It’s Game Day and therefore, time to take a final preview at today’s opponent for the Denver Broncos. The Washington Redskins come to town, bringing former head coach Mike Shanahan and an 11.5 point Handicap. The crowd at Mile High will meet the Mastermind with a Sea of Orange and a fitting video tribute to a man who was largely responsible for bringing a pair of Lombardi trophies to the Rocky Mountain region.
Here is how the Redskins breakdown.
The Quarterback and undisputed leader of the Redskins is Robert Griffin III. RGIII has had a slow start because he was coming off injuries to his ACL and LCL ligaments in his right knee suffered near the end of last season. His passing numbers are 143 of 238 for 1,746 yards, a 60.1% Completion Rate, 8 TDs. 6 INTs and an 83.4 Passer Rating. Robert has been Sacked 11 times this year. His backups are Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman.
The Running game starts with RGIII, who has 233 yards on 38 carries (6.1 avg), but Alfred Morris is the guy. Morris has 472 yards and 3 Touchdowns on 91 carries (5.2 avg). Roy Helu (31 car, 129 yds, 4.2 avg and 4 TDs) is a viable 3rd option who had a 95 yard-3 TD day against Chicago last week.
Pierre Garcon leads the Redskins in receiving with 40 catches for 466 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Josh Morgan (10 rec, 121 yds) starts at the other Wideout spot. Leonard Hankerson (18 rec, 247 yds, 2 TDs) is Questionable with a foot injury and Santana Moss (17 rec, 214 yds, 1 TD) has been relegated to part-time Slot Receiver. Aldrick Robinson (3 rec, 88, yds, 1 TD) is currently the 4th receiver with Hankerson on the mend. Rookie Jordan Reed has been the surprise weapon at Tight End for the Washington Offense. He is 2nd on the team in Receiving with 26 catches for 298 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Logan Paulsen (8 rec, 110 yds) is the other Tight End featured now that Chris Cooley has retired and the team seems to be moving on from Fred Davis. Roy Helu (12 rec, 131 yds) and Alfred Morris (3 rec, 22 yds) are targets coming out of the backfield.
The starting Front five for Washington are LT Trent Williams (1 False Start, 1 Hold, 1 Sack Allowed), LG Kory Lichtensteiger (1 Hold, 1 SA), C Will Montgomery (3 Penalties, 1 FS), RG Chris Chester (1 FS, 2 Hold) and RT Tyler Polumbus (1 FS, 1 Hold, 1 SA). Lichtensteiger and Polumbus are former Broncos. Montgomery has a dinged up Knee, but is listed as Probable on this week’s Injury Report. All five starters have played every snap so far this season, something the Broncos only wish they could claim.
The Redskins, like last week’s opponent, the Colts, show a 3-4 front in their Base Defensive look. The big bodies up front tie up Offensive Linemen so their Linebackers can make the Tackles. That holds true as 3 of the 4 leading tacklers for Washington are Linebackers. Still, this unit is 30th in the league, allowing just over 30 points a game. It should also be noted, that 3 out of the Redskins 4 Interceptions were “Pick Sixes.”
The starting trio on the Line are Nose Tackle Barry Cofield (12 TKL, 1 TFL, 3.0 SK, 4 QBH, 11 Hur, 1 FR), LE Kedric Golston (12 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 QBH, 5 Hur) and RE Stephen Bowen (15 TKL). Cofield is the pressure guy and the other players key off him. Chris Baker (8 TKL, 1 SK, 1 Hur) has been used sparingly.
Ryan Kerrigan (28 TKL, 4 TFL, 5.5 SK, 4 QBH, 21 Hur, 2 Batted Passes, 2 FF) and Brian Orakpo (21 TKL, 3 TFL,3 SK, 8 QBH, 18 Hurr, 3 PBU, 1 INT, 1 TD) man the left and right Outside Linebackers spots and are the two key pass rushers and a formidable pair. London Fletcher (46 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 SK, 2 QBH, 1 Hur, 1 FF) and Perry Riley Jr. (51 TKL, 2 TFL, 2 SK, 5 QBH, 3 Hur, 1 PBU, 1 FR) are the inside Linebackers and lead the Redskins in Tackles. Fletcher, 38 and in his 16th year, is staving off Father time by seldom being out of position. as Nick Barnett (4 TKL) Darryl Tapp (4 TKL, 1 SK) are the reserves.
The starting Cornerbacks for the Redskins are DeAngelo Hall (30 TKL, 1 FF, 1 FR, 6 PBU, 1 INT, 1 TD) and Josh Wilson (32 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 SK, 3 QBH, 2 Hur, 2 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR). Rookie David Amerson (20 TKL, 1 QBH, 5 PBY, 1 INT, 1 TD) has played quite a bit as well. E.J. Biggers (11 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 PBU) and Jerome Murphy (4 TKL,) are the backups. As a general rule, Hall has followed the opposing team’s #1 Wideout. Josh Wilson has been used a lot in the Slot, but Hall, Wilson and Amerson have all worked there.
The Safety situation is where things are a mess. Starting Free Safety Brandon Meriweather (24 TKL, 1 Hur) won’t be playing this Sunday because he hasn’t learned how to Tackle within league rules. Strong Safety Reed Doughty (26 TKL, 1 PBU) has been ruled out of the game due to a Concussion, leaving Rookie FS Bacarri Rambo (18 TKL, 1 SK), SS Jose Gumbs (9 Snaps, 2 TKL) and Trenton Robinson (1 Special Teams Tackle) for Peyton Manning to exploit.
Kai Forbath is the Kicker for the ‘Skins. He is 4 of 6 (66.7%) with a long of 38 yards this season and 10/10 on Extra Points. Forbath has only played 3 games this season do to a Groin injury, but has been active for the last two games. In his 2nd year, Kai was 17 of 18 in 2012 with a long of 50 yards. He has Kicked off 17 times in 2013, Six went for Touchbacks and 10 were returned an average of 24.5 yards. His kicks land around the 11 yard line. Forbath doesn’t have as big a leg as some NFL kickers, but he is accurate, which is all an aggressive coach like Mike Shanahan needs.
Sav Rocca does the Punting and Holding on Placekicking Attempts for Washington. He has punted 28 times with a Gross average of 42.1 yards and a 32.5 Net. He has place 9 Inside the 20 yard line and caused 9 Fair Catches. 11 of his punts have been returned an average of 21.6 yards. The Redskins have allowed returns for Touchdowns in each of the last two games, giving up more than 100 combined return yards to both Dwayne Harris and Devin Hester.
Rocca also had one of his punts blocked into the End Zone for a score during Week 4 in Oakland. This is why the Washington Special Teams Unit is ranked last in the league. Trindon Holliday has to be licking his chops.
The Long Snapping Specialist for the Redskins is 2nd year man, Kyle Nelson out of New Mexico State. He has bounced around the Practice Squads in Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans since July of 2011 before signing with the Washington Redskins on October 15, 2013. Nelson has yet to record his first career Tackle.
Rookie Running Back Chris Thompson and Wide Receiver Josh Morgan have handled most of the Return duties for Washington this season. Thompson has returned 7 Punts for 5.1 yards, with 1 Fair Catch and a long of 11 yards. Morgan has fielded 4 Punts for a 4.3 average. As a team, the Redskins average 4.8 yards per Punt return.
On Kickoffs, Chris Thompson has returned 8 opportunities for a 20.0 yard average and Josh Morgan has run back 6 tries for a 19.3 average. The team average is 19 yards per Kick return.
The Coverage Unit is led by Niles Paul (5 TKL), Bryan Kehl (4 TKL) and Jerome Murphy (4 TKL).
While I don’t expect this game to be a walk in the park, the Broncos should prevail. My only real concern for Denver is the Pass Blocking against Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo and Barry Cofield. Of course, holding onto the ball would be helpful as well as preventing undisciplined and unnecessary Personal Foul penalties.
Defensively, the Broncos will need to pay close attention to RG III since the Read-Option from the Pistol keys off him. Denver has the talent to cover the Washington Receivers, but keep an eye on rookie Tight End Jordan Reed, who caught 9 passes for 134 yards and a Touchdown last week against the Bears. I believe Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan are quick enough to handle Reed, but opposing Tight Ends have given the Broncos fits for quite awhile.
– Kaptain Kirk