This week, I was able to speak with Ryan again. We talked about the McNabb-Shanahan situation and what it may mean moving forward. We also did a bit of reflecting upon the last meeting as well as looking forward to this meeting. To finish off the interview, Ryan gives us a player to watch for the Redskins and predicts the final outcome.
BirdsFan: The big talk about the Redskins right now is Mike Shanahan’s decision on benching Donovan McNabb against the Lions. Give us your opinion on the matter. Do you agree with Shanahan’s decision?
RiggosRag: I did not agree. I always believe that you stay with the guy who brought you to the dance. I understand that this was a desperation move, and done with the best interests of the team in mind. Was it well thought out? Probably not and the 'Skins will have to deal with this.
BF: Moving forward, how do you see the McNabb-Shanahan relationship progressing? If the team had to pick one to stay and one to go, who would be hitting the road?
RR: Well I think it will smooth over inside Redskins park. Both Shanahan and McNabb are true professionals and will make it work. However, I do not think I can say McNabb’s stay here will be as long as Shanny’s.
BF: The Redskins were able to take the first game this year against the Eagles. Since then, where have the Redskins improved? Where have they declined?
RR: The Redskins have improved on defense. They have made adjustments. However, they have regressed on offense. The will need more production out of their offensive line to have a chance against Philly’s stout D.
BF: Looking at the NFL as a whole, what are your thoughts on the issue of player protection and the rash of fines going around? Do you think it’s starting to take away from the game?
RR: Yes and no. First the no. I think the health of the players is always tops. That said, the QB call on Trent Cole on Manning was garbage. Calls like that make the NFL look rigged.
BF: Barring an injury, the Redskins will see Michael Vick for the entire game on Monday, something they didn’t get to experience in the first meeting. What do you expect the Redskins to do in order to try and shut down Vick?
RR: Give him room. The plays where the 'Skins were effective on defense were when Vick was comfortable in the pocket. That continued with Kolb entering the game as Maclin and Jackson were both shut down. Where Vick almost killed the 'Skins is when he got loose. However, he ended up jacked up!
BF: On Sunday, where will the Redskins have an advantage on offense? On defense?
RR: The running game. The run game set everything up last game and the 'Skins need to be faithful to it. On defense the 'Skins need to stay at home and be ready to make adjustments. The Eagles are all about being unexpected. Anyone can break out. If the 'Skins are on to it, I think they can hang in there. Just like last game.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
RR: On offense? Where to start? Vick? LeSean McCoy? Jackson and Maclin? The Eagles have great offensive personnel, given they have the right matchups. Last time that favored Washington, but this time around I expect adjustments from Andy Reid. Brent Celek, I feel, may be a big key factor in this game. On defense, the Eagles will pressure the offensive line. The Lions exposed us for a garbage line and I fear the Eagles are ready to have their shot.
BF: What player could be a potential X-factor for the Redskins on Sunday?
RR: Clinton Portis, if he plays. McNabb needs him in the backfield—to protect him.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
RR: 33-10 Eagles. The Redskins took a step back last game, Eagles have taken many steps up. Plus I picked the Eagles last time and I really liked the outcome.
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