1. We asked: Will the Redskins starting line be OK this week?
We thought they would be. We were a little wrong. Casey Rabach was inactive after telling everyone all week that he would play; the coaches thought he would, too. But once he was downgraded on Saturday, that was a bad sign. Everybody else played. The Redskins handled the pass protection well, but the running game still struggles from inconsistency and missing Rabach did not help. At times, his replacement, Mike Pucillo, struggled with nose tackle Gabe Watson.
2. We asked: Will Kurt Warner play -- and be effective?
We doubted how effective he would be given the state of his left arm. Turns out he can still play; what a tough competitor. Warner did make some mistakes when pressured -- that's what he always does. The Redskins picks came when the line applied pressure, forcing Warner to throw sooner than he wanted and into crowds. But once he got on a roll, it was hard to stop him. He threw for 211 yards after halftime.
3. We asked: Any other injury concerns?
Linebacker Marcus Washington did not play, but his replacements (Randall Godfrey and rush end Chris Wilson) were just fine. The guy I worry about now is Santana Moss. Clearly he's still not right. When he's hurt at all, his effectiveness goes way down, like it is now.
4. We asked: Will Shawn Springs play?
We didn't know until Saturday and it's a good thing he arrived considering Fred Smoot hurt his hamstring again. Springs did not enter in the first nickel package, Leigh Torrence did. But Torrence was beaten badly on his one snap (called back for a penalty, but the point was made). Springs made a couple key stops on receiver screens and was highly effective.
5. We asked: What's different about the Cardinals?
We thought it was their pass protection. The Redskins usually rushed four linemen and sometimes three. They sacked Warner once and Andre Carter forced a fumble on the play. Warner gets rid of the ball fast, but his line held up fine. But on both interceptions, he was pressured.
6. We asked: What makes this offense difficult?
We thought it was Edgerrin James, who makes the offense multi-dimensional. The Redskins did an excellent job against him, thanks to the linemen occupying blocks and London Fletcher flying all over the place. He reacts as fast as any linebacker to plays off the edge and is difficult to block in that circumstance.
7. We asked: What is the concern with Arizona's defense?
We thought it was their pass rush, especially Darnell Dockett, who entered with six sacks. The line did a decent job in protection, but Washington only passed 18 times. The Cards sacked Jason Campbell once. The Redskins used an ultra-conservative game plan on purpose and it almost cost them.
8. We asked: Where should Washington attack?
We thought they should run the ball up the middle, where Arizona was weaker. Um, wrong. At least this past Sunday when the Cards stuffed the ground game even while playing mostly cover 2. They entered having allowed 4.4 yards per carry and the Redskins managed
only 2.6 on 28 runs. When three-fifths of the line should be backups, that's the result.
9. We asked: Who will have a big game?
My heart said Moss. I'm not listening to my heart anymore. Moss had two catches for eight yards. But in truth, nobody on the offense played well enough to have a big game. It was an ugly effort.
10. We asked: Who will win?
We said the Redskins would win, 24-9. We did not think the Cards' offense would be that good with either banged-up Kurt Warner or career backup Tim Rattay. The Redskins left points on the field and should have won easily but instead needed a missed 55-yarder at the buzzer to win.
Ten Spot Review: Redskins 21, Cardinals 19
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