1. Will the Redskins take them lightly?
I didn't think so and I'm not sure that they did. Maybe Clinton Portis did, but he had a terrific day. But there wasn't a perceptible change in the locker room throughout the week. Maybe the change was more in St. Louis finally having a real coach. The Redskins coaches, at least Greg Blache, was clearly stressed about this game. But his defense, save for the last drive, played well. But if LaRon Landry and London Fletcher hold onto their interceptions, no one would be asking about a letdown. Maybe the way they scored their first touchdown gave them a false sense of security in this game. Maybe they relaxed a bit mentally.
2. How much can we learn about the Redskins on Sunday?
We learned a lot. We learned they're not ready for the Super Bowl. But who is after Sunday? Dallas? (Put that in there to make you feel better; you're welcome). What Sunday shows is that the Redskins aren't going to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. The Patriots of last year would not have lost this game. The Redskins aren't the Patriots of last year. But they can still reach 6-2. Before, the next two weeks looked like layups; not anymore. We learned that the Redskins aren't good enough to overcome silly mistakes or lose the turnover battle and still win. Now I suppose we8 0ll learn even mor e this week. If it's another close game against bad team at home, then maybe the Redskins were simply a team that had a good start but couldn't sustain it. We'll see.
3. How effective can Jason Taylor be?
Did he play? Oh, yeah, he did. Taylor was used at both ends, but did not make any sort of impact. He did have a few nice plays against the run and there was more pressure on the quarterback. But give him credit for playing as much as he did. You wonder how off he is given that he missed a little time in camp because of his knee and then missed two weeks with his calf.
4. Who will cover Torry Holt?
Carlos Rogers, as we said, covered him. He did a good job, too, as Holt only caught five passes for 23 yards.
5. Can Steven Jackson hurt the Redskins?
The Redskins mostly did a good job on Jackson, a very effective back. They pinched him to the middle on most occasions and caught him with some backside blitzes by safety Chris Horton. Jackson had some good runs, but he's an excellent back so that's to be expected. His longest run, though, was only nine yards. We'll say this: they defended him well enough to win the game.
6. What's the concern defensively?
We thought it would be the young safeties. But they really weren't an issue until late because of how they were used – mostly in the box. Chris Horton and Kareem Moore were used up close often. Horton wo uld drop deep on occasion and at least once lined up in the short middle, almost as a linebacker. This group was not picked apart. However, Moore froze on the 43-yard pass late in the game, not blitzing when he was supposed to. It could have resulted in a sack, forcing a fourth and real long. Part of the growing process.
7. Can the Rams stop this offense?
There was no proof that they could. Yet they did. The three turnovers helped greatly, but then again one turnover set up their first touchdown. Portis still had a good game, but the passing attack was not strong. Santana Moss was ineffective as the Rams again rolled coverage his way. The Redskins can't continue to allow this to happen. But the real dagger was the turnovers – all of which occurred in St. Louis territory and one of which was returned 75 yards for a touchdown. The game changed in that moment, giving St. Louis more than enough life.
8. What's a matchup to watch?
We thought Leonard Little vs. Jon Jansen. Little was not always in the game, but was in there enough and finished with two tackles and a sack. We have to watch the game again to accurately gauge Jansen's effectiveness, but he was not being manhandled by any means. He seemed to have the same kind of game as the rest of the line: a bit uneven.
9. What difference will Jim Haslett make for the Rams?
We knew he was a better coach than Scott Linehan. But we also knew the Rams were a bad team. Clearly, Haslett had a positive influence. But when you have the turnovers Washington did, any coach will look pretty good.
10. Who will win?
For heaven's sake, do not wager on our picks anymore. But did anyone really see this one coming? We thought the Redskins' mature attitude would carry them through. Wrong. We thought Al Saunders' return would not mean much. Well, we were mostly right. The Rams' O didn't do anything until the final drive. We thought the Redskins would score 34 points and only got halfway there.
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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