The Redskins took a blow last week in a big win over Dallas as rookie defensive back Kyshoen Jarrett injured his shoulder and landed on the injured reserve. This week, the Washington defense will take on arguably the NFL's best quarterback in Aaron Rodgers without Jarrett, a player that was emerging as an important player for the 'Skins defense, especially in the nickel package.
Bashaud Breeland, the team's No. 1 cornerback, talked Wednesday about what it means for the team to lose Jarrett.
"It's tough," Breeland said. "He’s going to be missed, but like every injury we’ve had this year, it's next man up."
That next man up looks like a combination of Quinton Dunbar, another rookie who came to Redskins camp as a receiver, and veteran Cary Williams, who was signed on Tuesday. Williams is a veteran with playoff experience - he started at corner during the Ravens 2012 Super Bowl run - and Jay Gruden hinted that Williams could see significant snaps on Sunday vs Green Bay.
"He's a very confident corner, played a lot of ball," Gruden said of Williams. "We have confidence that he can pick this system up and contribute."
To a man, the guys in the Redskins locker room refused to act like losing Jarrett was a blow they could not handle.
"Whoever is on the field, we're gonna rally together," Breeland said.
As for the opponent, Rodgers presents a unique set of problems. The Packers QB can move out of the pocket without losing his vision downfield, creating problems for defenses as plays start to break down and receivers improvise to get open.
"When [Rodgers] gets out of the pocket they’re turning up field," Breeland said of the Packers. "We’ve got to do a better job of latching on to our guys when he’s outside the pocket."
Rodgers is also a master at drawing the defense offside, only he doesn't just take the penalty, the two-time MVP winner tries to go deep and take advantage of the free play.
"He’s got the best voice inflection of anybody we’ve faced. He’s perfect at it," Breeland said of Rodgers drawing defenders offside. "You gotta watch the ball. You can preach it all week in practice, but you just gotta watch the ball."
Because of his ability to move in and out of the pocket, Rodgers extends plays. But this season more than others, that hasn't always been a good thing. Rodgers has taken 14 sacks in the Packers last two games as Green Bay lost their grip on the NFC North.
"Once he gets out of the pocket he’s very athletic. He can stretch plays. He holds that ball, he really doesn’t get too rattled," Breeland said. "That makes him freaky."
While the Redskins respect Rodgers, the team also knows some opportunities might present themselves.
"Make him either throw it away or make an errant throw. When you get him rattled he tends to make a bad throw."
Rattling Rodgers is not easy, but if the Redskins can do it, a win Sunday might be in the cards.
"I'm excited," Breeland said. Sunday will mark the second year corner's first playoff game.
"Everything is on the table."