Skip to content

Need to Know: Redskins should stick to the script vs. Falcons

Oct 7, 2015, 5:25 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 7, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.

First thoughts on Redskins vs. Falcons

—After facing three top punt returners in four weeks, the Redskins will dodge facing perhaps the best of all time. The Falcons’ Devin Hester, who has 14 punt return touchdowns in his career, has been placed on injured reserve with the designation to be able to return with a turf toe that has sidelined him for the first four games. That will put him on the shelf for at least eight weeks and, obviously, will keep him out of Sunday’s Redskins game.

—If there ever was a game where the Redskins need to stick to their script, it’s this one. Atlanta allows 4.4 yards per rushing attempt, 27th in the NFL. The Falcons are fifth in rushing yards allowed but nobody really has run on them. The Giants had 23 rushing attempts against them, the most they have faced all year. The 77 opponent rushing attempts against the Falcons are the fewest of any team that has played four games. With Alfred Morris and Matt Jones, Washington will provide a more severe test for Atlanta’s ability to stop the run. They will try to run as much clock as they can in order to keep the Falcons’ potent offense off of the field.

—There was plenty of chatter that the Redskins had their eyes on Julio Jones when they held the 10th pick in the 2011 draft. We’ll never know if the talk was serious because the Falcons moved up to draft him sixth overall. The Redskins may wish they had made the move when Sunday rolls around. He’s on pace for 152 receptions for 1,912 yards. If I’m Joe Barry I try to take him out of the game as much as possible and see if Matt Ryan can beat me throwing to an aging Roddy White, Jacob Tamme, and Leonard Hankerson.

—Many fans thought that the Redskins should have addressed the offensive line later in this year’s draft and gone for a pass rusher like Vic Beasley with the fifth overall pick last April. He ended up with the Falcons and he leads the team with two sacks. His play against the run is suspect and it’s easy to see the Redskins testing him early and often. Beasley will be lined up opposite Trent Williams, who outweighs the 235-lb. Beasley by about 80 pounds.

—I don’t see any particular advantage for either side with Kyle Shanahan running the offensive side of things for the Falcons. If Jim Haslett was still the Redskins’ defensive coordinator there might be cause for concern since Shanahan went up against him in every practice and every training camp session for four years. And perhaps if Robert Griffin III was behind center, Shanahan might be able to tip off Dan Quinn on some nuances of his game. Shanahan might have some insight into Kirk Cousins but not much. And I don’t buy that Shanahan will want to get revenge against the organization that fired him and his father at the end of the 2013 season. If he’s working any harder on this game than on the 15 others there is something wrong.


Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 4; Redskins @ Jets 11; Bucs @ Redskins 18

In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:15 AM


  2. colorofmyskinz - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:27 AM

    The Falcons are going to have a hard time dealing with our running game. We are the number one rushing team in the NFL. Atlanta Falcons have the fifth best defense against the rush in the NFL. Not sure where the 27th that came from. Atlanta is the 30th in the NFL with defense against passing. We are 18th in the NFL for passing. Atlanta is the 13th in the NFL in rushing. And we are number two in the NFL in defense against the rush. Should be a good contest in the rushing game and should be no reason why we would give up our rushing game. We should win the line of scrimmage battle by stats.

    The mismatch is our defenses ninth in the NFL against the pass in the Falcons are fith in passing. If we can keep pressure upfront we might be able to fix that mismatch.

    This will be a very good game and I think we have a chance of winning it. If we win this game it’s gonna wake up the NFL and it’s going to shoot us away up into the power rankings.

    • colorofmyskinz - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:29 AM

      Honestly we may have to think taking it to the air to beat the Falcons. Game plan start the game with establishing my own a scrimmage with rushing then take it to the air in the second half. They have almost the worst secondary in the NFL. We need to take advantage of that mismatch.

      • robert - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:57 AM

        Worst secondary in NFL?? With trufant, (leading corners in all NFL in passes allowed) and William Moore, (pro bowl safety)…interesting. You think going to the air against falcons insane offense will win, in Georgia? Hmmm. Ok

        • abanig - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:09 AM

          Balanced attack is the way to go, just like we’ve done in 3 of our 4 games this year and both of our victories this year.

    • hail74 - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:02 AM

      They are 27th in yards allowed per rush. I remember watching the Dallas game a couple weeks ago thinking that Dallas was going to destroy them simply because Atlanta was getting gashed on every play.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:29 AM

        Dallas was destroying them. Then somehow, Devonta Freeman came out in the 2nd half and turned into Superman.

        They’re not just the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones show anymore.

      • colorofmyskinz - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:39 AM

        Correction. ATL is 5th for defense against the rush. We have a better mismatch of our passing game against their pass defense. I am not saying give up on the run, just saying the stat if ATL 27th against Rush is wrong. They are 5th. And we have a better mismatch against their pass defense.

        I think establish the run and line of scrimmage then take it to the air. I trust cousins to find the open receivers. His timing is much better now that he has 4-5 weeks at first team reps.

        • colorofmyskinz - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:41 AM

          ATL Ranked 5th at 85.2 YPG against rush.

        • colorofmyskinz - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:43 AM

          We are 18th in NFL for passing yards and ATL is 30th defense against pass. That is the mismatch.

        • skinsgame - Oct 7, 2015 at 8:47 AM

          Atlanta allows 4.4 yards per attempt on the ground, 27th in the league.Their overall 5th ranking against the run is hollow.

        • ET - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:21 AM

          What Skinsgame said. The stat Rich cited suggests Atlanta’s opponents have abandoned the run, not that the Falcons’ defense stopped it.

        • renhoekk2 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:32 AM

          That’s misleading. That’s total yards allowed. They got a huge lead on the Texans early and they had to pass all game. IF you actually run the ball against them they are giving up 4.4 yds per attempt. That’s the number that matters. That how you determine how successful a team is at defending the run. They rank 27th.
          That’s why most of they good teams like NE, GB having statistically bad passing defenses by the end of the season. They are usually winning throughout the game which forces teams to have to pass a lot to play catch up. It’s a matter of quantity, not quality.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 7, 2015 at 2:34 PM

          “ATL is 5th for defense against the rush.”

          As Rich stated, few teams have made an effort to run on them. I doubt that rushing defense of the Falcons is actually that good.

        • abanig - Oct 7, 2015 at 2:56 PM

          I think it’s impossible to tell if the Falcons run defense is good, bad or average after the first month of the season.

          The reason why teams haven’t tried to run on them a lot is because usually they are down by a score or so against the Falcons early in the game. So, teams have to pass and hopefully score in bunches to check up with the Falcons. The Falcons passing attack puts pressure on opposing offenses to also put up points on virtually every drive.

          I think the skins can run on the Falcons if they commit to the run. I actually think the skins can run on any team in the NFL if they commit to it.

        • jonevans511 - Oct 7, 2015 at 6:52 PM

          Using YPG is not a great indicator of how good a team is against the run, IMO only. The skins racked up roughly 127 yards against a very good Eagles front 7, and guess what? Take away Chris Thompson’s fantastic yet somewhat fluke long run on 3rd and long early in the game and I believe we’d have been held under 100 for the game. Would you say, based SOLELY on the 127 yards we had in that game on the ground, that the Eagles run D is suspect? I wouldn’t. Not saying your point is wrong or anything, just pointing out the issue with using YPG (or at least YPG only) as a guide for determining good vs bad rush defenses.

        • jonevans511 - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:00 PM

          I should clarify, YPG isn’t all that useful with a small sample size of 3 or so games…. Over the course of a season, the yards you allow on the ground per game do start to tell a story of your team’s ability to stop the run. But a few games in? Teams with a huge lead will run the ball a ton towards the end, and even if they’re only racking up a couple yards per carry they will eventually gain a decent amount just based on volume. This is why, after only a quarter of the season, I like to see how many yards per carry teams allow and even drill down further- how many yards before (and after I suppose) contact do opposing teams get? The more yards before contact the better job the offensive line is doing to push the pile, and speaks to the potential weakness of a front 7. Maybe I’m dumbing it down a bit but hopefully you see my logic. Not saying other opinions are wrong of course.

        • rhettridley - Oct 8, 2015 at 10:47 AM

          Dont let the passing defense stat fool you, the Falcons have a good pass defense, hell they have a good defense period. The starters, since halftime of the Dallas game have allowed a total of 0 points, let that sink in a bit. The only adjustment the Falcons made then was to insert bigger run stuffers to the Dline interior on 1st downs and it has worked. The passing numbers are inflated by the yardage gained after Atlanta pulled the starters at end of 3rd qtr in the Houston game as well. Throwing to Trufants side is basically an incomplete pass, Trufant is a true beast. While not getting alot of sacks, the dline is putting massive pressure on QBs and forcing quick passses (to avoid sacks). If the Redskins cannot establish the run game they have no chance of winning this game. I see a blowout for the Falcons, 37-17 Falcons win.

  3. abanig - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    Skins definitely need to run the ball off of left guard and left tackle. The Falcons are ripe to have their feathers plucked in the run game. I don’t see them stopping the skins running game at all. If we can control the clock and hold on to the ball, we can keep it away from Ryan and Jones and win this game.

    • ET - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:27 AM

      Control the clock and put points on the board. If the Skins eat clock but settle for field goals, it could be an unpleasant day.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 7, 2015 at 2:37 PM

        That’s the key ET. Can the offense manufacture touchdowns with sustainable drives. It’d be nice to see both the running game and passing game in sync together. Oh and win the red zone by getting across the goal line.

  4. gonavybeatarmy - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    The Skins should absolutely stick with their plan to run the ball to keep the Falcons defense unsure, stay out of 3rd and 8+ situations and keep the Falcons’ offensive juggernaut off the field.

    On defense, the Skins should consider implementing some of the Seahawks principles (which were adopted and promoted by the Falcons current head coach) and be willing to take a PI or two, defensive holding or illegal contact early in the game.

    Lastly, exchanging field goals for TD will not work against the Atlanta juggernaut. So, the Skins may need to try and convert on 4th and short a couple of times to extend drives. The decision to kick a 20 yard FG at home against the Eagles was entirely prudent. On the road against Atlanta in a similar situation, the risk/reward assessment may be different.

  5. sidepull - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    Redskins run it until they stop it. Not seeing Reed or Jackson ready to roll so youngbloods gonna need to step up again. Run the ball Redskins, win the time of possession and keep Jones and company off the field. This is a big game and all they need is a good performance from all three units and a bit of luck. Yup thats all they need. Falcons are 4-0. Until they prove it in a big game that Matty Ice wont fold under pressure they are just a good 4-0 team but I expect them to come down to earth here soon. Maybe this week, who knows.

    The Falcons of old, I remember watching their coach,Glanville, drive his Harley out on to the field, and MC Hammer being on the sidelines, and Dieon dancing around in warm ups, yup they were taking the Redskins lightly then and I hope they do the same thing this Sunday.

  6. kenlinkins - Oct 7, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    How can the Redskins beat the falcons this week? IMO they must understand how Kyle runs his offense. Kyle is a gambler who wins big and loses big. Right now he is on a winning streak with 34 points per game and a 4-0 record, but he requires a lot of plays to set up his “home run” swing. He will waste plays trying to move a defense around, use a sell out screen 3 times in order to run a lone man screen you are not looking for, Will throw the out partern 3 times into double coverage setting up a single double move, waste running plays trying early for no gain in hopes of play action bombs. If the Redskins can limit the number of plays he has and to remember to “reset” the defense mind set (i.e. do not cheat, watch for the sucker punch, do YOUR job) they could slow down Kyle and keep him under 20 points. In Cleveland, they didn’t like this up and down style of Kyles (beating Pitt 31-10, then losing Jacksonville 6-24) as teams adjusted and caused a 5 game losing streak and 6 of 7 to end the season after going 6-3 to start (ending up at 7-9). Once again, he is just going what you do not think he will do, reset, play honest defense and look for the sucker punch. Over playing against Kyle’s offense plays into his hand, play him heads up and you have a great shot of forcing him to lose most of his big bets (and the game). Making him start over but not adjusting is the key as he will run out of time. Run the ball, shorten the game, watch for the sucker punch and reset your base defense (that and hit WR Jones early on those wasted running plays, he hates that).

    • abanig - Oct 7, 2015 at 8:05 AM

      In order to protect against the deep bomb off of play action in Kyle’s offense, you must have discipline safeties who are good in deep coverage. We are in trouble in that regard.

    • ET - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:37 AM

      I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. If Chris Chester and his new buddies give Ryan enough time, however, our depleted secondary will be exposed. That could get ugly, even if the “sucker punches” don’t land. I’m not sure the Falcons will be able to mix in the run successfully, but they’re the first team the Skins have faced this year that could put the run D to the test.

  7. murphsman - Oct 7, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see we have the number one rushing offense after all the complaints from fans about Gruden abandoning the run too early. Should be interesting to see our defense matching up against Hankerson after him being in Washington for 4 years. Granted, a lot of the guys he practiced against are gone now, such as Orakpo, Cofield, and Bowen, but still

    • brucefan1 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:32 AM

      Uhhh … all those “complaints from fans” we’re because Gruden DID often abandon the run too early (which he admitted after last season). While he quit running early in the Giants game, he has been more commited to the ground game so far in 2016. Great move!!
      Of course ATL will try to shut it down tho, make the O one-dimensional and daring Cuz to beat them by himself. Football 101. Skins must not let that happen!

      (Btw I don’t agree with RT. that Kyle, Hank, Chester , et. al, won’t have much extra motivation against the Skins on Sunday. I’ve seen way too many of their cast-offs come back to destroy them over the years to dismiss that as an important factor.)

      • hk2000 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:38 AM

        I agree, I think Kyle is very motivated, but also Rich is right, if a coach puts more effort in preparing for one team than for another then he’s not a good coach. I believe Kyle Shanahan is a very good OC and really feel bad we had to let him go.

        • brucefan1 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:50 AM

          Ya’lz may be right about Kyle not “consciously” doing anything extra — but sometimes it’s that subconscious, those intangibles, that seem to kick in during a time Ike this. We’ll see. ;^}

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 7, 2015 at 2:53 PM

      Two words for the change in running game – Bill Callahan. Gruden is just riding the success Bill has put together this year. It also helped that Scot made a great draft pick out of a guy named Matt Jones.

  8. SkinsSuck - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    Are you guys high. Falcons win this game by at least 14 points. Skins will not rush for over 80 yards this game.

    • Rich Tandler - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      Oh, boy, Falcons trolls are arriving. You can’t come up with a better name?

      • sidepull - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        Actually Rich his name is the perfect name for a troll. It made me laugh. He got what he was looking for.

    • renhoekk2 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Trap game for Falcons. Big divisional game with the Saints next week. Not going to be a ATL blowout win.

      • sidepull - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:17 AM

        Agree. It is a trap game for them. I say they overlook the Redskins and Redskins make them pay. Last week there were loads of predictions about the injury bug biting the Redskins in the butt and them not being able to compensate for the loss of key players. Then the young guys stepped up. The young guys need to step up again this week. If they could do it against Philly they can do it against Atlanta, I hope. HTTR

    • brucefan1 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Hahaha! SO agreed about the lame handle! This cooch can’t only be a Falcons troll (unless he has a new “Suck” handle for EVERY opponent!), he’s gotta have a major beef against the Redskins … and the Redskins alone!! What? Did the team kick his puppy?! LOL

  9. mr.moneylover - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:17 AM

    Our D-line need to pick on Chris chester on they O-line…our D-line is bigger and more physical then they O-line….what im worried about is jay gruden play calling he did a great job last week I think the best since he became redskins head coach this week he need to do the same thing it might be a struggle without jordan reed tho unless a miracle happen and he get cleared from the concussion test

  10. hk2000 - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    The Redskins time of possession against the Eagles was more than 2:1, The Eagles offense was terrible for the first half and over all is still much worse than the Falcons offense and we still needed a come from behind drive in the end to win the game by 3!!! all of you who are so high on the Redskins need to keep grounded and keep your fingers crossed- I have a bad feeling about this game.

    • renhoekk2 - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      Everybody agrees the NFC East is terrible this year. Three way tie for first at 2-2. Who have ATL beaten so far? NYG, PHI and DAL minus Romo and Dez. and HOU which is a 1-3 mess also. They squeaked by all three NFC East teams. They are 4-0 but hardly dominant. I don’t think anyone is predicating a Skins win. Just that ATL is a very beatable 4-0 team. And ATL beat Philly in the exact same manner. 20-3 at halftime, blew the lead, had to come back, and won on a missed FG by the Eagles.

      • sidepull - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM

        Come away with TD’s in the red-zone instead of FG’s. That would help.

        • ET - Oct 7, 2015 at 11:45 AM

          Yeah, that’s a big key in the upcoming game. Good red zone efficiency will keep the Skins in the game. Field goals and missed opportunities? It’ll be a rough day, regardless of any time of possession disparity the Skins can build.

      • hk2000 - Oct 7, 2015 at 2:44 PM

        That is a good point, didn’t think of who they beat. You maybe right but then the Giants beat us badly and it’s always a good idea to stay grounded and keep fingers crossed anyway!!

      • rhettridley - Oct 8, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Hardly dominant? I’ll give you that for the first 2 games, but the Falcons have been massively dominant ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL since halftime of the Dallas game. ZERO points allowed by the starters on defense and 65 points by the offense just screams dominant. PFF has the Falcons oline rated as #1 in the NFL and that is even more impressive when you take into account that the Oline was put together 8 days LITERALLY before the start of the season and the C has never played that position in the pros. What you are seeing is individuals coming together as a unit and learning the scheme. Also take into account the Falcons have completely new defense, offense, coaches (for the most part); they are still learning the schemes. If that doesn’t impress/worry/gain your respect something is wrong with your thought patterns.

  11. timtowe - Oct 7, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Hester is on IR with designation to return. That happened yesterday, I believe.

  12. berniebernard666 - Oct 7, 2015 at 10:44 AM

    not to be a genius but of all the games ever played this game more than any other will come down to TURNOVERS and special teams play. The Redskins have turned the ball over in 235 straight games and will lose if they turn it over again. The can win if this is the one game this century that they find a way not to fumble their way to defeat and not complete passes to Atlanta.

    And needless to say…it is time for at least ONE lucky special teams play in our favor.

  13. greed - Oct 7, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Falcons and every other team will play scheme against skins stack the line run blitz and or blitz cousins until he shows he can carry the offense with his arm

    • abanig - Oct 7, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      I hope they keep doing that, Cousins’ completion % is better against the blitz

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Oct 7, 2015 at 2:47 PM

        But is he moving the chains against the blitz?

        • Joe - Oct 7, 2015 at 3:16 PM

          Keep in mind Ryan is 41-15 at home not good for Redskins lol

        • abanig - Oct 7, 2015 at 3:21 PM

          Yes he is, the skins 3rd down % is high and most of that comes off of his passing on 3rd and medium, not off off of the running game.

          The biggest difference between this year and the last couple of years with the Redskins offense is their ability to convert on 3rd downs and their ability to extend drives.

          The most clear evidence of this is the game winning drive against the Eagles. Archives

Follow Us On Twitter