Washington Redskins Playmakers Who Must Shine Against Green Bay Packers
The defending division champs, a talented squad that was a year wiser, faced the rebuilding Eagles, who had a new coaching staff and new systems on both sides of the ball.
Few observers could have expected the Eagles offense to put on the explosive show it did during the first half of the game. Even fewer could have expected the Redskins to come out flat and stay that way for three quarters.
Washington will need big plays from their key players if they are to avoid an 0-2 record to start the season. The Green Bay Packers, fresh off a frustrating loss to the San Francisco 49ers, are standing in their way and will be hell bent on stopping Redskin playmakers from breaking open the game.
Here are the players for Washington who need to have big games against the Packers to put the Redskins back on track early in the season.
David Amerson and Baccari Rambo
The big-play, ball-hawking rookie additions to the secondary were largely silent in their regular-season debuts against the Eagles. Bacarri Rambo was active in terms of tackling, and even cashed in on a sack, but didn't produce the big turnovers that made him such an alluring late-round pick.
David Amerson had an opportunity for a big interception in the first half, but played the man too tight and overran the ball.
While there was nothing terrible about their play in Week 1, Amerson and Rambo need to produce turnovers if the Redskins are going to recover from their opening-day loss.
Shoulda-coulda-woulda been All-Pro tight end Fred Davis finished with two catches for 22 yards. Whether his uninspired outing is a credit to Philadelphia's defense or a poor reflection on Davis and the offense is debatable.
Davis, however, in Week 2 needs to do better than having little to no impact on the game.
Rookie tight end Jordan Reed had an impact—at least compared to Davis—hauling in five passes for 38 yards. Not world shaking, but Reed isn't supposed to be an elite-level tight end.
Against Green Bay, Davis may have a big day. The Packers gave up six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns to Vernon Davis in their Week 1 meeting. It isn't a trend yet, but Fred Davis needs to exploit the suspect Green Bay secondary in Week 2.
Robert Griffin III
Not quite a tale of two halves, but pretty close. Robert Griffin III looked absolutely horrendous in the first two-and-a-half quarters of play against the Eagles. There was no rhythm and no zip on his passes and miscommunication with his receivers appeared to be rampant.
In short, RGIII looked rusty, uncomfortable even, for the better part of his regular-season debut.
Griffin looked great down the stretch in the second half, hitting short passes, letting his receivers pick up yards after the catch and generally letting the game come to him. If the late third-, early fourth-quarter Griffin shows up, the Packers are going to have their hands full with a determined passer looking to strike big with his playmaking wideouts.
Griffin's biggest hurdle appears to be taking off and running. He doesn't look comfortable running with the brace on his surgically repaired knee, and defenses are going to pick up on that and not buy into the read-option or play-action passes that were so effective in 2012.
The Packers are angry after Colin Kaepernick carved up their defense to the tune of 412 yards passing and three scores. For Griffin to have a big day and rebound from the slow Week 1 start, the timing issues evident with him and the offense will need to be rectified.
Alfred Morris was not at fault for the sloppy pitch from Robert Griffin III that resulted in a first-half safety for the Eagles. The fumble on the Redskins' first offensive possession, though, was absolutely his fault; he didn't secure the ball before making a move into the Eagles' defensive front.
It was the first sign of trouble for Washington's offense, and it didn't get any better over the course of the game.
Morris did not get a lot of holes or cutback lanes to work with, so he never got into a rhythm. The Eagles defense played Washington's bread-and-butter stretch-running plays beautifully, holding Morris to 12 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Green Bay did an excellent job of bottling up Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore in Week 1, limiting the tandem to 66 yards rushing and the Niners offense to 90 total rushing yards.
Nothing about the way Morris ran or the way the offensive line blocked gives the impression that things will improve, but Morris needs to show more of his 1,613-yard self against Green Bay than he did in the opener.
DeAngelo Hall scored the Redskins only touchdown of the first half, which is fantastic in and of itself. However, he then proceeded to allow DeSean Jackson to catch seven passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, with a good deal of that damage coming in man coverage.
Jackson and Hall were jawing most of the night, but Jackson was clearly the better player on the field.
Hall was brought back to be a veteran presence, but after one game, he hasn't made a case for being the team's top cornerback.
Hall needs to step up his play and shut down either Nelson or Cobb to help his team win. Save the trash talk for the post game after the Redskins have put the finishing touches on a big win.
It is going to take some time for Brian Orakpo to make the sort of plays he made for most of his career before last season's injury. In a contract year, coming back from a season where he spent 14 games on IR, Orakpo is playing angry this season.
That anger and the prospect of a lengthy contract netted Orakpo a grand total of three tackles and no sacks.
Considering the Redskins defense was on the field for over 20 minutes in the first half alone, Orakpo had ample opportunities to make plays. He did a great job collapsing the pocket, but failed to pursue or get his hands on Michael Vick, who successfully broke containment on Orakpo's bull rushes.
Against the Packers, Orakpo will have an easier time corralling the less speedy but equally elusive Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked just twice by the Niners in Week 1.
The trouble is, Orakpo hasn't displayed the repertoire of pass-rush moves needed by a dominant outside linebacker.