THIS week has to be about the sweep. Whether it’s a 64 – 0 blowout, or a 9 – 8 squeaker on a last second Field Goal, the “W” still counts the same. It’s that “W” that we need. Pretty, ugly, or pretty ugly, whatever. We just need the win.
Our mission is to keep this train moving downhill towards the playoffs. We have some momentum, we need to build on that by sweeping this team.
Since our last meeting, it seems like everyone has started at QB for the Redskins. Me, you, the guy over there watching you read this. The ‘skins handed a helmet to anyone who’d buy a $4 ticket, but were eventually forced to start the guy they drafted. Over the last 5 weeks he’s been abysmal, but he still has a 2 – 3 record. So we can’t take this team lightly.
Everyone wants to talk about how Week 16 is The Big One for us. Really until we actually qualify, each one of these game is “The Big One”. One loss could finish us for 2019. So not looking past Washington is imperative. We need to see THIS foe, and see them clearly.
For the last three years we’ve walked the Redskins on a leash. We need at least one more week of that. So Washington, congratulations. You now have our undivided attention.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Redskins:
1) Throw for Miles: As I always say, the Redskins using their OLB’s to generate pass rush leaves the Flats open. Normally I say we should exploit those areas with passes to TE Zach Ertz. That’s still a smart play, however, now we can also work in high percentage Swing passes to RB Miles Sanders. Better still. We can motion Sanders into the Slot, and create coverage mismatches vs their primary pass rushers. Let’s make it easy to score early.
2) Take the run away early: Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins is the sort of pick that gets GM’s fired. (Right, Bruce Allen?!) If we take away the run early, we put the game in their QB’s hands. At that point he’s likely to put the game in our hands. The idea is to jump out to a lead, and force an inaccurate rookie to play catch-up. At that point we need to switch out of our base concept, into a coverage concept that makes his life hard. But which coverage concept?
3) Play a lot of Cover Two: The Redskins shredded our Cover One concept the last time we saw them. We got ripped up like the new girl in an Amish whorehouse. You know what? Let’s pretend this week that we don’t have a learning disability. FS Rod McLeod has spent the last three years proving that since he’s just one guy, he can’t cover two sidelines at once. You can call me crazy, but it might be time to give him more help with that. Just a thought. No pressure. Not like it’s a must win game or anything.
4) Bombs away: If QB Carson Wentz has any chance of winning postseason games, he has to learn to use his weapons as weapons, and not as security blankets. He needs to be more aggressive with the football, and chuck that thing down the field more.
I’m a huge Wentz booster, but the fact is, there are holes in his game that come from not playing during this time of year. Playing this deep into the year with playoff implications, is brand spanking new to him. As a result, he still has to prove A) that he can last a season, B) that he can lead this team to the postseason, and C) that he can win in the postseason.
People often wonder why he never seems to have that “extra level”. It’s because he hasn’t been to the postseason yet. You know how they say that playoff ball is faster? Wentz is playing the fastest ball he’s ever seen so far. He hasn’t learned to process playoff ball yet. Once he’s had a taste, it’ll make the 2020 season seem slower and easier for him.
Playoff football is different than regular season football, and the coaching staff needs to start educating him about that, through how they game plan. They can’t prep him like it’s Week 8. The adage “Taking what the defense gives you”, is fine for Weeks 1 – 17, but now he needs to be shown how to impose his will. With the stakes being what they are, now is the best time to prime him.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
Washington uses an almost dead-even run/pass balance, to help protect their rookie QB. He’s not going to make the huge mistake, but he’s not going to make many plays either. However, versus a division rival who knows how, and where to hit, the Redskins should soon find themselves in quicksand that covers their bottom lip.
The mission is simple on this one Eagles: Don’t let people say…
Note: With the exception of this note, and the Prediction, I actually wrote all of this article BEFORE the giants game. I assumed we’d win, and the Eagles rewarded my fan swagger. Looking at the Four Things in this article however, you’d think I already knew that we’d lose WR Alshon Jeffery.
I was tempted to rework this one, and add a bunch of stuff about RB Boston Scott. However, I choose to let what I already wrote, stand for itself.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 27 – Redskins 17
This is the start of a potential new season. Wentz has the opportunity to create a his own identity with new players that are hungry to be employed. Win this and I think we have a winner take all game next week in Philly and then momentum can swing in our direction for an underdog playoff run.
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