1. Will the Redskins take them lightly?
I doubt it. If the Redskins
struggle it might be a result of the law of averages: one team coming
back down a little and the other team playing above its head. But
overconfidence? Don't think so. And I think that's why Jim Zorn did not
give them a ‘'Victory Monday''. As he said, ‘'We have a lot of work to
do.'' The coaches understand how dangerous a team like the Rams can be.
Might cause a chuckle in the media, but the scariest games to play are
the ones you're supposed to win big.
2. How much can we learn about the Redskins on Sunday?
A lot. This game
won't matter much in the grand scheme of things. It's not the win
anyone will remember (should they win, of course). But it's easy to go
to Dallas and Philly with a lot of excitement and motivation. It takes
a very focused team to whip up on St. Louis after those wins.
3. How effective can Jason Taylor be?
There has to be some residual
effect from his calf injury, if nothing else than pushing off it on an
inside rush. He'll also be a bit winded. It would be wise to limit him,
as they're expected to do. Might be smart to use him in a third-down
role and let Demetric Evans handle the heavy-lifting against the run.
But on third downs Taylor's presence sh
ould help clear a lane for
others. There's a reason they haven't had a sack with him out of the
lineup. Nobody was worried about Erasmus James or Chris Wilson.
4. Who will cover Torry Holt?
Carlos Rogers is expected to handle him.
Rogers has become so much better in man coverage and does not fall for
the double moves as often (still will on occasion; everyone does).
Outside of Holt, the Rams don't really have a threat at this position.
5. Can Steven Jackson hurt the Redskins?
Of course. He's an excellent
running back and is a threat catching or receiving. He can be a
big-time problem in space, so the Redskins must be wary of him on the
edge. They need to pinch the runs back to the middle. They can't let
the Rams do what the Giants did: crush them running off-tackle.
6. What's the concern defensively?
The young safeties. They're talented
and can make plays, but they'll be using two rookies among their top
three Sunday with Reed Doughty sidelined. They'll make a lot of
mistakes and LaRon Landry, don't forget, is only in his second year.
The Rams still have a quarterback capable of big games so they must be
careful in the back.
7. Can the Rams stop this offense?
There's no proof to suggest that
they can. The Rams have given up four touchdown drives of 83 yards or
more. Their offense has helped by turning the ball over for short
Ascoring drives by the opposition. Their corners -- are bad, though they
do have a talented end in Leonard Little. But it's hard to imagine them
stopping an offense with Washington's weapons. The Eagles had three
receivers surpass 100 yards against them. Two running backs (Brandon Jacobs, Julius Jones) averaged more than six yards a run against them.
Need we continue?
8. What's a matchup to watch?
Little vs. Jon Jansen. He's done pretty
well in his two starts for the injured Stephon Heyer. But coach Jim
Zorn is worried about his pass protection skills. This is a chance to
prove he can still handle that role against a top end. Little has
played only one full game and has two sacks. He's small, but quick.
9. What difference will Jim Haslett make for the Rams?
He's a better
coach than Scott Linehan. That means they'll probably be more prepared
and play with more energy. He also likes to be daring with on-side
kicks, etc. So beware of that. But he's not taking over the '91
10. Who will win?
Do we really need to say after previous nine topics?
This is an upset waiting to happen. Yes, once again the Rams will leave
a stadium upset. The Redskins are a good team and have a mature
attitude. Their coach will want to bury the Rams early; it's his
nature. It will happen. Al Saunders' return to Washington will be
spoiled (by the way, the players here liked him. They did not like that
the offensive philosophy was split between his and Joe Gibbs. The
players knew it and felt it; it led to an often sputtering attack. Back
to the prediction). OK, this is easy. Redskins 34, Rams 13.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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