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Need to Know: Five questions about Redskins vs. Texans

Sep 3, 2014, 5:01 AM EST

Andre-Johnson

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 3, four days before the Redskins open their season against the Texans.

Nickel coverage

Here are five questions about the Redskins-Texans matchup this Sunday

How will they control J. J. Watt? The $100 million man probably is going to pressure Robert Griffin III on multiple occasions but the Redskins aren’t completely helpless. Jay Gruden’s Bengals did pretty well against him. In three games, one regular season and two in the playoffs Watt recorded two sacks of Andy Dalton. Gruden will have a plan for dealing with him. But the best way to control a pass rush from any player? Run the ball.

Can they exploit QB Ryan Fitzpatrick? The last time Fitzpatrick faced the Redskins was one of the best days of his life. On October 30, 2011 he signed a big contract extension with the Bills and they he went out and led Buffalo to a 23-0 win over Washington. Things haven’t been so good for him since and now he has a tenuous hold on the Texans starting job after they traded for Ryan Mallett over the weekend. Fitzpatrick is known for putting the ball up for grabs (3.6 percent career interception rate) and the Redskins, who did not get a takeaway by their first team during the preseason, would love to take advantage.

What about Arian Foster? He had a lost season in 2013, missing the last eight games due to a back injury. He didn’t play at all during the preseason so this will be his first game action since November 3, 2013. Will Foster, who rushed for at least 1,200 yards each season from 2010-2012, be rusty or will he be refreshed? Foster said yesterday that he is feeling “wonderful” physically. We will see.

What can Jadeveon Clowney do? The first overall pick in the draft made some hits during this time at South Carolina that made you recoil and feel the pain no matter how many times you watched them. He may not know what he’s doing yet as he adjust to the NFL game but he appears to be capable of doing some damage while he’s learning. Keep your head on a swivel, RG3.

Will Andre Johnson ever age? They say that Father Time is undefeated but the 33-year-old Johnson is fending him off pretty well. Last year, with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum (both of whom are now ex-Texans) throwing him passes he still managed to catch 109 passes for over 1,400 yards. This is one of those “you can’t stop him you can only hope to contain him” situations. DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson will try.

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Timeline

Today’s schedule: Open locker room player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00 open to media for first 30 minutes; Jay Gruden news conference after practice (approx. 3:00)

—It’s been 248 days since the Redskins played a game; in four days they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Home opener vs. Jaguars 11; Redskins @ Eagles 18; Thursday night Giants @ Redskins 23

In case you missed it

  1. barrymoyer - Sep 3, 2014 at 6:15 AM

    Well, it’ll be a 3-13 team playing against a 2-14 team, with each team making the other look good, I suspect. Probably a lot of sound and fury but few points. It’s a victory for the Redskins if Griffin doesn’t get hurt and plays a decent game. Don’t think wins, think progress.

    • tnt66 - Sep 3, 2014 at 7:16 AM

      Skins look to be significantly better on defense and ST so I think a more reasonable prediction is 8-8.

  2. gasngo14 - Sep 3, 2014 at 6:23 AM

    Week one will be a big test for our OL and also some opportunities for our DL . Rich we need this win out of the gate, start the new era out with a victory and the possibilities are endless, this team could be a 11-5 team or a 5-11 team. Win the turnover battle and win early to make it the better.

  3. tnt66 - Sep 3, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    Griffin can’t hold onto the ball as long as he has been in this game or he’s going to get his brains knocked out by Watt.

  4. deepball1 - Sep 3, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    but RGME Promised that they fixed all their mistakes in practice and that lack of scoring didn’t matter in preseason because he will erase that memory against Houston.

    I just hope he doesn’t replace those memories with Nightmares in the regular season.

  5. kenlinkins - Sep 3, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    We Redskins fans will get a real quick look at what our new head coach can do in the area of “planning” to slow down the Texans pass rush. IMO we will see some good old fashion running of the football early with some screens and draws, short quick pass’s out of the pistol and play action / roll outs (make RG3 a moving target). I do not think the Texans are the team to try and show off any improvement of the pocket passing game (well, not early anyways). I am sure coach Gruden has been planning his first game as a NFL head coach for many years and I can not wait to see just what he comes up with. Is it Sunday yet?

    • Rich Tandler - Sep 3, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Here’s Gruden in a quote that I’m using in tomorrow’s Need to Know.

      “Our intent as an offense is to make sure we have enough passing plays where he [Griffin] doesn’t have to hold the ball that long. We’ll take some shots here and there, too, where he has to hold it a little bit longer, but for the most part, let’s get him into some rhythm – unlike we did against Baltimore – and try to get the ball moving.”

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