Don’t expect the Washington Redskins to run away with the game versus the St. Louis Rams this weekend. The Rams stuck it to the Detroit Lions last week and played a much better game than what the final score shows. Of course, Robert Griffin III also had an excellent game and performed better than anyone could have imagined. Even his coaches. However, he is still human, and a rookie quarterback, so expect to see a few differences in this week two matchup between the Rams and the Redskins.
The first difference is that the Rams will have practiced for Griffin III, knowing what he is capable of. The defense, led by Chris Long, will put pressure on him to throw faster. Having less time to wait for receivers to open up can lead to forcing the ball in a tight spot which can lead to turnovers. Rookies are prone to trying to make a play, especially if their team is down. Griffin III might throw his first interception this week, and that could be an advantage for the Rams to score often and keep the game close or get ahead.
After picking off three tosses from Matthew Stafford last week versus the Lions, everyone knows the Rams defense is capable of forcing turnovers. The defense will also focus on getting to Griffin and trying to sack him. The defensive line has a few more years of experience, so they do know how to put pressure on and should look to intimidate Griffin III immediately and as much as possible to rattle him and get in to his head.
The second difference is that this year’s squad is better than last year’s. Last year’s frustrating 2-14 season is just that – last year. Four of the last five games between the two ended with the Redskins winning, but by a touchdown or LESS. That’s not a wide margin. And the Redskins themselves had a losing season at 5-11 last year, proving they are working out some kinks in their system too. Whoever can work the kinks out the most for this week will probably come out the winner, though there isn’t a huge advantage to either side at this point.
Despite ending up with a L for last week, the Rams played a tough game both offensively and defensively. Their defense did get a head’s up with RGIII’s performance, so they shouldn’t be surprised at what he is capable of and be able to contain him. The offense needs to step it up a notch and hang on to the ball and make big catches to convert third downs. Sam Bradford will need to use all of his tools and take advantage of scoring opportunities early.
Jeff Fisher and Mike Shanahan are both long time, excellent record coaches. They will both battle right until the end of this game as they try and establish themselves with a winning record with their new franchises. Look for hard hitting and big defensive plays from both sides. Depending on how well the Rams defense pressures Griffin III will determine the outcome of this game. The Rams are capable of an upset and beating the Redskins.