Green Bay Packers: Getting to Know the Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Redskins attempts a pass against the Detroit Lions during the second half at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Redskins attempts a pass against the Detroit Lions during the second half at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Before the Green Bay Packers take the field on Sunday, here are five things you need to know about their opponent, the Washington Redskins.

Although the game was much closer into the second half than many fans would have liked, last week the Green Bay Packers were able to pull away and cruise to a 31-13 victory in New York. And truthfully this week against Washington, the end result should be similar.

On the season, Washington is just 3-9 and statistically, has what is the worst offense in football. However they are winners of two straight games and no team in the NFL should be taken lightly. That rings especially true for a Packers team that is just a game ahead of Minnesota in the division, while Chicago has fought back to 7-6 to remain in the playoff hunt. Games such as this one against Washington need to be taken care of accordingly.

As I do each week, I’ve teamed up with a writer from Green Bay’s opponent and this time around it is Jacob Camenker of Riggo’s Rag where they cover anything and everything about the Washington Redskins. Jacob was kind enough to answer five of my questions about this Washington team to provide some insight and I did the same for him. So be sure to check that out on their site as well.

Washington has won 2 straight games, what is a reason or two for the quick turn around?

Jacob: There are a number of reasons for the Redskins mini-turn-around. First and foremost, the team has been able to establish more of an identity in recent weeks on offense. They have run the ball better and avoided turnovers, which has given them a chance to win the field position battle and limit their opponents. On defense, their team has mostly been successful, save for a couple of drives against the Panthers that lacked energy, so they have done well to keep the team in the game.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that the Redskins have beaten a couple of mediocre starting quarterbacks in Jeff Driskel and Kyle Allen, so it’s important not to read too much into their last couple of wins. Their matchup against Aaron Rodgers should be a great test for the defense, and it will be interesting to see how they hold up against one of the league’s best quarterbacks.

Takeaway: I mentioned above that the Washington offense has really struggled this season but the recent return on Derrius Guice has given them a big boost. As Packer fans we all know what Adrian Peterson is capable of and even at 34-years-old, he is still averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Meanwhile since returning, Guice is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, including a 129 yard game last week against Carolina. With Bill Callahan as the interim head coach and a rookie quarterback under center, expect a heavy, heavy dose of Peterson and Guice on Sunday.

Who is one player on offense and one on defense that Packer fans may not know as well but could make an impact on Sunday?

Jacob: On offense, Terry McLaurin has had a strong rookie season at wide-out for the ‘Skins and while he hasn’t played as well in recent weeks, he could test Jaire Alexander. That will be a fun battle to watch between two rising young talents.

Defensively, Matt Ioannidis stands out as one of the most underrated players in the league. He has 7.5 sacks this season after posting the same number last year, and he should have a chance to produce against the Packers. If he can get interior pressure on Rodgers, that will really help the Washington defense to succeed.

Takeaway: Despite the underwhelming quarterback play, rookie Terry McLaurin has been fantastic. In 11 games he’s totaled 646 yards at 15.4 yards per catch with five touchdowns. If Washington is able to move the ball through the air, it will likely be because of McLaurin. And as Jacob mentioned, Ioannidis has had a very nice season with his 7.5 sacks and 38 total pressures. He along with the rest of the Washington defensive front have had quite a bit of success this season getting to the quarterback.

What is something that the Redskins do well and what is something that they struggle with?

Jacob: The Redskins have a really good pass rush that came to life last week against Kyle Allen. They logged seven sacks despite being without their top three edge rushers at times in the second half. Another area they have won in during recent weeks is the field position battle, thanks to the performance of their punter, Tress Way. Those areas will be key to the ‘Skins playing well.

As for weaknesses, there are a few to key in on, but none are more glaring than that the team’s lack of experience at skill positions on offense. They don’t have a lot of proven passing-game weapons and that means that Dwayne Haskins has to manage the game with only one legitimate receiving threat (McLaurin). When they run well, he’s able to do it. When they can’t, the offense can fizzle out pretty quickly, so that’s something to watch.

Takeaway: As they have for most of the season, the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line is going to have their hands full with the pass-rush. Washington has 36 sacks this season which ranks as the ninth most in football. However, they struggle at defending the run, giving up nearly 132 rushing yards per game. So establishing the running game this week will be key but that it is something that the Packers haven’t been able to do the last two weeks.

The Packers are heavy favorites, what are 1 or 2 keys for Washington to keep the game close and potentially win?

Jacob: To keep this game close, the Redskins have to dominate time of possession and run the ball well against Green Bay. If their offense can do that, they will at least have a chance to keep the Packers off rhythm for most of the game.

Elsewhere, pressuring Aaron Rodgers will be key. If Quinton Dunbar can help take away Davante Adams and the pass rush can get home, they will be able to slow the Packers passing attack a bit. That’s a tall order for the defense, but if they do that, the game could be closer than many anticipate.

Takeaway: Defensively the Packers should be aware of the Washington passing game but their primary focus should be slowing the running game and putting the game in Dwayne Haskins’ hands. This will allow the pass-rush to pin their ears back against a below average Washington offensive line which should lead to some sacks and perhaps coming away with a turnover or two as well.

How has Dwayne Haskins been progressing at quarterback since taking over?

Jacob: Haskins has shown growth almost every week that he has been on the field. It hasn’t always been linear, but with more reps, he is developing. Haskins was considered to be raw coming into the year, so the fact that he has made major strides, especially in his excellent game against the Panthers, is encouraging for the team. He has a long way to go, but he keeps taking small steps forward every week.

Next. Packers v. Washington: 3 Bold Predictions. dark

Takeaway: I haven’t seen much of Dwayne Haskins this season but it does sound like he is making improvements. However, as Jacob pointed out he has a long way to go. He has an interception rate of 4.5 percent and he is behind an offensive line that has given up the seventh most sacks in football, meaning it could be another huge day for The Smiths as well as the Packers’ secondary in the turnover department.