The Washington Redskins finally got it done, on the road nonetheless. They stopped the skid for now by beating the New York Giants but now they return home, looking to give the fans at FedEx something to cheer for, all while avoiding the possibility of a trap game.
The Cleveland Browns season began spiraling out of control week one, when former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III got hurt. Now they are starting their 3rd string QB, rookie Cody Kessler and remain one of 4 unbeaten teams in the NFL.
Here’s what to look for in Sunday’s game at FedEx field as the Redskins look to even out the season.
1. Red Zone improvement
Last week against New York, the Redskins had no problem moving the ball downfield... but once they got inside the 20 yard line, everything seemed to fall apart offensively. Washington was 0-4 inside the Red Zone. They are currently ranked 31st in the league in Red Zone efficiency.
However, the Browns have given up an average of 28 points over the first 3 weeks of the season so it’s there for the taking. We know Kirk Cousins is capable of producing touchdowns inside the 20, he was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league last season. So somethings got to eventually break through, and this week is a great opportunity to get those problems rectified.
2. Injuries – Offensive line
Redskins may have gotten the win, but they didn’t come out of MetLife stadium unscathed. With 2 starters on the offensive line out, the Redskins need to do some shuffling.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger has been placed on injured reserves, and left guard Shawn Lauvao is out for now. So, as they say, it’s next man up. Those next men just happen to be two youngsters who the Redskins hope are ready. Spencer Long, who has 13 NFL starts under his belt at left guard, will fill in at center. Arie Kouandjio, a second year player, will make his NFL debut at LG. Keep an eye on how this revamped offensive line gels in their first game together.
3. Injuries – secondary
The O-line wasn’t the only area ravaged by injuries. The Redskins backfield took some hits too. Veteran safety DeAngelo Hall is out for the season with a torn achilles, CB Bashaud Breeland is out Sunday as is defensive back Dashaun Phillips. So, the Redskins having to do some more reshuffling. Will Blackmon is now the starting safety. CB Greg Toler and rookie Kendall Fuller will also see plenty of action against the Browns. The good news is, the back-ups had to step-up early in the New York game and didn’t provide much let down.
4. Terrelle Pryor
The Redskins revamped secondary will have to keep an eye on Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State quarterback, is what Washington head Coach Jay Gruden called “a special talent.” Last week, in the Browns overtime loss to Miami, Pryor played wide receiver and quarterback and racked up 200 yards of offense. Pryor said he is looking forward to matching up with Redskins’ Josh Norman. To prepare for Pryor, the Redskins had practice squad wide receiver, Kendal Thompson, who also played quarterback in high school, run the scout team.
5. Special K
The Redskins special teams unit has the NFC Special Teams player of the week and the month for a reason. Dustin Hopkins hit 5 field goals in his team’s win over the Giants. But he wasn’t the only one to come up with big plays. Punter Tress Way, turned QB for a moment and completed a long pass too Quinton Dunbar. The special teams unit has been solid and will have to be again if the Redskins offense can’t fix the aforementioned