No video chat with a rival blogger this week. We are doing things the old-fashioned way, as Kevin Ewoldt of SB Nation's Washington Redskins website 'Hogs Haven' and I are doing a 'Five Questions' exchange this week. I don't know about you guys, but I find it sort of amazing that there is already an 'old-fashioned way' of doing things on the Internet.
Anway, below are the results of my chat with Kevin.
Ed: The Redskins beat the Giants twice last season. The Giants, obviously, remember that. Despite what the Giants did to the 49ers last week is there anything that makes you feel confident that the Redskins can come out on top again?
Kevin: Ed, as we know, with NFC East games you throw the stats out the window (unless Jim Zorn is your head coach or John Beck is your QB). The Redskins have the NFL's 4th best turnover ratio at +9. Numbers like that is what keeps Redskins in games no matter who the opponent is. The Redskins defense, on paper, looks pretty laughable but they have 4 defensive TDs this year. As you'll see first hand, the way Kyle Shanahan uses RGIII is virtually impossible to defend. Bring more defenders in the box to stop the option play? OK, Redskins will then use Griffin's NFL best 70% completion percentage to beat you. Eli Manning will surely have a fantasy dream day on Sunday, so RGIII needs to get it done weekly.
Ed: Let's get to the RGIII question. Describe if you can the impact Griffin has had on the franchise, the players around him, the fan base?
Kevin: It's truly indescribable, but I'll do my best. The Redskins fan base is a proud one given the decade long success of Hogs, so these last twenty years have been Swinging Gate painful. Any glimmer of hope we get (Sean Taylor, Joe Gibbs) seems to last too short. The Redskins have lacked a bona fide super star that truly is a hard-working, sincere man. Shortcuts like McNabb, Haynesworth, etc have all fallen flat. I vividly remember Scott Pioli saying at the combine that to be successful, your QB has to be your hardest working player. Rex Grossman, Donovan Wormball McNabb...umm, yea, not so much. RGIII is continually the first and last person at Redskins Park. He doesn't drink or ever go the clubs. He's extremely cerebral and was raised by military parents. From day one he commanded attention and his teammates work harder because of him. This city finally has a player again we can rally behind....that performs.
Ed: Other than the presence of RGIII what, in your mind, makes this Redskins team different than the Redskins teams of the past few years?
Kevin: It's been awhile since the Redskins have had a legit RB and WR threat. Alfred Morris is currently 4th in the NFL with 538 yards. His rushing reminds me of John Riggins. He will not stop on contact and that was evident in pre-season when he trucked Lance Briggs. No one does that to Briggs. Second, the Redskins have WR threats. Last season it was somewhere around week 14 where a Redskins WR ran a pass into the end zone. That's right...all WR TDs at that point where thrown in the endzone. Shanahan mastered his WR picks this year with WRs that 1.) had speed, and 2.) were exceptional blockers. Josh Morgan is a phenomenal blocker and played a huge part in that 76-yard TD run last week. It's what makes the option plays work so well. As for passing, the Redskins rank top 10 in passing plays over 20 yards and over 40 yards. These WRs can make plays after the catch (Aldrick Robinson, Hankerson, Josh Morgan, Garcon).
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in the Redskins' lineup who would it be? Why?
Kevin: As much as it pains me to say, Antrel Rolle. After Goodell laid the cap penalty on the Redskins and they signed Garcon to a big contract, that left pretty much nothing to fix our secondary after letting last year's starters Atogwe and Laron Landry go. Shanahan went dumpster diving and came up with Tanard Jackson (suspended indefinitely), Brandon Meriweather (hasn't played yet and injured knee and teammate in warmups), and Madieu Williams (former Viking and Bengal). Madieu Williams looks like he's wearing 20 pound cleats out there but shocked all of us with a pick-6 last week. The Redskins need safety help...bad...especially with the NFC East WRs.
Ed: Are there any 'under the radar' type players we might not be familiar with who we should watch for on Sunday?
Kevin: Giants fans will get to know Alfred Morris this Sunday. With Pierre Garcon out this week, I expect Aldrick Robinson, the 2nd year speedster from SMU, to get more time as well. Perry Riley, the ILB playing next to London Fletcher, has been spectacular this season.
Be sure to stop by Hogs Haven for my answers to Kevin's questions.