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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Ravens—Washington’s best O-line combo?

Oct 9, 2016, 6:14 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 9, the day the Washington Redskins go up the road to play the Ravens in Baltimore.


Today’s schedule: Redskins kickoff 12 noon, CSN; Redskins @ Ravens 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Lions 14; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 21

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Ravens

—Yes, Steve Smith Sr. can beat you deep and Mike Wallace has good vertical speed as well. But the Ravens are basically a plodding passing offense. They are one of just two teams averaging less than 10 yards per pass completion. Baltimore scores on 38 percent of its drives, just a couple of ticks above the league average. The Redskins average 11.9 yards per completion and the score on 53 percent of their drives, second best in the NFL to the Falcons. Look at more advanced analytics, the Redskins are 11th in offensive DVOA at 5.3% while the Ravens are 27th at -12.4%. Washington seems to have substantially more pop in its offense.

—During training camp the general consensus was that the Redskins’ best run-blocking offensive line was, from left to right, Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses. That is the line that will play for the Redskins today. We will see how the group wisdom shakes out in reality.

—It’s not breaking news when I tell you that missed tackles have been a problem for the Redskins defense. According to Pro Football Focus they have 40 of them. To compare, the Ravens have 26 misses. The biggest culprit for Washington was safety David Bruton, who had eight; nobody else on the team has more than three. But don’t presume that the problems will largely dissipate with Bruton on injured reserve. His replacement, Duke Ihenacho, has three misses in just 45 snaps played. Maybe if they can cut down on the missed tackles (they won’t be eliminated; every team has some every game) and knock down a few third-down passes the defense can be competent.

—The missed tackles may be a result of Jay Gruden running one of the less physical training camps in the league. The idea was that they might not be as sharp earlier in the year but they would be fresher as the year as the year went since they didn’t beat up on each other in Richmond. Well, it’s October, the time when the easier practices in August should begin to pay off. The Redskins have some injuries but they are better off than some and worse off than others. The Ravens had a fairly physical camp; let’s see who has fresher legs in the fourth quarter.

—This is a tough one to figure. The Ravens probably aren’t quite as good as their 3-1 record but they are playing at home. Their top defensive ranking is a bit deceptive since they have yet to play an offense that is as good as, well, the Redskins. The game is in Baltimore but the Redskins proved they can win in a hostile environment in East Rutherford a couple of weeks ago. Can they do it again? I’m going on a hunch more than any logic here:

Redskins 27, Ravens 21

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  1. garg8050 - Oct 9, 2016 at 6:59 AM

    This is a tough game to predict. Lots of variables, lots of unknowns. How good is the Ravens defense really? Can the ‘Skins finally mount a pass rush against a banged up o-line? Can the ‘Skins defense get off the field on 3td and long?

    I see a big punt return from Crowder at some point, either for 6 or at least deep into Ravens territory. Lots of field goals…Skins 23-Ravens 16.

    • snyderisanidiot - Oct 9, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      Nice call on Crowder Punt Return

  2. sidepull - Oct 9, 2016 at 8:01 AM

    34-27 Redskins.
    Fllacco throws a nice deep ball. They have decent depth at RB. Their offense is going to score points. Redskins defense is too porous not to. Maybe they gang tackle and they get stronger by subtraction. Have fun watching Bruton. The Redskins are going to score too, just more. Baltimore is not going to win this game if the Redskins win the turnover battle. Redzone TD’s. Dont settle for FG’s. Smoke Bmore Djax. Get the ball to him Cuz. The O line is going to give him time and Matt Jones is gonna truck some people today. No dancing, plant your foot and go. And finally, can you please show up big today Preston Smith?

  3. redskins12thman - Oct 9, 2016 at 8:52 AM

    With Flacco at QB, Ravens offense can have pop too; look for them to run a lot against us (hopefully we can stop it) and to play action both intermediate and deep, whatever we are giving them.

    Take this year’s Ravens stats with a grain of salt; Dixon was not healthy enough to play… now they have the combo of West and Dixon. We saw how well the Redskins did against Crowell and Johnson.

    The Redskins d-line needs to pressure left side of line better than they did in the Browns game. Urschel hasn’t played this season and Lewis is a 4th round rookie that has been okay.

    You are spot on regarding missed tackles and preventing third-down conversions, but unless the personnel change, should we expect different results?…. while Bruton, Hall and Phillips are no longer playing, their replacements still need time to learn Redskins defense. The changes should have been made much earlier.

    We will see if the offense adopts some of Cooley’s suggestions. TEs are key this game (or should be). We need to establish the run but running between the tackles is generally an exercise in futility so need to run wide like we did against the Browns a couple of times. Also, Cousins can’t afford to stare down his preferred pass play. I wonder how much time the o-line will give him? Hopefully a decent pocket and if not, that Cousins is prepared to extend the play. We need to see improvement in this part of his game.

    Only the Raiders and Jaguars have more penalties than we do (Phantom calls against Scherff though and, oh well, Norman’s getting targeted). No one has more pre-snap / false start penalties than we do — Lichtensteiger has been primary culprit and now he is out. Hope Long has a second strong game or that Sully is ready (all’s quiet on that front … I wonder why).

    I love the optimistic picks so far. Make no mistake, this will not be an easy match. The Redskins really need to win this; we will see how much resolve the team has to pull out a “W.” This game will give a sense of where the Redskins are at, although they need several more games / good part of season to figure out the best safeties and nickel back for the team.

    Despite a defense that is not statistically strong, the Raiders brought it to the Ravens last week. Can we do the same? Unfortunately, my gut says no. It says: the defense is not up to snuff, and that offense and special team will play well but not flawlessly. I really hope my gut is wrong.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 9, 2016 at 8:56 AM

      I wonder how much time the o-line will give him?

      I think we’re generally good at pass protection, this game will give us a test of that.

    • bangkokben - Oct 9, 2016 at 10:17 AM

      First of all, the Ravens should not make your knees wobble. They pretty much suck. Their offense is suck with a bunch of potential. Now, today could be the day they reach their potential because they play the ‘skins and a banged up ‘skins secondary but if the Redskins can find average for their defense today, then the Redskins should beat this team.

      11 missed tackles from one position (SS)? At least they’re in position to miss but that screams execution and not scheme. If Whitner can be in position, then they can perhaps strive for average. An average defense should keep Baltimore to 21 points or less which should be enough to win.

      As for Sully, expect him to NOT play. De la Puente 2.0. I don’t know why this is so hard to comprehend. What did Long do last week to warrant being replaced — open too many holes in the run game?

      You mentioned pressure on the left side. I saw Bates get a bunch of unproductive action there in four man lines with Kerrigan’s injury. Perhaps Lanier gets a chance to dress. It appears obvious that he is only a nickle end not a 3/4 end. With Smith, Murphy, and Kerrigan healthy; no need to dress him. Perhaps Kerrigan’s elbow get’s him dressed just in case.

      • redskins12thman - Oct 9, 2016 at 10:29 AM

        If the Redskins can play average defense in any game, we have a good chance of winning the game; I just haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know when we’ll get it. It would be great to get off to a fast start today!

        Long played well and I hope that continues; from what I can tell, Sully had a better reputation than De la Puente 2.0.

        It would be great if Lanier gets a chance to play, but I thought Lanier, Painter and, of course, Sudfeld would be the healthy scratches. I think Kerrigan’s elbow not only means Bates plays; Bates has among the most snaps on Special Teams and I think he is always active unless injured.

        A win today would show a lot of character!

        • bangkokben - Oct 9, 2016 at 12:49 PM

          Good point about the defense. I’m trying to imply they a chance to get there because of the personnel changes.

          De la Puente only had to beat out Le Ribeus who everyone including the organization wanted replaced while Sullivan is backing up a 3rd rounder who this organization WANTED to win the starting center job. That is a lot tougher hill to climb.

      • COSSkinsFan - Oct 9, 2016 at 10:57 AM

        I don’t expect Long to be replaced either. Who knows how Sully can play after his surgeries and building for the long term would warrant long remaining at center to see how he develops. Its crazy that Bruton missed that many tackles. Our d will be better without him. I see us winning 28-17. I’m more hopeful after reading Rich’s breakdown. I know Flacco has a ring but I have always thought he’s really streaky and overrated, even more so than Eli. They both won superbowls with great, opportunistic defenses.

  4. garg8050 - Oct 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    The wind will affect the passing game, especially any deep shots. Makes the running game even more important, plus the short passing game. Our TEs could have a big game today. Archives

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