Behind Enemy Lines: Inside Washington

Was Washington's rally last week legit? Will RGIII remain a running threat with a less-than-full-strength knee and after defenses had all offseason to adjust? And do the Redskins have the weapons on offense to replicate the 49ers' success?

Packer Report's Bill Huber goes Behind Enemy Lines with the Washington Post's Keith McMillan. For more, CLICK HERE

The Redskins were terrible in the first half and really good in the second against the Eagles. Is there momentum they can ride into this game, or was that sort of a bogus rally with the Eagles in such control?

Keith: I'm not sure it even matters whether the rally was real or bogus because the Redskins believe in it. So there's momentum, in the sense that players — at least judging by everything coming out of open locker room and off the podium this week — have mostly bought into the concept that it wasn't the Eagles that outplayed them, that it was just an off night. The first step to the Redskins being able to play with the Packers is putting last week out of mind, and they seem to have done that. Players believe they can beat the Packers if they don't start so poorly.

Robert Griffin III set a rookie rushing record for a quarterback last season. With the read-option not quite as fresh as it was last year, with the NFL allowing some leeway to hit quarterbacks and with him coming off a serious knee injury, what's the feeling on how much he'll run — not necessarily on Sunday but for the season?

Keith: I don't think RGIII is going to keep it much on designed plays until he's all the way right, and he looked tentative at times in Week 1. But he's definitely going to take off and run if the pocket collapses. That's part of his game that he's not going to scrub clean, he's just going to be more conscious about getting out of bounds or down rather than fighting for extra yards. I can see Washington running some reads, and the play doesn't predetermine whether the QB keeps it, so Griffin may run it just enough to force defenses to respect it, if its there. The play he won't run is the quarterback draw. That's the designed play that got him hit hardest last season.

Does Washington have the weapons to replicate San Francisco's success last week?

Keith: I took a little bit of heat on The Washington Post's blog's comments for saying Pierre Garçon and Fred Davis can come close to Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. More accurately, I guess, Washington's top guys are not as good as San Francisco's, but they are deeper. Santana Moss is dangerous from the slot, third-down back Roy Helu Jr. can hit a big play as a change of pace from Alfred Morris and they have some versatile tight ends with wide receiver speed. Plus Garçon and Josh Morgan block downfield on running plays. Washington's weapons are more spread out and subtle than San Francisco's.

The Redskins are going with some youngsters on the back end. Can they hold up against the Aaron Rodgers-led passing attack?

Keith: What's weird is David Amerson and Baccari Rambo haven't had big issues in coverage in the preseason or Week 1. It's been Rambo's tackling in the open field that's hurt the defense the most, so if you get Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson or Eddie Lacy in space with the ball, a short gain could become a big one. Amerson looks like a legitimate ballhawk, though.

What's a matchup or two the Redskins have to win to spring the upset on Sunday?

Keith: The Redskins have to help their back end out with pressure. Ryan Kerrigan is holding up his end of the bargain, but a Brian Orakpo game against the Packers' tackles could make a big difference. On the flipside, if Jermichael Finley is himself, there's a soft spot to exploit in the middle of the Redskins defense. London Fletcher is still a tackling machine but can be beaten in coverage, and the safeties are inexperienced, but the Packers have to get the right matchup.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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