This Thanksgiving let’s all take a moment to be thankful for the latest and greatest addition to the Redskins family: Robert Griffin III. Last week he led the team to a complete dominance over the Eagles and gave us bragging rights and a reason for optimism. Today he will face a much bigger challenge in perhaps the most important game of the season against the arch-rival Dallas Cowboys. Here are some of the things to watch for in this exciting Thanksgiving matchup.
Hope everyone has an excellent Thanksgiving!
Robert Griffin III will take on Rob Ryan’s defense
RGIII’s performance last week against the Eagles was undeniably amazing. But that was last week. Today he’ll face Rob Ryan’s defense and a whole new set of challenges. The Cowboys are ranked 6th in passing defense, while the Redskins have struggled without a clear breakout receiver and the absence of Fred Davis. Pierre Garcon played last week, but had a mostly underwhelming performance. Kyle Shanahan has stated that he can do more, which his preseason performance and chemistry with RGIII would seem to confirm as well.
Santana Moss proved once again last week that his years of wisdom and experience make him an invaluable part of the offense. His experience with the Dallas defense will make it all the more important that he have another strong game today. Aldrick Robinson, among others, will need to demonstrate the same level of quickness and speed as they did against the Eagles, as they will need to take advantage of every opportunity by beating defenders downfield.
A strong Dallas passing defense will also necessitate that Alfred Morris put up big numbers today. Trent Williams could also be a huge factor, as the offensive line will need to hold off an aggressive Cowboys defense long enough to allow Griffin to pass, or run, the ball.
The Redskins pass-rush has been mediocre at best without Orakpo. However last weeks game against the Browns showcased a Cowboys offensive line that might have just as many holes in it, allowing Romo to be sacked 7 times. The Skins defense brought great pressure against the Eagles, and could have success today with the blitz.
If Hall stays calm this week he could have another big game
Hopefully last week was a reminder to DeAngelo Hall that staying calm and collected while waiting for an opportunity is much more effective than letting his temper get the best of him. If he comes into this game projecting confidence and not desperation he could be a huge factor on defense, especially with Merriweather now out for the season.
Although the Redskins will be dealing with Tony Romo and not rookie Nick Foles this week, they will still have the potential for a lot of the same opportunities, as Romo has thrown 13 interceptions so far this season. However, one of the biggest challenges for the Redskins today will be with their pass defense. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin (as much as we as Redskins fans put them down) have the potential to walk all over the Skins secondary if they are not careful. And with Fletcher questionable in an already injury-ridden roster, everyone will need to step up on defense to make sure the Redskins stay in this game. They need to be better at not allowing big plays, something they have struggled with for the majority of the season.
The Redskins/Cowboys rivalry has always produced on-field intensity, for better or for worse. A major factor of this game, on both offense and defense, will be whether or not the Redskins can keep their tempers in check. They already lead the NFL in penalties, and are vulnerable to game-changing mistakes and outbursts. The leadership of the coaches and captains will be tested today, as they will try to channel the intensity of this rivalry into strong performances and successful plays.