Here is what you need to know on Thursday, September 20, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Green Bay Packers.
At 1-1 with Aaron Rodgers coming to town, the Redskins are under pressure to win. The spotlight will shine brighter on these players on Sunday afternoon.
—Against the Colts, QB Alex Smith didn’t lose the game but he didn’t do much to lift the team, either. In particular, the 0-2 in the red zone was damaging with both failures coming at key points in the game. That’s not all on Smith, but when the running game is struggling like it was on Sunday he has to elevate the team. He didn’t. He will have to play better—much better—if the Redskins are going to outscore the Packers.
—The talk of Hogs 2.0 has just got to stop until the Redskins’ offensive line strings together a bunch of good games in a row. They were both beaten physically and out schemed against the Colts. That’s why the running backs had two rushing yards at halftime and only 22 for the game. All this took place while the Colts sat back in a soft Cover 2 zone, a defense that you should be able to run against.
—While many fans are complaining about the output of Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, who is usually the volume receiver in the offense, has the same number of catches as Doctson (5) for fewer yards (48-40). Crowder didn’t play at all in the preseason and missed considerable camp practice time with an undisclosed injury. Perhaps he just needs some time to get going. With the Packers coming to town, the Redskins will have to put up a lot of points to win and now would be a great time for Crowder to have a big game.
—It’s hard to rattle Aaron Rodgers but like any quarterback, he doesn’t like immediate pressure in his face. It’s time for first-round picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne to step up. Or, rather, they need to step forward and disrupt Rodgers if he tries to get rid of the ball quickly. We need to see either Payne registering his first career sack or Allen get his the second of his career and his first in a year (first was Week 3). Or, preferably, both.
—The entire defensive backfield will be under pressure against Rodgers, tight end Jimmy Graham and receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. To pick one, I’ll go with Montae Nicholson. He hasn’t played poorly in the first two games. Some have blamed him for Andrew Luck’s two TD passes, but one was just a perfect throw and one was a pick that worked to perfection. Regardless, he is supposed to be an impact play guy and he doesn’t have any big hits or takeaways through two games and a game-changing play from him would help.
Injuries of note
Did not practice: S Troy Apke (hamstring), LB Zach Brown (oblique), G Shawn Lauvao (calf), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder)
Limited: Brandon Scherff (knee), Trent Williams (knee)
Today: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3 p.m.
Upcoming: Packers @ Redskins (Sept. 23) 3; Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 18; Cowboys @ Redskins 31
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