Skins Will Need a Fast Start on Sunday

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

There is one line of thinking that says that the Washington Redskins will have to run the ball well in order to beat the New Orleans Saints at FedEx Field on Sunday.

The game plan needs to be Portis right, Portis left and Betts up the middle. The objective is to keep the pressure off of Jason Campbell, let him pick his spots, and to shorten the game to keep the ball out of the hands of Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and company.

Another line of thinking is that the Redskins need to come out of the tunnel passing and to keep it up throughout the game. The game plan needs to be deep to Moss, intermediate to Cooley, and short to whoever breaks open. The objective here is to take advantage of the weak link on the Saints, their pass defense and keep the pressure to produce on Brees, Bush, and company.

The line of thinking here is that whatever the Redskins do they need to start doing it quickly.

The Redskins offense can't start off slowly again this week. A sack on the game's opening series would quickly get the team into a "here we go again" frame of mind. A couple of three and outs out of the gate will bring out a strong undertone of boo-birds. A slow, hesitant pace, even in the early going, will rekindle thoughts of the "what, me hurry?" offense the team displayed in the fourth quarter in the Meadowlands.

This doesn't meant that Campbell needs to launch a deep one to Moss on the first play or that Portis needs to break off a long one in the early going. It does mean that Jim Zorn's scripted first 15 plays need to work. They need to be imaginative calls that are well executed by the players. Those 15 plays must take place over about a drive and a half, not the first two quarters of play. One of them should result in a touchdown or, at a minimum, set up a field goal.

None of this will do any good, of course, if the Saints go up 10-0 by scoring on their first two possessions. If Brees throws for 300+ yards, something he's done 14 times as a Saint, it's unlikely that the Redskins will be able to keep up.

But Brees will get his and for the Redskins to keep the Saints from denting to scoreboard too often they will have to take advantage of opportunities. If a ball is rolling free on the turf they have to dive on it. If they have Brees in their grasp they need to bring him down. It goes without saying after last week that when a defender has two hands on a pass he needs to catch it.

Will the Redskins get off to a quick start and make the defensive plays necessary to win? It says here that while the defense might make its share of plays, the offense—and that's everyone from the quarterback to the receivers to the backs to the lie—isn't yet ready to operate in an efficient manner in the WCO.

Saints 17, Redskins 10

Rich Tandler blogs about the Skins at RealRedskins.com and he is the author of the upcoming book The Redskins Chronicle. You can reach Rich by email at rich.tandler+real@gmail.com

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