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Need to Know: Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

Sep 4, 2015, 7:39 AM EDT

Suh-2-Dolphins

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, September 4, one day before the Washington Redskins make their final cuts.

Five early thoughts on Redskins vs. Dolphins

The preseason is officially over and the next time the Redskins take the field it will count. Here are some thoughts on Redskins’ opponent for their opener, the Miami Dolphins

—Remember the 2013, when Robert Griffin III was so bad he was deactivated for the last three games? Well, you could take his numbers from that year, project them over 16 games, throw them into Ryan Tannehill’s career, and you’d never know the difference. The reasons Griffin is benched and on the roster bubble and Tannehill just got an extension worth $96 million is that Tannehill has been durable, never missing a start, and he has improved in most major areas from year to year in each of his three seasons. He’s not a guy to be scared of necessarily but he is a competent NFL QB.

—The line that will protect Tannehill is very much in flux. They likely will be starting a rookie right guard in Jamil Douglas, and may be without left tackle Brandon Albert, who is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered last November. With a shaky secondary the Redskins’ ability to get pressure on the passer will determine in large part how well they defend the pass. A shuffled Dolphins offensive line could help.

—Welcome to the NFL, Brandon Scherff. You get to line up against Ndamukong Suh in your first official game. The fifth overall pick has struggled with his technique all summer and he will have to play well to keep Kirk Cousins upright. It seems likely that he will get some help from center Kory Lichtensteiger. At right tackle, Morgan Moses will have his hands full with left end Cameron Wake.

—Like the Redskins, the Dolphins are kind of scrambling at safety. They lost Louis Delmas for the year earlier and the competition to replace him is ongoing. They could be like the Redskins in that if the pass rush doesn’t hit home the defensive backs will be vulnerable. Kirk Cousins has shown a good knack for being able to evade pressure in the pocket; if he can do it for four quarters on September 13 he could have a chance to make some plays.

—This game offers the Redskins a chance to change the negative vibe that has surrounded the team in the past couple of weeks. With a win the Redskins would do a lot to push aside “I feel like I’m the best QB”, concussion clearance-then-reversal, “I just work here, man”, intern Instagram likes, QB controversy, the GM’s wife’s tweets, and whatever else might pop up between now and game time. The Dolphins will be favored by about a field goal but if Scot McCloughan’s work over the offseason has truly improved the team to a significant extent this is a winnable game for Washington.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

—It’s been 250 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 9 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Final cuts 1 Rams @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 20

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In case you missed it

  1. timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 4, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    I wouldn’t worry about the Oline. Everyone says they were pretty good last year and they got 2 players at RG and RT that are better then what they had since they cut those 2 So they should be Great. This one will not be on the Oline

    • mjthomas85 - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      Let’s see how this game goes, then we will decide if there is an issue with the O-line and any other positions on the team. Even if the O-line plays well, they are going up against two very good D-linemen, so Cousins should expect to take a few hits during this game.

      I think the biggest question is, can our pass rush get there before our secondary suffers? I hope so. If they at least force Miami to pass the ball off quickly, our linebackers will have a shot at making big plays and limiting positive yards for Miami.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        Obviously you haven’t bin on here longer. My comment SREAMS Sarcasm. I’ve bin one of the Only people on here that has Said the Oline was Horrible. I’ve Provided Stats and links for those stats about the Oline last year. Ranked 31st in Pass Blocking, 41 sacks attributed tothe Oline. My case was the Oline was bad with Bad Play Call in that didn’t even tertiary to slow the Pass Rush. Not the QB. Nearly everyone else blamed the QB stating the Oline was pretty good

        • cowboyhater - Sep 4, 2015 at 11:29 AM

          That’s because you don’t have any football acumen, and need to go to a website that contains hollow stats and doesn’t recognize the actual play on the field. What I watched was a QB that couldn’t change plays at the line of scrimmage, a QB that held the ball too long, a QB that couldn’t find an open receiver, a QB who has no pocket presence, a QB who didn’t do the little things in the film room to improve his play (not talking about his need to be in the weight room because he was more worried about how he looks in the mirror). That’s what I saw last year. The line was adequate but nothing near being in the top half of the league. They will struggle mightily early on, but should start gelling as the season progresses. The DB’s are horrible again this year….and this is where the will struggle. They will give up big plays, and give up 3rd downs all season just as last year. Bottom line this team will be mediocre to below average during the year, and will need more drafts from our GM to build a winner.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Sep 4, 2015 at 2:55 PM

          I’m sorry I thought The Washington Post, Football Outsiders, and NFL.com where pretty reputable sites. Guess the NFL doesn’t have reliable stats about their teams.

          As far as my football acumen I said that Sherff was a good pick at #5. Guess the GM doesn’t have Good football acumen either

        • cowboyhater - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:07 PM

          Your funny…..plus you don’t read what people write when they respond to your posts. You certainly didn’t read mine, and what’s even more funny is you proved my point with your response. I won’t go into a further explanation, but enjoy the season my fellow fan. We cheer for the same team.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 4, 2015 at 6:52 PM

          “What I watched was a QB that couldn’t change plays at the line of scrimmage, a QB that held the ball too long, a QB that couldn’t find an open receiver, a QB who has no pocket presence, a QB who didn’t do the little things in the film room to improve his play (not talking about his need to be in the weight room because he was more worried about how he looks in the mirror). That’s what I saw last year. ”

          Three QBs started for this team last year and none performed well in the system outside a few games. So are you suggesting these were the issue for all three?

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 4, 2015 at 6:57 PM

          Provide me one area where the offense was effective?

          The offensive scheme as a whole was horrendous last season. It’s hard to attack any one position when it was built around a rookie OC and rookie head coach struggling to find their way.

    • Skulb - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:30 PM

      The line isn´t the problem at all. Secondary, special teams and QB were the issues in 2014. Whether or not they have managed to address them now remains to be seen. Personally I think the last week have included some of the most sensible football decisions I can remember in recent years, so I´ll be optimistic until it isn´t possible anymore.

  2. berniebernard666 - Sep 4, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    we’ll know everything we need to know about the Redskins after the Miami game. Last year we knew everything after the Houston game: Girffin struggles from the pocket…..the secondary struggled….and special teams were horrible. We played a great defense, solid special teams, and average offense with a running game. 17-6 on the road should have told everyone exactly what to expect.

    Fast forward to now, and we play a similar Defense that Houston gave us last year. We will know in a 3 hour period if our offensive line can block, if our special teams have improved, and if secondary still can’t cover.

    You can base the entire season on what you see against Miami.

  3. Dolphinishyouoff - Sep 4, 2015 at 11:04 AM

    Ok, so I’m a pretty honest guy when it comes to analyzing football. I mean, I have to be because, one, I bet football, and, two, I’ve been a Dolphins fan my whole life(they’ve sucked for well over a decade). But the person who wrote this column is clearly blinded by their love for the Skins. The Skins really have no chance at winning this game other than the fact that it’s any given Sunday. So I’ll say this as gracefully as possible: Miami is going to blow out Washington! Why? Well, there are many reasons. Forget the fact that Tannehill is more accurate now than ever and has a highly talented group of receivers to throw too. And forget the fact that the Miami D-line is top 3, if not #1, in the league and is going to give Cousins nightmares for the rest of the season. But Washington is in shambles. They’d be lucky to win 6 games this year. I’m not going to go into details, but do really have to not be a Washington fan to see that they suck? I’m just shooting you straight, and hopefully you can be honest with yourselves on the matter so that you don’t get your hopes up and then go all schizo halfway through the season. When Miami sucked I knew it, and when somebody said so I agreed. Trust me, being honest in this situation is the best way to go. Its Miami’s breakout year(finally) and this is going to be a very easy road win for them. Tannehill is going to walk in there and show Wash why they should’ve drafted him. Miami wins this one 32-10. I know I know, you think I’m an ass, but I’ll be thinking of you while Scherff is peeling Cousins off the field and while my bookie is paying me.

    • Rich Tandler - Sep 4, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      Yeah. The Dolphins never lose games they should win, right?

    • Skulb - Sep 4, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      Well this is a shoddy analysis. Cousins is underrated by the entire NFL and may just stun the Dolphins if he can keep his cool. Apart from RGIII there is no real QB problem in DC. If you think you´re gonna go sack hunting for Cousins you´re dead wrong, and he´ll burn your defense in the air until you stop. You stop Cousins by moving under his lanes so he throws picks. And the Dolphins secondary isn´t the best around. Scherff can get rushed as much as he wants; it´s not gonna affect Kirk too much because the ball will probably be out anyway, hopefully to the right team this year.
      The big problem with Washington is the secondary and special teams and both were absolutely pathetic last season. If Redskins can avoid giving up big plays on defense and ST and get a turnover or two they have a shot at beating Miami. Realistically I have 60/40 in favor of Miami.

    • cowboyhater - Sep 4, 2015 at 11:38 AM

      Wow!! Yep, the truth hurts….I agree with most of what you said, and yes I’m a realist in terms of being a skins fan, but you are underestimating other skins fans. We kinda of know this already, but you coming on here reinforcing it as a Phins fan will only incite the die hards to come at you with their burgundy and gold blinders on. It will be a long season, and I think the Phins should compete for their division this year. Hopefully our new GM will build this team into a consistent winner, and not have to hear the ugly truth on our website from a fan from another team. Good luck this year Phin fan.

    • rtcwon - Sep 4, 2015 at 1:21 PM

      We all bet football, you get no creditably just for that. And I guarantee I’ve watched more Miami this preseason than you’ve watched Washington.

      Your bias clearly over rates your WRs & DL, just like mine does ours. Your WRs are a bunch of 3s and a rookie. Our 4th WR, Grant would be your best but you probably don’t even know who he is. Your DL is top 5 but ours is legit also. The gap between them is significantly less than the gap between your WRs and ours. Your OL is in shambles without Albert. Our DL will own your OL more than your DL will our OL. You may not notice because the spread O and Tannehill is good. But you have no RBs…

      You have no LBs. The DL will keep your D in the top half. Scheme and Tannehill will keep your O in the top half. You’ll have a good season but are only favored in this game because of QB. I’m taking the +165 money line to the bank all day. If you’re a spread guy, +3.5 and parlay over 43.5.

      Washington has sucked because we never play to the sum of our parts. Miami has sucked because they have no parts. Two different things.

      • rtcwon - Sep 4, 2015 at 1:24 PM

        *credibility

    • Que - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:01 PM

      Umm…Miami still sucks I guess you’re just pumped over the team on paper but paper doesn’t mean much

    • peregrinet - Sep 4, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      You are also a bit of a fool. Since you are a pretty honest guy, Im sure you will appreciate some of this. First, everyone knows its most likely, say 90/10 that the Dolphins will be the better team over the course of the year than the Redskins, thats a given.

      But to make that prediction over week 1? Week 1 is THE most unpredictable week in the NFL season. You have new coaches, new players, new schemes, injuries, and the rustiness of not having played since last year. Last season the super bowl champion Patriots lost their first game to the Dolphines, by 13 points. You werent better than them. Heck, the Super bowl champion Giants lost in 2011 by 28-14 to the Redskins. Last year out of the top 4 teams in all of football 3 of the 4 lost their first game.

      Miami was mediocre on offense, mediocre on defense, and mediocre in turnover margin last year. The defense will be improved no doubt with Suh, but the offense still has the issue of a very mediocre receiving core. Jennings and Stills arent fooling anyone. If Tannehil has a good year, it will be because of his improvement, and that of his offensive line, not the receivers.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Sep 4, 2015 at 12:24 PM

    What Dolphinishyouoff said

  5. ottarr13 - Sep 4, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    rtcwon, One word delusional. I can appreciate a fan being excited about their team, but wow. I could sit here and type up a few pages no your team. Instead just go and check where are two teams are rated on ALL the power rankings. Granted they are before the first snap has happened. But really? It will be a hard day for you to take come the 13th. I would get lots of beer. To the rest of the Redskin fans. Good luck and have a great year. Maybe everyone else has it wrong about you’re team.

    • rtcwon - Sep 4, 2015 at 3:28 PM

      Thanks for your advice. I do drink during games, including a shot after signing both verses of HTTR after each touchdown. I know last year was a bad year since my handle wasn’t emptied but I expect to easily polish off one this year.

      But I won’t put any credence into power rankings complied by talking heads who base everything off of last year and don’t watch tape. Here’s my advice to you: send your time at NFL game pass, not watching & regurgitating media nonsense.

  6. troylok - Sep 5, 2015 at 12:04 AM

    On offense: just run the football. Run right at Suh. Wear down the big fella.
    On defense: blitz seven ways to Sunday and play bump and run on the outside. If Tannehill has to look for receivers longer than three seconds, his goose should be cooked.

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