks down the field.  Of course, in order to secure a favorable matchup in these downfield plays, an effective ground game must be established.  Alfred Morris all but disappeared in the second half against the Teaxans.  It will be interesting to see how well he is utilized this week at home.

Keys to the game

Ground and Pound

As mentioned before, the Redskins need to rely heavily on Alfred Morris.  He has the talent to carry this team and put up 100 yards rushing every game.  Even under Shanahan, the Redskins seemed to abandon the run too early and it cost them.  The coaching staff seem to force themselves to become one dimensional and the defenses they are facing exploit it.

Morris should be in consideration for NFC Player of the Week honors this week, if an effective game plan is executed. Last week, Jacksonville surrendered a combined total of 145 rushing yards to LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles.  Morris and backup running back Roy Helu Jr. have the potential to do the same, if not more.  Sticking with the run will help free up DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in the Jacksonville secondary for the deep plays that head coach Jay Gruden has talked about all week.

Limit the Big Play

The Redskins did a great job last week of liming Arian Foster and Andre Johnson to only relatively good days instead of great days.  This needs to continue against Jacksonville, who present less talent and big play ability than the Texans do.  Of course, Washington has had fits with running back Toby Gerhart in the past, if the Redskins stack the box and limit him early, they can eliminate the threat of Gerhart and focus on disrupting the marginally-talented Henne.

The Redskins need to rely on keeping things short and in front of them with Jacksonville.  Although this offense does not posses huge talent, they can get on a roll and post 17 first half points very quickly as they did in Philadelphia.

Robert Griffin III

He must be better than he was last week.  While we did see some good things from Griffin, it wasn’t until the second half that he got going and was making decisive, on-time throws.  Griffin needs to come out of the gate posed as a run threat.  It’s as simple as that.  If defenses do not see RGIII bouncing to the outside and taking off down field, they take advantage.  They are not afraid of Robert as a pure pocket passer; he holds on to the ball far too long behind a line that pass blocks far too poorly.

Gruden alluded this week that he would consider employing read option this week due to Jacksonville’s 4-3 defensive front being a better matchup for it rather than Houston’s 3-4.  It would behoove Gruden to employ it.  Without it, Griffin is a sitting duck in a quickly deteriorating pocket, and could possibly be more susceptible to injury because of it.  With the read option sprinkled into the offense, Griffin becomes the dynamic playmaker Redskins loved in 2012.  Without it, the offense is anemic and will not put up enough points to win this game.


Dave Nichols (1-0)

I think the offense finds the end zone a couple of times this week, but they collectively need to do a better job protecting the football.
Redskins 20 Jaguars 17

I see this as a bounce back game for the Redskins, and a “must-win” at that.  Griffin will get going and build upon a strong second half last week.  Morris will achieve a 100 yard day and at least one touchdown.  Kai Forbath will miss a field goal late in the second half, but no matter.  Redskins put on a good showing for the home opener crowd in this one.   Redskins 24 Jaguars 13

Joe Mercer (0-1)

Who would have guessed the Washington Redskins would be facing a “must-win” game entering Week Two of the 2014 season? Opening FedEx Field on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington will be faced with the real possibility of starting the season 0-2, with the Eagles, Giants, Seahawks, and Cardinals lying in wait. Wasn’t supposed to happen this way, was it? Combined, the Texans and Jaguars were 6-26 in 2013, and should have made for an easy 2-0 start to kick off the Jay Gruden era. While the Redskins would love to forget last week’s 17-6 debacle against Houston, the Jaguars will be looking to erase the memory of blowing a 17-0 lead against the Eagles. Robert Griffin III, who was almost perfect in the opener against the Texans (29-37, 267 yards) but was sacked three times, will have plenty to worry about on Sunday. Jacksonville upgraded its defence in the offseason, sacking Nick Foles five times on their way to forcing three turnovers against the Eagles. That same defence collapsed in the second half in Week One, allowing Philadelphia to storm back for the win, but the Redskins will need to keep Griffin upright if they have any chance of winning or scoring 17. Look for a heavy dose of Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr., and for Gruden to call a more vertical passing attack.  Redskins 17 Jaguars 14

Neil Dalal (0-1)

Although Jacksonville was able to harass Nick Foles last week through sacks and turnovers and also  hit big plays on the offensive side of the ball, they are still a weaker team than the Houston Texans especially as they will be traveling to FedEx Field. The Jaguars struggled mightily on 3rd down on both the offensive and defensive side of the, which should help the Redskins avoid the struggles they had last game. Again the Redskins will be facing off against a below average quarterback that has no weapons that are close to the quality of Arian Foster or Andre Johnson. Moreover, they do not have game changers on the defensive side of the ball like a J.J. Watt who can completely disrupt an offensive game plan. Our offense should (keyword should) be able to put up enough points to leave the stadium with a win. Redskins 20 Jaguars 14

Joe Miller (0-1)

The Redskins offense cuts down on the turnovers and bounces back this week against a defense that doesn’t have a cyborg named “J.J. Watt” along it’s front seven. They rely heavily on the legs of Alfred Morris who gets over 20 carries, and even mix in a little read-option once or twice. The Jaguars’ young team makes some mistakes that Washington is able to take advantage of, leading to a couple takeaways defensively. Gruden gets his first victory in the home opener.  Redskins 27 Jaguars 20

About Joe Ziegengeist

Joe Ziegengeist is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins. He is a 2012 graduate of Old Dominion University where he earned a degree in sports management. Joe grew up in Chesapeake, VA and has shared season tickets to the Redskins since 2007 and is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox. Joe has been featured in Hanover Lifestyle and Joe is an Account Executive for Ripken Baseball in Aberdeen, Maryland and a Machinery Technician in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. You can follow Joe on Twitter @bostonskins.

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