Ten Spot Preview: Redskins at Jets

Getty Images/Matthew Stockman

John Keim takes a look at ten burning questions going into Sunday's game against the Jets and offers his predictions.

1. Are the Redskins over last week's debacle?

We'll see. They say they're going to put it behind them, using all sorts of cliches. But the fact is, they will remember that pounding -- and it doesn't have to be a bad thing. They can use it as a source of motivation. Numerous players on Monday avoided talking about the game, not showing up in the media open locker room session. By Wednesday, however, there was nothing out of the ordinary going on in the locker room. If they come out and play hard, smart and physical, then you'll know the loss woke them up; if only for a week.

2. Will that offense meeting have an impact on this game?

No. Some players buy into those meetings, but not all do. They take them for what they are: a periodic session where terrific cliches are uttered. But the best time to hold those meetings are before playing a 1-7 team that allows nearly 135 yards a game on the ground. Maybe the Redskins pound it out Sunday. But if that's the case, it'll be because that's what they always want to do and they've finally found an opponent they can do it against.

3. Can Clinton Portis still get it done?

Sure, why not? Portis has not run like himself for much of the season, but don't forget: he had 98 yards rushing in the opener. That said, there's something missing in this ground game and some of that is Portis' doing. It might be a lack of burst or lack of confidence in what he'll find when looking for holes. It's simply not all his fault. But Portis has not had many 10-20 yard runs in the past year and a half, especially compared to Ladell Betts. However, it would be just like Portis to have a big game when people are now whispering that Betts should take over.

4. What happens if Marcus Washington doesn't play?

Same as in the past; Randall Godfrey goes in and Chris Wilson serves as a rush end. The Jets will likely try to hammer it out with Thomas Jones so Godfrey's physical style should serve the Redskins well. It's not as if Washington is having a standout season; he's been OK, but hampered by injuries. The Redskins miss intangibles with him out, but they'll survive just fine.

5. What impact will the loss of Carlos Rogers have?

A bigger one than Washington's absence, in our opinion. Why? Because we're not confident Fred Smoot can stay healthy, which means Leigh Torrence or David Macklin will have to start at some point. Rogers' absence for this game should not be a great one, considering it does not appear that Laveranues Coles will play. The Redskins are fortunate that they're versatile, with safety Pierson Prioleau being able to cover in the slot. At least against slower receivers; he's not fast. LaRon Landry can play there as well.

6. What is a key matchup defensively?

Andre Carter vs. left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Carter was invisible last weekend, a sign that he's really an ordinary end for the most part. The Redskins need a consistent rush from him and the No. 1 thing this defense must have to work is front four pressure. That means Carter, their pass rusher.

7. How are the Jets defensively?

Not good. They switched to a 3-4 despite not having the personnel to do so. Nose tackle Dewayne Robertson isn't bad, but is not suited for this role. Still, he is talented and Casey Rabach must win this battle. The linebackers, with Jonathan Vilma out and Eric Barton better suited for a 4-3, are ordinary. But they will blitz off the edge. They only have eight sacks this season, but the 'backers will blitz. That means Mike Sellers and Co., must do a much better job in this area than they did last week. Sellers was bad in this role and is much better as a lead blocker. It makes him go from being physical to finesse and that's not him.

8. What problems does Kellen Clemens present?

Clemens can move in the pocket more than Chad Pennington and he has a bigger arm, but he is making just his second start and did not fare well against Baltimore's blitz in his first one (until getting hot at the end). The trick will be front four pressure and varying coverages, something Gregg Williams obviously will do. They also should blitz at least a couple times to make sure Clemens doesn't get comfortable and is at least concerned about it. That said, if the front four gets pressure and they can confuse Clemens with coverages, then that will work just fine. The Jets, though, are not a team that will suddenly start throwing deep.

9. Will the Redskins turn more conservative offensively?

I don't think so. The Redskins speak of balance more than anything. And they've talked about the need to get downfield more. So look for both things to happen. But the running game must work -- at some point -- for them to succeed. Their passing game is not consistent enough to be what they rely on; the running game can be.

10. Who will win?

Coming off a bad loss? Play the Jets! New York should get a boost from starting Clemens at home, feeding off energy from the crowd. But the Redskins must get off to a good quick start to put last week's debacle further out of their minds. A slow start and some doubt might creep in. We think they'll be able to start fast and play physical. Redskins 23, Jets 13.

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