September 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
I recently got the opportunity to converse with two writers from Fansided’s Washington Redskins blog, Riggo’s Rag. I posed five questions about the matchup to them, and they responded with inside information valuable to being knowledgeable on the opponent. Here’s what the conversation looked like:
Blogging Dirty– The Redskins were supposed to have a top-5 defense coming into the season, but due to injuries to OLB Brian Orakpo and DE Adam Carriker, they have struggled especially to stop the pass. Do you think too much has been made of their injuries and lack of presence in the lineup, or are have these injuries hurt as much as analysts have stated?
Riggo’s Rag– I do believe that the injuries have hurt. Anytime you lose multiple starters, your defense is going to miss an assignment or two. Remember, it’s not just the players you listed, but their starting two safeties have yet to play a game due to suspension and injury. However, I believe that the lack of defensive dominance comes from the increase in team’s strategies to pass first and pass often. Every year the good quarterbacks are getting better and teams are putting more and more faith in them to control their offense and the Redskins defense is better suited to stop the run (which they have done in top 5 fashion) versus stopping the pass. We have some major work to do.
BD– Falcons fans are familiar with DeAngelo Hall and the fact that he makes big plays, but also gives up just as many. Who else is in the secondary that fans need to keep an eye on for better or for worse?
RR– They may want to keep a close eye on Rob Jackson. Losing Orakpo for the year probably made some teams thing that they can just attack him a will. His play the last couple of games has been extremely impressive and the Falcons should definitely game plan for him. Also, the Falcons will want to keep an eye out for Josh Wilson. Wilson and Hall have had their bad days but both are far from the bottom of what the NFL has to offer. At any given moment they can and will make a game changing play to help the Redskins win the game.
BD– The rookie duo of Robert Griffin at quarterback and Alfred Morris at running back has given the Redskins a great rushing attack, and the ability to not only score on the ground, but to eat up the clock, and set up the pass. How will the Redskins use the pistol and option plays to add to the run play arsenal?
RR– I think they will continue to use it every week, slowly introducing a new phase of it week by week to keep defenses guessing. The intelligence of these two rookies is so high that coaches can trust them like they are veterans. This is huge because that means the playbook doesn’t have to be dumbed down for the sake of them being rookies. Defenses will continue to struggle vs the Redskins for that reason alone, since the entire playbook is an option.
BD– Talk a little about the ‘Skins receiving corps. What players do Falcons fans need to keep their eyes open for to make sure they don’t get burnt?
RR– The Falcons need to be prepared for all of the Redskins receivers because Griffin III has shown the ability to see and use the entire field. Specifically, you would think I would say Garcon since he is now back from injury and is available to pick up from the dominance he showed vs New Orleans, but I am going to say Santana Moss. Yes, the forgotten man in DC. He has been the main target in Washington for a long time and he still has some pep in his step. With the offense now having legitimate threats in Davis and Garcon, it is easy to forget Moss is on the field. That type of talent going up against second and third tier defensive players and unnoticed could prove to be dangerous for Atlanta.
BD– What is your prediction for the game?
RR– I think the Redskins will be able to move the ball on the ground against the Falcons, so they should be able to put up some points against Atlanta. However, I don’t see our 31st ranked defense getting better until we have our starting safeties back, and Matt Ryan has some unbelievable options in Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. Atlanta scores too many points for the Redskins to win at home, 31-17.
Special thanks to both Jeff Johnson and Frederick Brown of Riggo’s Rag in making this Q&A session possible. Many thanks! Go Falcons!