It's been a while since we've done a mailbag post. I asked for your questions on twitter and you responded. You know how this works by now.
Well so far this season, their troubles have been getting to third and short. This is an offense built to run the ball and hit you on play-action. The offensive line has struggled to block consistently, with every player missing occasional assignments. The offense has been picking up two or three yards on first and second down, leading to third and seven or more too often. Not many offenses can afford to live while having to consistently convert long third downs.
Last year the Redskins were able to run the ball and use play-action to give themselves third and four or less situations. Those situations open up the running and play-action game on third down as well. If the defense is having to account for the run and play-action game, as well as the passing game on third down, then its much more difficult to defend.
I think Brandon Meriweather has done OK considering the circumstances. He hasn't played back to back full games for quite some time because of multiple injuries. Add in the troubles with the rest of the secondary group and he's being forced into a position that's not natural for him. Meriweather is a big hitter. He likes to play in the box and hunt down running backs. But with the Redskins benching Bacarri Rambo, they don't have anyone else with enough range to play the free safety role. Meriweather has plenty of athleticism to sit deep and play center field, but that's not the role he thrives in.
Obviously the missed tackles are a problem, as they have been for just about everyone on defense; but Meriweather has always been a guy that will look to land the big hit and maybe cause a fumble over wrapping up. He does need to be a bit more careful when he goes for those hits though. He's already knocked himself out and hit Brian Orakpo pretty hard. Washington can't afford him to be that reckless and lose another player on an already poor defense.
That depends on the situation of the game. I think we might see Alfred Morris get the heavier workload that we were used to seeing last season, especially when you think that he ran for 200 yards against the Cowboys the last time these two teams met.
But at the same time, the Redskins might want to try or may be forced into their turbo offense again. In the first couple of games, Washington fell behind quickly and needed to pass to catch up. Against the Raiders, Kyle Shanahan turned to the turbo offense to provide a spark for the offense, which appeared to work to an extent. In those situations, Roy Helu Jr. will see the bulk of the action. He's a better blocker than Morris and his speed and shiftiness make him more of a threat out of the backfield on screens or checkdowns.
But ultimately I believe the Redskins will probably opt to go back to what worked for them last year. That means we should see plenty of Alfred Morris and the stretch running game.
Down the line I certainly can. He would be a huge boost to the defense if he could be relied upon at free safety. It would allow Meriweather to move back to his more natural strong safety position, as we discussed earlier, which would effectively upgrade two positions with one move.
But face some very tough passing attacks over the next three weeks. They will want someone they can trust back there against the likes of Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, Brandon Marshall and the Bears and Peyton Manning's Broncos. Rambo has had a few weeks on the sidelines along with the bye week to get better and earn himself some playing time. But ultimately, it will come down to the coaches being able to trust him. If they don't trust him for this game, I struggle to see him back in the starting line up until this string of games against top passing attacks is over.
That's it for this week's mailbag. Feel free to submit questions for next week in the comments section or directly to me on twitter.