Season Preview: Washington Redskins

Warpaint Illustrated beat writer Mike Nugent continues his series, taking a look at each of the Kansas City Chiefs' non-divisional opponents. Today's team: the Washington Redskins.

In week five, the Kansas City Chiefs will continue their tour of the NFC East, hosting the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are an enigmatic team, talented, yet struggling to form that talent into a cohesive unit under head coach Joe Gibbs. On the surface, it would appear that the game has passed Gibbs by while he spent a decade away from football, but Gibbs, a Hall of Fame coach, is too good to allow the ‘Skins to be down for too long. Last season, the Redskins were 6-10, good enough for last place in the division.

Team Preview:
The Redskins last season were like the Bizzaro Chiefs: great on defense and terrible on offense. If that trend continues into this season, this will make an interesting game, pitting one team's strength against the other. The main question in D.C. is can Joe Gibbs finally pull all the pieces together and get the players to buy into his philosophy.

Offensively, the Redskins have put a halt on the revolving quarterback door and named Patrick Ramsey the starter. Ramsey has a pair of speedy new receivers, Santana Moss and David Patten, to stretch the field, if the offensive line can hold up. The ‘Skins are still waiting for offensive tackle Chris Samuels to live up to his immense potential. Of course, the player that gives the Chiefs nightmares is running back Clinton Portis, who torched the Chiefs as regularly as he put on pads. Portis was a Chiefs killer while wearing the blue and orange of the Broncos. His rare breakaway speed always proved much more than the Chiefs could handle.

On defense, the Redskins boast one the league's most athletic units, with linebacker Lavar Arrington leading the charge. The most impressive stat about the Washington defense is how tough they are on third down. Last season, the Redskins were second in the league in third down conversions, allowing a meager 31 percent conversion rate. Surprisingly, the Redskins don't force a high number of turnovers, stealing the football 27 times, good enough to settle them in the middle of the pack.

Extra Points:
The loss of cornerback Fred Smoot this offseason will hurt. Eventually, rookie Carlos Rogers will replace him, but while Rogers is developing, veteran Walt Harris will hold down the spot opposite Shawn Springs. Patrick Ramsey cannot allow himself to get caught up in the numbers game at quarterback. It will be interesting to see how short a leash the coaching staff will have on the beleaguered quarterback. With this year's first round draft pick Jason Campbell and veteran Mark Brunell waiting in the wings, Ramsey could wind up on the bench quickly, which honestly, is a shame.

Bottom line:
This game is going be determined on third down. The Chiefs are among the league's best at converting third downs. If Kansas City can string long drives together and wear down the Redskin defense, the Chiefs will win this game. Defensively, the Chiefs must contain Clinton Portis and get the defense back on the field as quickly as possible.

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