Washington Redskins: 3 Things the Redskins Must Do to Beat the Bengals
The Washington Redskins should be happy with their overall performance through two games, but there are many things that need to be improved.
A matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals is looming, and it's now or never if the burgundy and gold want to keep pace with the other teams in the NFC. Here are three things that the Redskins absolutely must do in order to come away with a victory.
1. Pressure Andy Dalton
It's no secret that the Redskins' pass defense has been an abomination through two weeks. An inspired performance against the Saints still yielded over 300 yards in the air, and the Rams simply looked unstoppable.
In addition, stalwarts Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker have been declared out for the year, further damaging a defense that had little talent to being with.
Every bad defense's worst nightmare is a dynamic receiver, and unfortunately for the Redskins, they will be squaring off against the ultra-talented A.J. Green.
Washington's secondary won't be able to stop Green—containing him is the only option. And the only way to contain him is to get pressure on Cincinnati's quarterback, Andy Dalton.
Of course, the injures to Orakpo and Carriker really threw a wrench in this strategy because now the Redskins have only Ryan Kerrigan to rely on in terms of true pass-rushing ability. That means that someone else (here's looking at you Rob Jackson) will have to step up.
Dalton showed last year that while he is a very good quarterback, he struggles mightily under a lot of pressure. If the Redskins can get into Cincinnati's backfield, they will have a chance to contain Green and the Bengals offense. If not, it could be a field day for the guys in orange.
Who will win the game between Washington and Cincinnati?
2. Improve on special teams.
The Redskins have had two punts blocked in two weeks, each of which led directly to a touchdown. They managed to pull out a win despite the block against the Saints, but the block against St. Louis came at the most inopportune of times and gave the Rams new life when the Redskins should have had all the momentum.
First and foremost, Washington can't allow the Bengals to penetrate their protection unit when Sav Rocca lines up to punt. It's as simple as that. If there is a punt blocked for a third consecutive week, special teams coach Danny Smith is going to have to get back to the drawing board in a big way.
The Bengals up the ante even more when you throw Adam Jones into the mix. Despite his legal troubles, Jones has always been a great punt returner and he showed off his skills with a spectacular 81-yard touchdown on a return against Cleveland this weekend.
So not only must the Redskins prevent a block, they must keep the ball out of Jones' hands. Here's hoping that they're up to the task.
3. Give Alfred Morris the ball more often.
As great as Robert Griffin III has been, it's easy to forget that there's another pretty good rookie standing right behind him.
And that's exactly what Mike Shanahan did with Alfred Morris last week: he forgot about him. Morris ripped off a couple of 20-yard runs and was using his massive frame and significant power to simply bowl over Rams defenders, yet only had 16 carries in the game. This was despite the fact that he was averaging a superb 5.6 yards per carry.
The Redskins could have used Morris better in order to control the flow of the game and win the time of possession battle. But for whatever reason Shanahan decided that he wanted to air it out or run it with RGIII, and completely forgot about what Morris was doing to the Rams.
I'm not arguing that the Redskins need to run the ball more. I'm just saying that when a guy like Alfred Morris is having a great game, there's no reason not to run it more. It's simple strategy. If the other team isn't stopping your running back, you run the ball more.
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