Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Redskins, Part 4

In this exclusive preview of Sunday's Seahawks-Redskins game, Doug Farrar of Seahawks.NET and Rich Tandler of Warpath Insiders go back and forth with twenty questions about their respective teams. In Part Four of a four-part series, Tandler answers five more of Farrar's questions about the Redskins.

.NET: Washington is known as a team led by its defense, to be sure – from a personnel standpoint, who makes that defense go? What is the current status and effectiveness of the marquee guys – LaVar Arrington, Sean Taylor and Shawn Springs?

Warpath: Actually, you didn't name the D's two best players, linebacker Marcus Washington and tackle Cornelius Griffin. Shaun Alexander will find it to be tough running to Washington's side as he's a triple threat in pass coverage, as a run stuffer, and blitzing the quarberback, and up the middle where Griffin blows up plays with regularity. Washington was the team's lone Pro Bowl representative last year and Griffin's omission from the Pro Bowl roster was a felony.

Which brings us to Taylor (rim shot, please). Actually, if it can be said that being charged with a serious crime (and, by the way, it's unlikely that he'll serve any serious jail time when all is said and done) can do somebody some good it can be said of Sean Taylor. He seems to be a changed person from last year, friendlier and more mature. And you probably didn't see it on all of the highlights, but the third-most important play in Monday nights game came when Taylor prevented a first down in Washington territory after Moss' second TD by separating Dallas' Crayton from the ball with a jarring hit.

Springs hasn't been heard from much this year which, for a corner, is a good thing. He tied with Griffin for the team lead in sacks last year and he hasn't scored one yet this season, so look out Matt Hasselbeck!

Arrington hasn't been heard from much this year and, for a linebacker, that's not a good thing, especially one who is coming off of missing most of last year with a knee injury. Journeyman Warrick Holdman is starting in Arrington's spot and by all indications LaVar is OK with that. Arrington seems to be near 100% physically, but it's hard to judge since he has seen such limited action. With his hefty contract (signed under the Spurrier regime) it seems likely that he will see more and more action, but that's not certain. Stay tuned.

.NET: Washington’s offense is known to have issues…but the win over Dallas two Mondays ago displayed an ability to go deep very effectively with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Mark Brunell to Santana Moss. RB Clinton Portis has rushed for 173 yards total in two games and hasn’t managed to score a touchdown. What are the issues behind this “feast or famine” offense?

Warpath: Anyone who could answer that question would have Dan Snyder's private jet Redskins One dispatched to his hometown and would be given the Key to the City of Washington, along with considerable cash and other perks. It just seems when one aspect of the offense goes right (and this is going back to last year, of which the first game plus 55 minutes of this season were a continuation) another goes wrong, or a penalty flag drops.

It just might be that the offense has needed a spark and if two TD's in 71 seconds to win a game that looked lost doesn't provide that the Skins just may have to try to talk Riggins, Theismann, Jacoby, and Grimm out of retirement.

.NET: Besides Moss and Portis, is there anyone else on the offensive side of the ball that might give Seattle trouble?

Warpath: Ex-Patriot WR David Patten (to clarify, he used to play for New England, he didn't renounce his US citizenship) is nearly as fast as Moss and made a lot of big plays for the Pats in their three Super Bowl seasons. If the Seahawks are a bit too afraid of Moss, Patten could burn them.

H-Back Chris Cooley is a favored end zone target. So might be Sean Taylor, who lined up at receiver for a few plays inside the Chicago 10 in the opener. He could provide a difficult matchup for Seattle's athletic but small corners.

.NET: Washington’s offensive line has been a source of concern in the D.C. media of late. What are the problems there, and is this an offense that can be easily upset by the blitz? Do they have strategic counters in place to make teams pay for bringing quick pressure? Is there any reason not to blitz Mark Brunell repeatedly?

Warpath: While I think that the problems on the line have been overblown by some in the media here, I don't think that the group is playing fully to its potential either. I said in our last Q&A that the O-line can be an elite unit, but they're not there yet. The inconsistent play of the line reflects the problems of the entire offense (or, perhaps more accurately, are one of the prime causes of them). It seems that on one play they blow the defense a couple of yards off the line, and on the next, there is defensive penetration all over the place.

If I were Ray Rhodes, I would blitz extensively. There wasn’t a blitz on by Dallas for the two TD passes to Moss, so it wasn’t as though the Cowboys paid for blitzing Brunell and it paid off for them with a large number of sacks and hurries. The Redskins did show a good screen during the preseason, but they have yet to make a team really pay for either stacking the line or blitzing since Gibbs came back.

.NET: How is the more educated Washington fan looking at this game? A tough matchup, or an automatic win?

Warpath: When the schedule came out, the kneejerk reaction was, "Seattle can't win on the road. Win." As the game approaches, however, most realize that the Redskins will very much have their hands full. Most view it as a game between two teams in the muddled middle of the NFL with the Redskins having a defense that should be able to contain Seattle's primary offensive weapons plus the home field. Bottom line, most think that the Redskins will win, but very few would be shocked if the Seahawks prevailed.


Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Redskins, Part One

Behind Enemy Lines: Seahawks/Redskins, Part Two

Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free to e-mail him at

Rich Tandler is the Managing Editor of Warpath Insiders,'s comprehensive Redskins website. You can e-mail Rich at Top Stories