Nickel Package: 5 Current Redskins Topics

John Keim analyzes five topics: Collins, Back to Work, Playoffs, Run Woes and Injuries.

1. Todd Collins.

In his first relief appearance in Washington, Collins earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He deserved it for how well he played. Collins clearly isn't as athletic as Jason Campbell and lacks his upside. But he gives Washington someone who knows this offense inside and out. He delivered the ball in great rhythm the other night and knew where he wanted to go with each pass. With Collins, the Redskins can use more five- and six-man protections, relying on his ability to make sight adjustments and hot reads. But it'll be interesting to see how he handles New York's pass rush Sunday. The Giants have 47 sacks.

2. Back to work.

The Redskins returned to the facility today after taking the weekend off. It was a needed break given all they've been through. And it had the feeling of a bye week. But it was clear the players were ready to come back. There was an 11 a.m. team meeting. Before that there was an open locker room session from 10 to 10:45. In the past, many players would have shown up much closer to 11 – some media members put the over-under on players in the locker room at 4 – but the majority were in there. Says something about their desire to return to work.

3. The playoffs.

With Detroit and Arizona losing, the Redskins took a step up in the playoff race. But New Orleans holds the tiebreaker over them should both teams win out. The Saints have the easier schedule, with no games against teams with a winning record. The Redskins have dug themselves and awfully deep hole.

4. Run woes.

The Redskins have averaged around 73 yards rushing a game the past four games, a paltry sum and it partially explains their 1-3 record in that time. That must change. One reason the past two games have produced sub-par performances is how teams have played them. Chicago slanted its line more than other teams had and both the Bears and Bills played their linebackers closer to the line. That's produced problems in terms of opening cutback lanes.

5. Injury update.

Right tackle Todd Wade said he was healthy enough to play against Chicago, but the coaches made him inactive anyway. They'll need a healthy Wade against Michael Strahan. Hard to imagine Stephon Heyer going against Strahan. Heyer too often looks off-balance as he continues to learn the position. Right guard Randy Thomas said he's not sure of his status, saying his elbow is still a little swollen. He said he felt rusty last week against the Bears.

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