Washington Redskins: 10 Keys to Victory Against the Panthers

Tom NataliCorrespondent INovember 2, 2012

Washington Redskins: 10 Keys to Victory Against the Panthers

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    33-20. That was last year’s Panthers victory over the Washington Redskins. The Panthers were 1-5 entering that game as the surprising Redskins were 3-2.

    Well, Cam Newton demolished us, as the former Heisman winner utilized his legs and arm in a seamless victory.

    The Redskins need to remember that game. They need to remember that a rookie embarrassed that defense. They need to remember that they were beat in every facet of the contest.

    Right now, the Panthers are in disarray. They have lost five straight games and have only one win this season. Newton has regressed, and his team has been close a few times but has found ways to lose.

    By all means, this is a must-win for the Redskins. They need to snap their losing streak, stop making excuses about all the injuries, shut DeAngelo Hall up and give their fans something to cheer about.

    Below are the 10 keys to the game.

Play Our Game

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    Last week, the Redskins went away from what made them successful in the first place. They were a well-balanced offensive machine, thus keeping defenders on their toes.

    The Steelers shut Alfred Morris down, so Kyle Shanahan reverted back to his old ways, a lot of passing and play-action fakes, none of which worked.

    For the Redskins to beat Carolina, they need to balance their attack, and in multiple formations, while controlling the possession of the clock.

Prevent the Big Play

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    Last year, Steve Smith torched the secondary. Smith isn’t having the same season he had before, but he’s still a legitimate threat.

    If he or any other receiver beats us up top, then we are going to be in for a long day. Cam Newton throws a great deep ball, and he won’t miss on those opportunities.

    If that means Madieu Williams needs to be 30 yards back, then fine, eliminating the big play keeps the Redskins in the game.

    I know it is unrealistic to believe that the Skins defense can shut a team down for a whole game, but by preventing deflating plays from Steve Smith, it will make it much easier.

Keep Cam Newton in the Pocket

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    Similar to RGIII, Newton is very dangerous when he gets out of the pocket. Keeping him between the hash marks is where he will become uncomfortable.  

    If I were the defensive coordinator, I would have Perry Riley spy on him for the entire game. Riley closes on the ball better than anyone else on the defense and has the speed to keep up with him.

    Where Riley gets confused is in pass coverage, so simplifying his role to a quarterback spy will be conducive to the young linebacker’s strengths.

Catch the Ball

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    I would really like to insert an expletive in that title, but I’m trying to be mature about this. I’m not saying we would have won if we didn’t drop 10 passes last week, but the game wouldn’t have been a blowout.

    Last week’s dropped passes were so bad that the only way to go is up. I highly doubt anything like that will happen again.

    However, RGIII and Alfred Morris can’t do it themselves. Without Fred Davis and Pierre Garcon, the Skins receivers need to make every play count.

    The first football coach I ever had said “If it hits your hands, you should catch it.” That rule hasn’t changed; Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss need to hold onto the ball.

Alfred Morris Needs 20-Plus Carries

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    As mentioned before, playing “our” game includes a heavy dose of the run. With Alfred Morris’ running style, defenses will fatigue as they attempt to tackle the human battering ram.

    Morris has shown no signs of slowing down, thus far; he gets positive yardage on almost every rushing attempt, so keep giving him the ball.

Aldrick Robinson Needs to Rise to the Occasion

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    It has been reported that Aldrick Robinson will be more involved in the Skins offense this week. 

    Why not? Besides Santana Moss, no other receiver has been consistent. Robinson has great speed and can be utilized in a variety of options.

    Getting out of Mike Shanahan’s doghouse can be difficult, so this is a make-or-break opportunity for Robinson. I’ll be curious to see how he responds.

Third-Down Execution

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    This has certainly improved over the past few weeks, after the blunder against Atlanta. However, consistency is what makes a team successful.

    Santana Moss has been Griffin’s go-to on third down, so I would expect that to continue. Overall, Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling has been great, however, on third downs is where he seems to second guess himself.

Force Turnovers

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    Before last week’s loss, the Redskins defense was finding a way to create turnovers. That will need to happen this week.

    It has been shown that you don’t need a premier defense to be successful one, where opportunistic defenses such as Giants, Packers and Saints have won off that.

    If Jim Haslett’s defense can hold offenses to under 24 points per game, then we’re on the brink of becoming a playoff team.

DeAngelo Hall Needs to Step Up

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    DeAngelo Hall has been under much scrutiny this week, and deservedly so, after his embarrassing ejection last Sunday.

    Hall has stated his confidence in being an elite cornerback in this league and is certainly being paid like one. That said, he hasn’t proven that on the field.

    He’s being targeted more often than not by quarterbacks. Hall has painted himself into a corner this week, and he needs to come out on Sunday and finally shut up.

    Stop complaining and just do your job. If Hall continues at this rate then I would be shocked if he’s a Redskin next year.

Robert Griffin Does His Usual

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    I can’t remember a more publicized matchup between two underachieving teams. The whole week, it’s been Cam Newton vs. Robert Griffin III.

    The two have been compared ever since Griffin was drafted. Now, Griffin has the opportunity to prove his talent yet again.

    If Griffin does his “usual,” then we’ll see 200-plus yards passing, 50-plusyards rushing and a touchdown through the air and his legs. You can’t ask for much more than that.